Can you have a Mexican bank account in Sayulita without a Mexican resident visa?

mexican bank account for foreigners

Great content, Sayulita Insider! My family and I are going to live in Sayulita in January 2021. We want to stay for 6 months. What is the process of applying for a Mexican bank account for foreigners? We are not Mexican residents yet. We are just coming with a tourist visa. Thank you for your help!
ANNA WILLIS, USA

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Mexican bank account for foreigners: an overview

Sayulita is not that developed yet and there is only one bank in Sayulita. It’s called Intercam. At Sayulita Insider, we are all foreigners and we felt the need to get a Mexican bank account because of conversion issues. Big banks in Mexico like Santander, BBVA, Bancomer, Citbanamex, Inbursa, etc only accepts applicants that have a permanent resident visa. They don’t even accept temporary resident visas!

Another Mexican bank that allows foreign nationals to open an account is Banco Azteca. However, we do not have experiences with them so we are only sharing how we were able to do it with Intercam.

Is Intercam a good Mexican bank?

It is good enough if you are only trying to save cash on conversions and withdrawal fees. Whenever we use our International bank cards (from our home countries), Sayulita ATM machines charge at least $5 USD per transaction. If you put that all together, that’s a lot of fees!

Intercam is a great bank especially if you are based in Sayulita. You will not be charged with any withdrawal fees because they have a branch in town. The Intercam card can also be used for online transactions for websites that only accept Mexican credit/debit cards (like Aeromexico or Mercado Libre).

Why do I need a bank account in Mexico/Sayulita?

You can keep using your International bank card in Sayulita for sure. That’s not a problem if you are okay with the withdrawal fees and limits. If your bank has good conversion rates to MXN, then you don’t have to continue reading this post.

For those who are bringing USD to Sayulita, the conversion is really low (at the moment, it’s $20 MXN in the world currency calculator but Sayulita only exchanges a dollar for $17 MXN. We don’t know about you but for us, that’s a lot of difference!

If you are interested in how to apply for a Mexican bank account for foreigners, follow the steps below and let us know if you have any questions. We’re always willing to help!

Step 1: Gather the requirements

The good thing about applying for a Mexican bank account at Intercam is that they don’t require a lot of documents. First, you need to have a valid passport. In our experience, they did not ask for our Mexican tourist card but bring it just in case! Along with your passport, Intercam requires any of the following:

  • Statement of Accounts (from your bank in your home country)
  • Electricity bill
  • Water bill

The period of validity is from 1-3 months. Make sure you are submitting a recent proof of billing. Also make sure that your address in your home country appears in these statements. Our staff had different experiences because we did not bring the same documents. The most important thing to have is your home address. You don’t have to worry about anything else!

Step 2: Go to Intercam Sayulita

Once you have the requirements needed to apply for a Mexican bank account for foreigners, you need to go to their branch in Sayulita. Make sure you are there before 3:00 pm because they close early! Once you are there, you will be asked to fill out a form. The form will also ask for references so it’s better to put someone who is an account holder at Intercam. It could also be any of your friends who are living in Sayulita.

Once the form is filled out, the bank manager will photocopy your passport and your proof of billing.

Step 3: Wait for their call

This will usually take 3-7 days max. Intercam will review and verify all the documents you submitted so there’s a little bit of waiting time here. But don’t worry! As long as you submitted the correct documents, they will definitely call you back.

Step 4: Claim your Intercam bank card

Once the documents are verified, Intercam will call you to visit their branch again. Bring your passport together with the money you want to deposit. On this day, you will also sign a lot of documents so get ready! After that signing, I couldn’t even feel my hands!

They will assist you in activating your bank card by setting a pin and calling the toll free number of Intercam to activate your card for online transactions.

Step 5: Set-up your online banking with Intercam

Now, this was really tricky. We had to re-visit Intercam Sayulita because we couldn’t figure out how to activate online banking! If you’re having trouble, the bank manager will surely help you set-up. If you feel like you don’t need to monitor your transactions online, then skip this step.

Step 6: Start withdrawing!

Congratulations! You can now withdraw at any ATM machine in Sayulita without a fee! The activation is real-time so you don’t need to wait until you can use your card. You might, however, need to wait 72 hours to use it for online transactions.

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