Banks you can use on both sides of the border aren’t very common, but you can do so at Citibank (known as Banamex in Mexico), HSBC, Mizuho Americas, Santander Bank, and Bank of America (through partnerships with Santander Bank).
Below, we explain what to know about U.S.-Mexico banking, whether you’re a one-time visitor, a long-term traveler, or have family and friends on both sides of the border.
Before You Begin Banking
It’s important to note that just because the banks on the list below have locations in the U.S. and Mexico, this does not necessarily mean you can open an American bank account and use it in Mexico. You may still have to set up a separate Mexican bank account. That said, using a bank that has locations on both sides of the border will make the process a little easier.
If you use an ATM in Mexico from a bank where you are a customer, you will save a fair amount of money in fees. You will also get one of the best exchange rates available. If you use an ATM from another bank, you can expect to pay a few dollars in fees per transaction.
You can also save time and money by using a credit card with no international transaction fees. When choosing a credit card for international travel, go for a Visa or Mastercard, as they are accepted worldwide. If you’re looking to get the most out of your money, choose a credit card with travel rewards, such as cashback on flights, hotels, rental cars, and dining.
And, if possible, pick a card without international transaction fees. Paying with a credit card will also get you one of the best currency conversion rates available. The only drawback with a credit card is you won’t be able to withdraw cash, but, for a short trip, that might not matter.
If you’re planning to be in Mexico for a longer period of time, you may want to — or need to — set up a Mexican bank account. If you already have an American account with one of the banks listed below, the process will be much easier; just call your bank’s customer service and find out how to set up an account in Mexico.
Note that, even with the help of a U.S. bank branch, you may not be able to open a Mexican account remotely; banks often require that you appear in person at a Mexican branch to verify your identity.
If you want to get settled in Mexico before setting up a bank account, just remember to bring a passport, proof of residency, an FM2, FM3, or FMM visa, and a credencial if you’re in Mexico on business.
Banks with Branches in Both Mexico and the U.S.
Bank of America (affiliated with Santander Bank)
- Find a branch in the U.S. using the Bank of America location finder.
Citibank (known as Banamex in Mexico)
- Find a branch in the U.S. or Mexico using Citibank’s location finder.
- Find a branch in the U.S. using HSBC’s U.S. location finder.
- Find a branch in Mexico using HSBC’s Mexico location finder.
- Find a branch in the U.S. on Santander’s U.S. website.
- Find a branch in Mexico on Santander Mexico’s website.
As a one-time traveler, you’re better off using an ATM and/or credit card without international transaction fees to pay for your expenses. If you’re headed to Mexico for a long-term trip and you want to open a bank account, the process will be simplest if you choose a bank that operates on both sides of the border.