MexDFmagazine

News, features, and commentary from the biggest city in the Americas, Mexico City.

How to Save Money When Changing Money in Mexico City

It’s been said this before in these pages, and it will be said again.

If you’re in Mexico City and changing dollars to pesos (or vice versa), go to the airport. Specifically, Terminal 1.

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MexDF File photo: T1 Casas de Cambio (summer 2013)

Yes, this goes against the standard advice that applies in almost every other airport known to man (and alien), but in the DF, the best rates are at Mexico City International.

This afternoon (March 19), the spot price on the peso in the financial markets was around 13.25 to the US dollar. In simple terms, that means you can expect to pay a little more than that rate if you are buying dollars with pesos (perhaps 13.55), while receiving less (perhaps 12.95) if you’re selling dollars and buying pesos.

In general, look for the narrowest spread between the buy and sell rate, and that’s where you should exchange your money.

And as a general rule, you’ll find the narrowest spreads and thus the best deals if you exchange your money in Terminal 1. There are so many Casas de Cambio (money exchange houses) here, that you, the customer, are in the driver’s seat.

But even more unusual, you can benefit by more than just a narrow buy-sell spread.

Today, we were able to find a number of casas de cambio selling USD at the rate of 12.85! That’s lower than the spot price, by some 40 basis points. That just shouldn’t be happening.

And to prove the point that Terminal 2 is a BAD place to exchange money (very few casas de cambio), the USD sell rate there is a whopping 13.87.

In other words, each USD $100 you want can be purchased for MXN 1,387 in terminal 2, but it would only set you back MXN 1,285 pesos in terminal 1.

And while T2 offers a spread greater than 100 points (buy 12.72, sell 13.87), in T1, the spread is as narrow as just 15 points (buy 12.70, sell 12.85) though you’ll have to shop around. But that’s no big deal, because the Casas de Cambio are clustered together. Not much effort required.

So there you go … another tip to help you save money in Mexico City.

You’re welcome.

Twitter: @mexdfmagazine

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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