Mexico curbs use of dollars
Travelers, be aware: Your freewheeling days of spending U.S. dollars in Mexico are over. The Mexican government has passed a law restricting...
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Travelers, be aware: Your freewheeling days of spending U.S. dollars in Mexico are over.
The Mexican government has passed a law restricting how many greenbacks Americans can exchange south of the border. The new magic number: $1,500 per month.
The government enacted the change last month to control the number of dollars entering the country's banking system, hoping to curb drug-related money laundering.
The law, however, does not limit credit card or debit card transactions, or ATM withdrawals of pesos.
For purchases with American dollars, certain states, such as the resort haven of Quintana Roo — which includes Cancún, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen — are capping individual purchases at $100. AAA and other travel experts add that some vendors may refuse dollars altogether.
"Despite the $100 restriction in many parts of Mexico, tour operators are warning customers that some businesses might not accept dollars at all," AAA spokesman John Townsend said in an e-mail, "and are suggesting that visitors stock up on pesos or traveler's checks in the U.S. before flying south."
Townsend also said that the law forbids Mexican airports and their occupants to accept U.S. currency "for anything," including checked baggage fees.
Air Transport Association spokeswoman Victoria Day said that the organization's members are addressing the new law "individually."
JetBlue, for one, now takes only credit cards and pesos for expenses incurred in Mexican airports; American Airlines has established a similar policy.
The restriction aren't hampering most purchases by American visitors, say Mexican authorities.
Hotels, restaurants, stores and other merchants in Baja California still gladly accept U.S. dollars," said Juan Tintos Funcke, state secretary of tourism for Baja California.
"Dollar bills are as welcome as pesos and credit cards across Baja California, everywhere a tourist would spend money," he said in a statement.
The one concession: "For sales over U.S. $100 in cash, venues may choose to run multiple transactions without any problem."
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