A Good way to bank at Lake Chapala Ajijic Mexico

August 12, 2009

A Good way to bank at Lake Chapala Ajijic Mexico

A client of mine did some research about banking here after I explained to him that we were almost totally a cash economy here. I explained how I do my banking via BanaMex USA in California  with a debit card I use in any BanaMex anywhere in Mexico to get cash out of my US dollar account.

But, now with the new banking regulations in place in the USA you must go to BanaMex USA in Los Angeles which obviously will not work for most folks.

I mentioned to him that I had heard Bank of America has an affiliation with a local bank here at Lake Chapala. He got busy and found a really good way to bank here safely.

So let me just quote part of his e mail to me below (with his permission of course).

“Here’s the scoop on the banking. Feel free to pass it on to others.  It goes like this:

Open an account at a Bank of America in the states.

Go to Mexico. Open an account at Santander. Explain to them that you have an account at BofA in the states and you want to be able to transfer money into the Santander account. They will issue you a card with the required info to do so.

When you want to transfer funds, go to Santander, give them the card, tell them how much you want to transfer.

Bank of America

They’ll take the card, initiate the electronic transfer.

It should be in your account almost immediately, ready for withdrawal.

Hope this helps you and others.
Thanks again for all your help.

Thanks Dick for forwarding the great information. I’m sure it will help some of our members.

  • kathy mackenzie

    Last year I just used my atm card from Bank of America at Banco Santander. They have an affiliation and there was no charge. Does that not work anymore?


  • Cynthia Klenke

    Hi Sid,
    I’ve been using my BOA ATM card at Santander since I’ve moved here. There are no ATM fees at all — even though the screen says there is. You really don’t even have to set up a Santander account here. I believe the most I’ve been able to get out at one time is $8000 pesos, although I haven’t really tried to do it multiple times in one day. I don’t believe your article mentioned using the ATM with no fees.

    Hope you are doing well.


  • Ron Salamone

    Hi Sid, you did not say where Santander is, We are moving down in Sep and bofa told us the same thing, but not where it is, Ajijic or Chapala ?? Ron Salamone

  • http://www.ChapalaClub.com Sid

    Hi Ron, Cynthia and Kathy, A Big Thanks to each of you for your comments. All are excellent.

    The Santander bank is in Chapala and I think there may be one in Jocotepec at the far West end of the North Shore of Lake Chapala as well.

    There are 4 banks in Chapala and one in Ajijic (Bancomer who also has one in Chapala) and the one I mentioned in Jocotepec.

    I like the option best personally of just using no fee or low fee credit or debit cards rather than opening an account at a Mexican bank here. There’s a good bit more red tape than in the USA to open an account and the fees tend to be higher.

    And, since we’re in a cash economy no real need for a checking account here. Hope this helps.

    Thanks to each of you again. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • David R

    Thanks Sid.

  • Sally Meza

    Sid, I’ve loved reading your posts; however, whenever you have a posting, i.e., 3 30-second videos that can save you thousands…etc., I cannot access them. I can click on it, but it just brings me to the original announcement, and I never get to the videos. can you help?

  • http://www,CHapalaCLub.com Sid

    Hi Sally, Thanks for your comment. I test each post before it’s published, but now the videos are strangely missing.

    I’ve been doing some minor surgery in the hopes of making the site better for everyone, but for now, I can;t explain what happened.

    I’m in Dallas now due to tthe death of a loved one and not on my home computer with all my website tools so it will be a few days before I can get back behind the curtain so to speak and see what went wrong.

    Thanks for letting me know and ASAP I’ll deal with it. I sure want everyone to see the three videos, That’s for sure.

    Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Carolyn ANN Elder

    Hello, Sid
    Please advise me the particulars of Love In Action
    both for full/active participation with a child/godparent
    and as an absentee godparent…

    Are there any guidelines about how much time a godparent
    must be IN COUNTRY(Mexico)
    in order to be of benefit as a participant one on one
    with a child?



  • http://www,CHapalaCLub.com Sid

    Hi Ann, Thanks for your question, The best way to get the most accurate information is to e mail the Director of Love in Action.

    Here’s the e mail address.


    All for now. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Hansje I Twyman (Mrs.)

    We’re coming down for Sept and Oct from DC area. We opened an account with Citi, which gives us a debit card to use at ANY ATM in Mexico without fees. Citi has a relationship with Banamex, but you needn’t just use those ATMs.

  • Linda Cloutier

    For Canadians(?), I was reading in the Insider’s Guide (by Teresa A. Kendrick) that Lloyd offers a debit card (for account holders) that can be used at Scotiabank ATMs in Mexico. A non-interest bearing account is set up just for this purpose.

    This kind of indicates to me that it would be be a good idea to have a Canadian bank account with Scotiabank. Then deposited funds in the Canadian account could be transferred into the Lloyd special account even more smoothly.

    Is it possible that anyone has spotted a ‘Scotiabank’ ATM in the Chapal-Ajijic area?

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    HI Linda, I checked on line and found this quote:

    “BANKS – Banca Santander–Serfin, Banamex, HSBC and Bancomer at Lakeside are full service banks. Scotiabank is available in Guadalajara with an ATM at lakeside. Chapala has four banks, Ajijic one, and Jocotepec one. Allen W. Lloyd is an investment company here with offices both in Chapala and Ajijic. Multivalores is another investment firm with offices in Ajijic.”

    The post I found did not state just where the Scotiabank ATM was located in our area.

    Hope this helps a little, Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Linda Cloutier

    Thanks for finding that information, Sid. It’s confirmation of what is in my Insider’s Guide book which says that a Lloyd (Operadora de Fondos Lloyd) location has this service through Scotiabank. I’ll have to just find out if it’s the Chapala or the Ajijic location later, as the book doesn’t say. Either one should be convenient.



  • Ed vanderleelie

    Hey Sid:
    We met you last December at La Paloma. At this time we are
    planning to come to Ajijic late August – September for a couple of weeks . My wife needs dental work. Any recommendations?
    If you can … name and phone number of the dentist.
    We also are booked to come back to Ajijic for the month of December to see if Ajijic appeals to us as much as it did
    last December…. with plans to retire there.
    hope to hear from you soon

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    HI Ed, Good to hear from you guys. Look forward to seeing you guys on your next trip here.

    We’re covered up with great dentists here.

    My current dentist is Sandra Cristina Anaya. Her office is in CHapala at MOreos #189.
    Her telephone is 765 – 5444

    From the USA 011 52 376 765 5444. She speaks English. WE met her through her Mom who we rented a house from years ago.

    There’s a lesson here. Mexico is about relationships and referrals from friends much more so than the USA.

    I think her prices for the same procedures would be much less than in nearby Ajijic. She will have a good mix of Mexican and North American clients. Her office rent will be lower than in Ajijic as well.

    All for now Ed. Thanks again. Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • Elin Lawrence

    Where has your Web Board gone? I miss all the comments.

  • Ed

    Hello Sid:
    I enjoy reading the various questions and answers you give.
    is there a certain place I can find these?
    thanks, Ed

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Ed, There’s no one place where all the questions and answers are located. Readers just ask their questions in the comments section below which ever article they were reading. I agree it would be a good idea to have one place where they all would be gathered together.

    I’ll look into this. Thanks for your comment. Sincerely, Sid

  • Robert Edmonston

    I’m considering retiring in Ajijic, Mexico. I understand dollar wise we need to confirm 1100 dollar income per month. I am a litle short of that in my social security at present. I’m working so it will increase to the correct amount in a year or so.
    I just read notes on the bullentin board. Very helpful!! Where do I go to observe these and other notes about mexico? I happened to stumble onDo you recommend any newspapers or magazines? Robert alias “Ed”

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Ed, Thanks for your comments. I would come on down on a Tourist permit for a visit and let me introduce you to one or more of the Immigration specialists in the area.

    They can be very helpful in finding ways to get you to qualify for an FM type visa like an FM3.

    Sometimes they recommend opening a savings account here or an investment account to prove to the Mexican government that you would not become a drain on any social services.

    On the right hand column you can find two sections where people comment. One section is for our comments section.

    The other is called “The Web Board” which is run by hosted by another site but you can acess it from our website for your convenience.

    Also go to the top of ChapalaClub.com and find the tab/button ALL CLUB POSTS (4th from the left side) and click it and hundreds of prior articles, videos, and news items will be revealed going back 5 years.

    You can click onm any of those links to learn more and some will have comments attached as well.

    Another very good way to find things of interest on ChapalaClub.com is to go up to the top right hand corner where you will find a search box.

    If you will put in this boc “ChapalaClub.com follwed by the idea or dsubject you want to find) the search Engine powered by Gooogle will search the entire site to find any realted articles, videos, etc. related to words you entered.

    Don;t forget to put ChapalaClub.com and then add what you’re looking for before you click search.

    Hope this helps. Tu amigo, Sid

  • http://dahlreview.com Dick and Linda Dahl

    Hola Sid,

    We’ve had -2 degree weather with lots of snow here in NC and have been dreaming fondly, madly, for Chapala. Saw my note on banking you posted above and you’re right, I forgot to mention the ATM card. It was our experience that the best and easiest way to get cash, by far, was to have money electronically deposited into our account at BofA in the states and then just get it out at the Santander ATM. No charges and, best of all, the exchange rate was better than at a local bank.

    Still dreaming of Chapala – its due to snow again tonight. We’ll be back.

    Hasta ese momento,

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Dick and Linda, Thanks so much for your nice comments.

    Hurry back soon. Tu amigo, Sid

  • Ken Frook

    Hi Sid:

    I loved the video of Chapala’s market day. With this cold weather here in Northern VA, it makes us miss the warmth of Lakeside.

    Unfortunately, when we were there in Oct., we didn’t get to spend much time in Chapala. It will definitely be included in our plans for next time!

    Good luck with the new video system.


  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Ken,

    Sorry we missed each other when you were in the area.

    I look forward to meeting you in person on your next trip
    to our area. Tu amigo, Sid

  • Edward Vanderleelie

    Hello Sid:
    We are planning to drive down to Ajijic in a couple of weeks.
    We plan to cross into Mexico at Columbia.
    Seemms to me you had a step by step route in one of your blogs.
    Could you please email it to me.
    Thank you!

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Ed, Thanks for your comment/question.

    I’ll add some links to several prior articles below
    that gave detailed driving instructions. Columbia is my preferred bridge, but the Texas road leading to it s a toll road with no one to collect the tolls.

    A camera will take you picture and Texas will send you a letter (to the registered address for your car telling you to pay the toll.) To me it’s worth the toll fee they ask just to get to use this bridge.

    Plan on arriving at the Columbia bridge early enough that you can dive for several more hours during day light to get to good lodging before dark after corssing into Mexico.

    Here are the links:

    http://tinyurl.com/2exxkpb (Not about Columbia Bridge but good driving tips)

    http://tinyurl.com/5umawnq (The latest detailed driving guide I know of from Laredo to Lake Chapala.)

    If after crossing at Columbia you head toward MOnterrey but please avoid going into the city it proper as it’s very easy to get lost in the city, Take the toll road to by pass the city itself.

    We wish you a safe, uninteresting journey with no hic cups along the way. Let us her from you when you arrive.

    Tu amigo, Sid

  • Flore Langeslag

    Hi Sid,
    I heard you are good in helping people out. Can you give us a good advise about driving trip from West Kelowna, BC Canada to Ajijic, Mexico and some travel tips safety and what to watch out during our trip. Many thanks to you.
    Flore Langeslag

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Flore, Thanks for your comment.

    I do my best to help people.

    I’ll be sending you a trip plan by e mail with mile by mile directions from West Kelowna, B.C. (You’ll enter Mexico via El Paso, Texas on this route. I’ve made this trip several times.

    Also you should read the article on driving in Mexico about maps, tips, and tricks to make you trip better.
    Here’s a link to that article.


    Let us all know how you make out. Tu amigo, Sid

  • http://DrivingfromKelownaBCtoAjijic Arlene Cooney

    Hi Sid – I was wondering if you could send me the same plan as you are sending to the couple from Kelowna BC. Would be much appreciated.


    PS: If you know anyone who is interested in renting our house it is available after one year of legal process to get rid of the tenants who could not pay us. It has been a terrible year for us in so many aspects.

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Arlene, Yes, of course I’ll forward to along today. Tu amigo, Sid

  • vivamexico

    Sid – For people driving from western Canada i.e. B.C. & Alberta, instead of going all the way to Texas to cross the border, it is better to drive to Tucson, Az. & cross the border at Nogales. My husband & I have driven that route many times from Alberta. The highway to Guadalajara is very good as long as you stick to the toll roads. I lot of the drive will be 4 lanes and in most cases divided.I also have printed information on that route and would be glad to share it.

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Vivamexico,

    Yes, I’ve driven this route as well, just not as often as the route from El Paso. Thanks for sharing, Tu amigo, Sid

  • Mbengoaduprey

    Hi Mr Grosvenor,

    Since I already have an account in Santander Puerto Rico, I figure I won’t have any problems. Am I right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/SidGrosvenor Sid Grosvenor

    Hi  MbengoadupreyMy guess would be that it would be easier, but it depends upon the actual relationship between the two banks. Years ago I opened a checking account at our local Banamex and already had an account at California Commerce bank (owned by Banamex)) but it still took all day and a stack of paperwork to open the account.Remember banks also have to follow the laws of the Country where they operate. SO it will also hinge on how similar the laws are in the two countries.We’ve had reports about how easy it is to open an account there.I don’t recommend a checking account since checks are rarely used here.I would open a savings type account with a debit card to get cash from ATMmachines in the area. You can also pay some bills on line (more each year).Let us know how you make out. Tu amigo, Sid

  • Mbengoaduprey

    Thaks so much for your prompt reply. I figure Santander in Puerto Rico operates according to USA banking laws since Puerto Rico is a USA territory. Anyway, when I traveled to Europe (Spain, France and Italy) three years ago, everything went fine. 

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