There are several ways of sending money to Mexico. You can send money online or bank-to-bank using websites, mobile apps, or from physical locations. The money can be funded by money transfers from your bank account, a credit or debit card, or with cash. Costs for sending money vary based on transfer provider, speed, mode of transfer, recipient pickup, transfer fees, and exchange rates.
About 95% of total remittances to Mexico in 2021 came from the United States, much of it in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But sending money to Mexico is certainly nothing new. Back in the day, people would mostly send money orders or go through Western Union because the options were very limited. Today, with the internet and other technological advances, there is a slew of ways to essentially send money through the air. The challenge lies in figuring out which transfer provider to use, how quickly it will arrive, and how much it’s going to cost you to get it there.
How to send money to Mexico
First, let’s take a quick look at the steps needed to make a successful money transfer from pretty much anywhere in the world to Mexico. However, for the purposes of this guide, we will be focusing on sending money to Mexico from the United States since it’s an extremely common remittance relationship.
- Find a money transfer service. Be sure to compare providers and consider factors such as speed, cost, and delivery options.
- Sign up for an account. You can sign up through the transfer provider’s website or download their mobile app. At a minimum, you’ll need to provide your name and a valid email address, although you may need to upload a photo ID for verification purposes.
- Set up the money transfer. To send the money to Mexico you’ll need to provide details of the recipients and the method for them to receive money, such as from bank accounts or cash pickup locations.
- Review transfer. Before sending the money transfer, carefully review the details of the transaction to make sure everything is correct before you hit send.
- Send and monitor. Once you’re sure all of the information is correct, send the money, and if desired, you can track the transfer to make sure the money gets delivered on time and in the correct fashion requested.
If you’re not sure how or where to start comparing money transfer services, take a look at the options below.
Choosing money transfer providers
There are so many choices of money transfer services that it can be a little overwhelming. But essentially, there are two main ways to send money to Mexico, and then a variety of options within those two categories to choose from.
For example, sometimes, you may need to send money in an emergency where speed is of the utmost importance. Other times you might just be sending a gift where you can save a few dollars by sending it more slowly.
When choosing a method to transfer money, be sure to consider the following:
- Transfer fees
- Currency exchange rates
- Payment options, such as cash, debit card, credit card, or bank account
- Transfer times, such as minutes, hours, or days
- Pickup locations and methods, such as bank deposits or cash pickups
International wire transfer
A wire transfer is one reliable and secure method of sending money to Mexico. It involves a bank transfer of money from your bank account directly into the recipient’s bank account.
Generally speaking, bank transfers take about four days to complete between bank accounts, so it’s definitely not the quickest money transfer service. Also keep in mind that when you’re dealing with traditional financial institutions, weekends, holidays, and bank hours might all have an effect on the speed of your bank transfer. And don’t forget about time zones!
It’s also not the cheapest way to send money, with banks typically charging high transfer fees and less-than-favorable exchange rates. Major banks, for instance, may charge between 3% to 5% on top of the mid-market exchange rate.
Money transfer services
The other — and probably best — option is to make use of a money transfer service when sending money to Mexico. There are many providers to choose from, each with its own fee structures and other specifics, such as how money can be sent and received.
Most people have heard of Western Union, which, founded in 1851, was pretty much the first of its kind. They are still a viable option to transfer money. With thousands of Western Union locations in Mexico, this option is convenient for most recipients.
But they are by no means the only player in the game. There are a lot of other providers to choose from and you might be able to get a better deal if you shop around. Again, many factors affect which money transfer service is right for you, so there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to sending money to Mexico.
The biggest advantage of using money transfer services as opposed to wire transfers is the speed at which you can send money to family and friends in Mexico. Instead of possibly waiting days for money to go through, your family can get the cash in minutes, hours, or the next day. Of course, the fastest way to send money usually isn’t going to be the cheapest way, but it is nice to have that option in an emergency.
Transfer fee and exchange rates
Obviously, these money transfer businesses are in it for a profit. They achieve that goal by charging fees for facilitating money transfers and giving a higher markup on currency exchange rates. Some providers may not even charge a transfer fee but they make their money by giving less competitive rates on exchange rate margins.
Some transfer providers, on the other hand, may offer mid-market exchange rates but their fees for money transfers are higher. Regardless of the transfer service you use, you’ll have to pay some amount of fees. However, it’s important to understand how these costs affect the amount of money your recipient ends up with on the other end of the transaction.
Costs can also be affected by the payment method you use to make the money transfers, and providers can vary somewhat on what they’ll accept. For example, you might pay more if you use a credit card as opposed to paying in cash or from a bank account with a debit card.
There are different ways the recipient of the transfer can access the money you send, such as by bank deposit or cash pickup.
There are literally thousands of cash pickup locations where your family can pick up the funds, such as at a Western Union location. Plus, many transfer providers have partnered with various banks, grocery stores, and convenience stores to give recipients without a bank account even more options. The U.S. Postal Service also has a service to send money to Mexico, which replaced the paper money order system from years ago.
In addition to sending cash to pickup locations or someone’s bank account, U.S. senders can also use these service providers to pay bills, such as utilities, or reload mobile phones for families located in Mexico.
Finally, there is the issue of how long it will take before a recipient can get their money. You can definitely save a few dollars if there’s no hurry. On the other hand, if there is some urgency, you might want to take a few minutes to research some different providers to find the best deal on both ends of the transfer.
In most cases, the quicker the transfer, the more money it will cost and vice versa. The exception to this is bank-to-bank wire transfers, which generally take the longest to go through and are also more costly.
Information needed to process a money transfer
Because transfers these days are all handled online, the information you need to provide is pretty straightforward. These are generally the details you will need to provide to successfully process a money transfer.
- Your name as it appears on a government-issued ID
- Valid email address
- Uploaded photo of your ID
- Your payment details (credit card number, bank account info, etc.) plus the amount you’re sending
- Name of the recipient as it appears on their government-issued ID
- Recipient’s address and phone number
How can I save money when sending money?
There are a few ways to shave off some extra dollars when you need to send money online. For one thing, some providers offer promotions to new customers, such as no transfer fee on your first transaction. Since many of the services are similar, you could probably do this several different times.
You can also search online for promo codes and coupons to help reduce the cost of money transfer fees.
What does “mid-market exchange rate” mean?
The mid-market exchange rate is simply the value of one currency to another, and they fluctuate constantly. For example, in July of 2022, roughly 20.50 Mexican pesos (MXN), give or take a bit, were equal to one U.S. dollar (USD).
It’s important in this context because money transfer providers usually won’t give you the mid-market exchange rate (that’s one of the ways they make money on the transaction). However, it is good to be aware of the current exchange rate so you know where you’re getting the better deal.
Can you PayPal someone in Mexico?
As long as your friend or a family member has a PayPal account, you can send money online through the PayPal system or from the app. All you need to do is log in to your account and convert the transfer money into Mexican pesos. Mexican users can also use their PayPal account to shop online or in stores, making it useful even without a bank account.
Will a U.S. cash app work in Mexico?
Most U.S. cash apps, such as Venmo and Zelle for example, cannot be used to send money to Mexico. Since they are U.S.-based, both the sender and the recipient must provide U.S. bank account details to process the transfer of funds.
- Through the use of the internet and mobile applications, it’s relatively quick and easy to send money to Mexico.
- You can send money from bank to bank via an international wire transfer or through various money transfer providers.
- Wire transfers are reliable and secure methods to send money to Mexico, but they are typically slower and more costly.
- Money transfer services are your best options for lower transaction fees and more favorable exchange rates.
- The costs of transferring funds to Mexico will vary based on the provider, amount of money sent, speed in which you need it there, payment method, and the way in which it’s received.
View Article Sources
- Foreign Exchange Rates — Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Money transfers common issues — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Emergency Financial Assistance — U.S. Embassy & Consulates In Mexico
- How to Send Money to Someone Without a Bank Account — SuperMoney
- How to Send Money for Free — SuperMoney
- Can I Use My Debit Card in Mexico? — SuperMoney
- Compare Money Transfer Services: 8 Factors to Consider — SuperMoney
- Best Money Transfer Services in 2022 — SuperMoney