opening bank account Mexico
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Opening a bank account on a Temporary Resident Visa in Mexico

Did you know that over 48 banks are operating in Mexico? And that 7 banks, BBVA Bancomer, CitiBanamex, Santander, Banorte, HSBC, Inbursa, and Scotia Bank, control over 70% of the market? And did you know that almost all major banks are under the control of foreign banks?

So opening a bank account in Mexico should be easy, right?


Opening a bank account in Mexico is as bureaucratic as is any other action involving official registration.

As a temporary resident, I tried opening a bank account in Playa del Carmen, and this is my experience.

Electricity bill Mexico

Banco Santander

I had my mind set on Santander, they recently won an award for most innovating bank and the office was close to my house in Playa. I checked the website and met all the requirements and since I still use the Dutch App Store for my iPhone, I was happy to see they have their app in that iStore, some Mexicans banks do not provide their app through that store so make sure you can find your bank’s app in the Appstore you are registered in.

On a brave morning, I polished up my best Spanish and went to the bank with all the documents required

  • my FMM (immigration papers, for me the temporary resident card)
  • my passport
  • the electricity-bill, given to me by the landlord
  • my CURP number

As stated on the website of Santander Mexico (and many other banks)

At the entrance I was told Santander In Playa del Carmen, only allows foreigners with a permanent residency to open an account.

expat bank account Mexico

BBVA Bancomer

BBVA Bancomer, one of the biggest banks in Mexico, needs on top of all of the above-mentioned documents, a letter of confirmation of address from INM and a tax number.

I have no tax number since I do not work in Mexico and I do not pay taxes in Mexico.
In Playa del Carmen they only open new accounts between 9 and 10 AM

I foresaw the INM letter of address confirmation as a reoccurring demand from other banks, so I went to INM, after all, they were processing my change of address for over 4 weeks already, it should be finished by now. It was not, and it could take another 4 weeks.

expat in Mexico


Banorte is the only not foreign-controlled bank in Mexico. But my visit there was insane The clerk lied in my face.

On the first attempt, he told me the electricity bill should be signed by my landowner and I needed a copy of his ID.
On the second attempt, with all the required documents, he told me I needed to have my landlord fill out a form giving permission to open a bank account on the electricity bill stated address at the Banorte Branche.

When I told him what he told me the other day, he told me he did not say that. When I asked him why he had not given me the form right away, he moved to the net costumer.

Needless to say, I do not like a bank that provides wrong information and ignores a conversation explaining rules changing overnight.


How different and refreshing my experience was at HSBC, not the bank of my choice, but the warm welcome, the friendly well-informed clerk, and the willingness to help me find the best account for my needs was refreshing after my previous experiences.

The lady made photocopies of my ID, and the electricity bill and kindly asked what I preferred: Wait until her colleague was available or return the next morning by appointment and all should be ready for me to sign.

I chose the next morning and after a long time at the desk, with lots of paperwork and photocopies and more paperwork, (I spend over 1.5 hours in the bank) I walked out of the branch with a new ATM/debit Visa card for my checking account and a savings account. They even helped me set up the app and online security.

My account would be active within 5 working days after approval (I guess from the BURO)

Why do I need a Mexican Bank Account? Continue reading on the next page ====>>>>>


4 reacties

  • JC from Holland

    Hey Ralph, thanks for reading Floating Coconut. I guess I am lucky, all forms we sign globally that have to do with finances have questions like: Do you pay taxes in the US? Do you have income from the US? Do you have a bank account in the US? We tick those boxes negative, I actually never wondered what happens when you answer “yes” That is probable when the process stagnates. Must be frustrating.

    I must say the whole banking world is to tighten up. It is my money I trusted them with, but somehow I always have the feeling they see it the other way around. I have to ask for my money in the hope they grant me a withdrawal if you know what I mean. Thank god for ATM’s 🙂

  • Ralph

    You should thank the heavens that you are Dutch and not American. I do not believe that it is even remotely possible for an American with a temp residency card to open a bank account in Mexico at this point anymore. Permanent residency is needed and then magic happens. It’s all about propping up the mirage of the stock markets for as long as necessary and, to do so, money needs to remain within domestic borders in the USA as much as possible.

    A word to the wise: Never remain in a country that treats its citizens like livestock.

  • Nomad4Life

    I also heard HSBC is one of the few banks that allow for international transfers without fees (or a minimum fee very cheap) Is that true? That can help when working remotely and receiving in another country. What I’m really interested in knowing is if there is any country that offers a free bank account with international debit card, doesn’t need to be credit but needs to be free (no monthly maintenance fee)