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Currency in Mexico – Info about Mexican Pesos, ATMs and exchange rates

Currency in Mexico – Info about Mexican Pesos, ATMs and exchange rates

Want to know more about the currency in Mexico? They use Mexican Pesos (MXN), and here’s more info about ATMs, money and exchange rates before your trip.

I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about money and currency in Mexico.

Quick facts about the Mexican Peso (MXN) 

  • Name: Mexican Peso.
  • Year of introduction: 1993.
  • Coins: 1, 2, 5 and 10 Peso
  • Banknotes: 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 och 1000 MXN
  • Subunit: 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos
  • Abbreviation: Mex$
  • Currency Code: MXN

Mexican Pesos

Can you pay by card in Mexico?

Yes, many shops, restaurants, and hotels accept payments by card in Mexico. However, local restaurants, street vendors, and shops outside the tourist areas are likely to only accept cash though, so you should always carry some cash in Mexico

A word of caution for using your debit- or credit card when paying at gas stations. It’s not uncommon that they will tell you that your card doesn’t work, but you will still be charged, and your card might get copied. 

Should you exchange money before your trip?

There is no reason to exchange your money into Mexican Pesos before your trip. It’s better to change your money in Mexico although it’s even better to just take out cash from a local ATM. 

Exchange currency in Mexico

The best currencies to take to Mexico are either US dollars, Canadian Dollars or Euros. There are plenty of places where you can exchange money in Mexico, including banks and exchange bureaus (Casas de Cambio) in major cities, airports and tourist areas. 

However, it’s much better to take out cash from a local ATM and pay with your card as much as possible.

Should you use US dollars or Pesos in Mexico?

US dollars are widely accepted in Mexico, and many tourist areas will have tours and prices displayed in USD. However, it’s much better to pay in Mexican Pesos because the rate for your USD will be terrible.

When do you need Cash in Mexico?

There are some occasions where it’s handy to carry cash in Mexico, even though many places in the major cities and tourist areas accept payments by card. 

  • Toll Roads only accept cash, so you need to carry some while driving around the country.
  • Some Mayan Ruin sites and Cenotes will only accept payments in Mexican Pesos.
  • If you travel outside the tourist areas, you’ll need cash.
  • Paying for gas in gas stations
  • If you eat at local restaurants (which you should), you might need cash.

mexico money

ATMs in Mexico

The Mexican ATMs usually operate 24/7, and many of them are located in conjunction with a bank office. When you insert a foreign card the instructions will automatically be in English, or you’ll get the choice of language selection. 

The Spanish name for ATM is Cajero Automatico, in case they don’t understand when you’re asking where to find an ATM in Mexico. 

Most local ATMs in Mexico will charge a small fee of 20-60 MXN per transaction in addition to your own bank’s fees, which is usually around €5 + 2-3 % in foreign transactions fees.

Luckily, this can easily be avoided by using a travel card without ATM fees and currency exchange fees.

  • Always choose to be charged in Mexican Pesos without conversion. Otherwise, you’ll get a dynamic currency exchange rate, which is often very poor and will make you lose money. 
  • Use ATMs that are connected to bank branches. They have surveillance and are generally safe to use. 

ATM in Mexico

More about Mexico’s currency (MXN)

The Mexican Peso has been the currency in Mexico since 1535 with different variations. The new Mexican Peso, which is the current version was introduced in 1993. At the change, 1 MXN was worth 1000 of the old peso. 

The Mexican currency is given out by Banco de México, Banxico – BDM, which has its headquarters in Mexico City. Another interesting fact about the Mexican Peso is the fact that it was legal tender in large parts of North America until 1857, even in some parts of what’s today the USA

Mexican money in various denominations

  • Coins: 1, 2, 5 and 10 Peso
  • Banknotes: 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 MXN
  • Subunit: 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos

Mexican coins

Frequently asked questions about money in Mexico

What is the best currency to use for Mexico?

The best currency to use in Mexico is the Mexican Peso. The US dollar is accepted in many places, but you’ll get the best rate by using the local currency. 

Are Euros accepted in Mexico?

No, Euros are not accepted as payment in Mexico. However, they are easily exchanged in banks or exchange bureaus. 

Should I take cash to Mexico?

If you want to exchange money in Mexico, it’s best to bring cash, preferably in US dollars if you’re American. Otherwise, you can bring your local currency as long as it’s one of the major currencies, such as Euros, Pounds, Canadian Dollars, etc. 

But there is no real need to take cash to Mexico because ATMs are widely available, and will give you a better rate than the exchange offices. And when possible it’s better to pay with card. 

Can I use my debit card in Mexico?

Yes, most debit cards issued by Mastercard or VISA are accepted in Mexico. It might be a good idea to check with your bank if there’s any restriction on using the debit card abroad though. 

Is it safe to use credit card in Mexico?

It’s generally safe to use your credit card in Mexico, but some precautions should be used. Don’t leave your credit card unattended, and use it only in reputable shops, restaurants, car rental companies, and hotels. 

Tipping in Mexico

Tipping is customary in Mexico, and many service workers depend on it due to low wages. While I personally think that the tipping system undermines the workers and their right to decent salaries, it’s common to give 10-15%. 

Car Parking- and Gas station attendants expect about 10 MXN in a service fee, but it’s not mandatory. 

How much are 100 Mexican Pesos worth? 

100 MXN is worth about 5 USD. 

Mexico currency

Do you have more questions about the currency in Mexico? Leave a comment below!