Thursday, August 19, 2010

The money thing

You wouldn't think sending money from Canada to Mexico would be too difficult. We buy stuff online. I've got a paypal account. Almost all my bills at home are paid automatically, straight out of the bank account, so I barely even think about them.
By contrast I'm finding that transferring money to Mexico is old-fashioned, fairly expensive and a bit unpredictable.
I thought I had it figured out. After a bit of back and forth to sort out the accounts and clave numbers and swift numbers and  such,  payments were successfully sent to the people who are holding the fort for us in Merida. Then one payment seemed to get lost between the Canadian credit union and the Mexican bank branch. We're trying to trace what happened to that transfer (cost of trace: $35CDN). Fortunately the lost transfer wasn't for a lot of money, so it feels a bit like an experiment. Meanwhile I'm trying to set up a new payment to a different account through a different bank, and once again the information I have doesn't seem to match what the bank needs. An account number has 17 digits and it should have 18. It isn't clear if the address field is supposed to contain the address of the Mexican bank or the person who is the final recipient. So I must track down the info, and trek back to the bank if I can find a time when it's open and I'm not at work, and spend another half hour or so standing there, trying to sort it all out with a bank teller. I hope this gets easier because it takes a lot of time.
The bank transfers cost $15 to $30 (dollars, not pesos) depending on the bank and the amount of the transfer, which seems like a lot to send a fairly modest sum. On the other hand, the bank's labour costs for processing each of these transfers would also be pretty steep.
I wonder if anyone else has found a better way to do this? I'd be interested in hearing about it.


  1. I ran into the same issue with my bank! Sick of paying hefty fees, I started using Xoom. I try and stay under $10,000MXP for each transaction, so the recipient isn’t charged a fee on their end, which of course would end up being charged back to me, costing us even more! The best part of Xoom is that each transaction in that range is only $4.95USD. I’ve only used them four times, but so far so good.

  2. Hi Susan,
    I have heard good things about Xoom. I have to check and see if they do transactions in Canada.

  3. I'm using for transfers - you can send any amount and their fees are even less. And excellent exchange rates... And with TD Royal and I think CIBC you can transfer directly over the internet - You don't have to get in the car and go to the bank!