Plastic or cash is the common question that is being asked by people who are thinking about moving to Mexico to live or take a vacation. Cash in notes and coins is always a favorite choice in Mexico although many of the western countries in the North American and in Europe are using less cash. Cash is still the most preferred and popular way to pay for food, goods, and services in Mexico no matter that the major move is going towards credit and debit cards along with internet banking.
Plastic or Cash in Mexico?
Credit and debit cards are currently being used all over in Mexico by most middle-class people in Mexico with many working class people starting to use plastic cards more. Nearly half the people and households in Mexico today don’t have a current bank account, and they depend on Mexico’s cash-based environment for all their purchases. Recently, internet banking is starting to be used. Not too long ago, the Bank of Mexico did an underlying study that revealed that a large majority of the people in Mexico that have a debit card are only using the debit card to draw out their paycheck at a local ATM to then use cash, which clearly states that the form of payment in Mexico that is often preferred and widely used is cash.
Credit and Debit Card Payments in Mexico
All of the main supermarket and grocery stores, department stores, the stores at the malls, popular restaurants in the larger towns and cities, well-known car dealerships, furniture stores, technology and electrical stores, popular food and beverage chains (such as Starbucks and McDonald’s), the bus companies, travel agencies, professional providers (such as dentists, doctors, and attorneys), and all major businesses that do business with the middle and upper classes accept credit and debit card payments. These businesses also accept smartphone payments too. The mobile phone companies allow their customers with pre-pay phone services to pay with a credit or debit card at their stores, online, or paying on their smartphone.
Cash Only Payments in Mexico
There are many places that only accept cash for their payments in Mexico such as many independent convenience stores, open markets, street cabs that are independent, shoe shine stalls on the streets, ambulant vendors, street food trucks, corner newspaper vendors, smaller shops, smaller boutiques, and paying for your personal help such as your housekeepers, gardeners, and pool maintenance workers. Electricians, carpenters, and plumbers are a few trades that will accept cashless payments, but these payments are generally a money transfer to a local bank, but if any of these trades are doing a routine job for you such as fixing a leak, then they will only accept a cash payment.
Souvenirs on Vacation
When you are touring a city while on vacation in Mexico, then you will need to have cash for any local transportation that you use or to purchase any souvenirs from street vendors or stores that are locally owned.
Tipping in Mexico
Cash is essential and needed when you are going to be tipping in Mexico. When you are leaving a tip, then the cash should be preferably in the form of pesos. If you are vacationing on a tour package and the majority of your vacation will be spent at the resort, then you may not need to have a lot of cash as there are only a few times that you will need to have cash.
Plastic or cash in Mexico? As you can see, there are places that you will need to pay for goods and services with cash while other places will only accept debit or credit cards.