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Using a credit card in Mexico

Know the potential fees and what cards are accepted in Mexico before you take off.

Credit cards are accepted widely at most larger hotels and restaurants in Mexico. However, you should carry some cash wherever you go, as smaller merchants may not accept cards. If you’re going to a big tourist city like Cabo San Lucas or Cancun, you can often use US dollars — but the local merchants are likely to give you poor exchange rates. Here’s the rundown on what you need to know when using your credit card in Mexico.

Credit card issuers accepted in Mexico

American Express cards are widely accepted in Mexico, but not as much as Visa or Mastercard. If you want to use an ATM to withdraw cash with your Amex card, look for HSBC or Scotiabank ATMs. Note that chip cards are the standard in Mexico. You can still use a magstripe card at many locations, but you may run into merchants who will only accept chip cards. As such, you may want to upgrade your card before you travel.

Merchant acceptanceATM acceptance
Visacheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh
Mastercardcheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh
American Expresscheck mark iconHighcheck mark iconHigh
Discoverexclamation point iconMediumcross mark iconLow

Do taxis in Mexico accept credit cards?

No. However, if you prefer to pay with your card, you can use rideshare services like Uber or Lyft. It’s often cheaper and you won’t have to worry about having cash on hand.

Watch out for these 2 credit card fees in Mexico

There are two main fees you may incur when using a credit card in Mexico. It’s possible to incur both fees in one transaction if you’re not careful.

  • Foreign transaction fees. Depending on your card, you could pay a fee of up to 3% of each transaction you make. That means $2,000 spent in Mexico would cost you $60 in fees.
  • Currency conversion fees. An ATM or a merchant might offer you the option to pay in US dollars. This is known as a dynamic currency conversion (DCC), and it usually has higher fees and a double exchange rate.

How to prepare before traveling to Mexico

Before you leave for Mexico, make a few arrangements to ensure you can use your card without a hitch.

  • Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Many cards will charge a 3% fee when you use your card abroad, so be on the lookout for cards that don’t. The best travel cards — such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms apply, see rates & fees) — charge no foreign transaction fees.
  • Give your card provider a heads up. If your card company sees a foreign transaction on your card, they may put a hold on your account for suspicious activity. To avoid this, give your provider a quick call letting them know you’ll be traveling to Mexico.
  • Know what number to call if you have problems with your card while traveling. Your card might get stolen while you’re traveling, or you could lose it. In these cases, you’ll want to know the right number to call to get a replacement. Ask your provider for a Mexican phone number you can dial in a pinch.
  • Know where you’ll get cash once you arrive. Even if you have a credit card, it’s smart to have cash on you. So you don’t waste time or money, plan out beforehand where you’ll get your cash. Check if your bank has international partnerships that allow you to use some ATMs for free.

8 common banks you’ll see around Mexico

Some of the local banks that operate in Mexico are:
  • Banca Mifel
  • Banco Multiva
  • Banorte
  • BanBaijo

There are also international banks, including:

  • American Express Bank
  • Citibanamex
  • HSBC Mexico
  • Barclays Mexico

It’s always good to ask your bank if they have partnerships with any of these banks. If they do, you could avoid paying fees on ATM cash withdrawals.

Compare credit cards for use in Mexico

When traveling in Mexico or anywhere else abroad, be sure to get a card without foreign transaction fees. Although they may seem small, these fees can rack up quickly over the course of a trip. Here are a few of Finder’s favorite travel card options.

American Express® Gold Card


Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score


Annual fee


Purchase APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Balance transfer APR



4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on other eligible purchases

Welcome offer

60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card


Finder Rating: 4.3 / 5

Go to site

Minimum credit score


Annual fee


Purchase APR

26.99% variable

Balance transfer APR

26.99% variable


1.5% cash back on all purchases

Welcome offer


3 tips for keeping your card safe when using your credit card in Mexico

It’s generally safe to use a credit card in Mexico. However, you should always try to:

  • Use an ATM in a bank. If for some reason your card gets stuck in the ATM, you can quickly get it back. Also, it’s less likely that an ATM in a bank has card skimming devices attached to it. This is also an ideal place to withdraw cash from your account.
  • Take two cards. A second card can be useful if you lose your first card or if it gets blocked. That way, you won’t be left without money.
  • Keep your card in sight. To avoid someone else stealing your credit card information, make sure you keep an eye on your card whenever you use it to pay.

Bottom line

Mastercard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted in Mexico, especially in most hotels and restaurants. However, some of the smaller merchants may accept only cash. If you want to make cash withdrawals, bring along a debit card to avoid pricey cash advance fees. You can also get a travel card and decline DCC when offered to avoid additional fees and poor exchange rates.

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7 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    CaroleDecember 10, 2018

    Is it better to use a pre-paid Visa while traveling in Mexico or should I use my Capital One credit card for all purchases?

      Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoDecember 13, 2018

      Hi Carole,

      Thanks for reaching out! Ultimately, it will depend on where you are in Mexico and what you’re spending in. Essentially, a prepaid travel money card is good to save on foreign exchange fees. You’d also need a credit card for any emergencies that take place during your trip. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.


    Default Gravatar
    RobSeptember 19, 2018

    There are heaps of options for saving money with ATM withdrawals and spending overseas. Checkout monzo, revolut, and TransferWise. You can use these cards freely with no fees when making purchases with them. They also use the interbanking rate for conversions (not the consumer rate like these Banks). As for ATM withdrawals, they give you a free amount per month to withdrawal after that it is a 2% fee (which still beats most banks). The trick is to sign up to all of them to multiple your limits. This is also a good idea as you have more cards travelling in case of robbery or you lose your card somewhere. Keep them in separate places. Etc

    Default Gravatar
    BobAugust 27, 2018

    is there a regional lock on cc in northern mexico because every time i travel down there its a hassle to use mine

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesAugust 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for leaving a question on finder.

      You may want to contact your credit card provider regarding this concern to check if there are restrictions on your card. Based on recent updates, there are no restrictions in the usage of credit cards in Mexico.

      Hope this helps!


    Default Gravatar
    MariaJuly 24, 2018

    I want to know if the Visa Card from UBA is valid and if it can be used in Mexico. Thanks.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJuly 24, 2018Staff

      Hello Maria,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, you can use this card in Mexico as long as it has a Visa logo. The UBA Visa Classic Debit Card can be used in Visa enabled ATMs in over 200 countries and can purchase at merchant locations where Visa is accepted worldwide.


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