Thursday, July 6, 2017

Something about Mexican Money

Often when people first come here, they are confused about the value of the Mexican money compared to money in the United States. I didn't check the Canadian value on this post. Maybe I will do that another time but I am too unfamiliar with their money. Remember that the value of the peso fluctuates here on a daily basis. Before Trump was elected, people were nervous down here. I am not sure if that is the only reason. It also had to do with the value of Mexican Oil going down and Mexico depends on the oil to keep their economy going.

 At one point, just a few months ago, the peso was only worth 23 to the American Dollar. Now that would have been a good time to have opened up an account here. I was in an investment bank the other day and their interest rates are over six percent just for keeping money in for a few months. But I didn't take that opportunity because I remember when there was a crash here years ago and people lost all their savings. They also changed the money.  Instead of using thousands of pesos to the dollar it went down to tens of pesos. Sometimes I see an old peso in some stall. But they are worthless. 

I took photos of my money and then looked up what it was worth TODAY..... at 18.2742 pesos to the dollar. Often when you change your North American money at the airports or hotels, they will give you much less for your dollar, so watch that. Don't change much money when you first come into Mexico. You will get a much better rate from an ATM machine in a local bank. So remember, all these exchange rates constantly fluctuate.

Above is the 500 peso note. It is what you usually get out of the ATM machines. Make sure they are in good shape. If they are torn, take them into the bank  and get another one. Most businesses check them closely and will not take a torn or damaged notes. . These large notes are hard to spend in small stores where they don't keep much money around or the stalls in the outside markets.

 Once, years ago, I flew into Puerto Vallarta and mixed up my 500 peso note for a 50 peso note. I ended up paying seventy dollars to the taxi driver instead of seven dollars and he couldn't get out of there fast enough.... So be careful.  I think there is also a 1000 peso note but I have never had one or seen it. Usually in the larger stores the clerks will check the 500 peso notes to make sure they are not counterfeit. For awhile there were a lot of them in town. If you get one, well, too bad for you... You are stuck with it. And Don't ask me how they know. I think it has something to do with those clear looking spots on the notes. There is a very thin clear paper inside of those spots. I always see the clerks hold them up to the light. Have no idea what they are looking for, just hoping I didn't get stuck with a counterfeit note. 

These 500 peso notes are great if you are traveling and you don't want to carry huge wads of cash but practically worthless when you are in a small town.  I had one once and went to five different stores, trying to buy something just so I could cash it. Each store owner told me just to take the object because he didn't have change. So the next day I had to get it changed at the bank and go back to all those stores to pay them what I had bought the day before for things I didn't even want. I just wanted the change. 

This is a 200 peso note. I noticed when I took a photo of it that there is a torn spot in the bottom middle. I will have to carefully tape that up or I won't be able to spend it. These are very useful because they are worth less than the 500 peso notes and more people will have change. But not always. As of today this note is worth 10.9441 North American dollars.

Above is the even more useful 100 peso note. Notice that the one above is has a different photo. The top one is newer. As of today it is worth  5.45204 North American dollars. And this is even a more useful note.

Above is a fifty peso note and it is extremely easy to spend. It is worth today 2.73617 North American dollars.

And the most popular 20 peso note. The clear spot on the lower left hand corner somehow proves that it is authentic. As of today it is worth 1.09447 North American dollars. There is also the very unpopular 20 peso coin. I rarely see them anymore. I think because people confused them too easily with the 10 peso coin which is in the next photo.

I put a North American quarter below these coins to give you an idea of their size. The first one on the left is the ten peso coin. As of today it is worth .547295 in North American money. So think fifty cents and you will be close. Next to it is the five peso coin worth today .273406 North American, okay round it to a quarter. And then the 2 peso coin worth .109362 in North American money so think about ten cents. The ten peso, five peso and two peso coins are useful for the local buses. 

Here is a line of coins. The ten peso is first, then five peso, then two, then one then half a peso then the little worthless ones that no one bothers to pick up. They are like the North American pennies but worth much less. There is a .50 peso worth about  .025354 as of today. That is the larger gold coin. Two of those make one peso. Maybe worth picking up if you are poor and don't have a bad back. The three very small ones next are all very light and I have never seen anyone pick up one of these. They are 50, worth today in N. American terms , rounded out to.027 and then the .20 centavo worth today in North American terms.0109 I can't add all the extra numbers because my computer then thinks I am putting in phone numbers and turns them blue. So I shortened the amount, rounded it out so to speak. And the last one is a .10 centavo worth in N. American terms today .00547 and a few more numbers I can't put on because of them turning blue. 

I hope this helps the new comers to understand money here a bit. Just remember to look at the daily exchange rate to get an idea of what they all are worth or in some instances worthless...... If you hand the beggars those little coins, you won't get a good response. Not much of a smile if any at all. 


  1. Hi Pat,
    I am saving this post so I can show it to my classes! Muchas gracias!
    Karen in VA

    1. Very good Karen. Makes me feel useful. Thanks for letting me know. P

    2. I use your posts often in my classes! Very helpful, and "real life"!
      :) Karen

    3. Hi Karen, very good to know. I will keep that in mind from now on. P

  2. Very informative! There is a website (also available as an app for phones) that gives the exchange rates for each of the banks in Mexico. Not only does the exchange rate vary day to day, but it varies among different banks! is the site.

  3. Oops! The site is (really!)

  4. Thank you Deborah, and as I wrote, some ATM machines are awful. Hotels give you bad exchange rates if you change money there. And ATM machines in amusement parks, and exchange places in the Airport... SO it is important to watch where you change your money. And also some ATM machines aren't safe. People have ways to get your PIN number and information while you are using them. That is why I NEVER use ATM machines in stores. I have a friend that happened to in the Walmart here. She managed to get her money back but stupidly used it another time. The second time the bank refused to return her money. THey said she shouldn't have used that machine a second time.... Only once have I been short changed from an AtM machine and the bank gave me the money later on. Thanks for commenting. P

  5. Hola Patricia,

    You said, "Sometimes I see an old peso in some stall. But they are worthless." Would you please explain that another way? I have a lot of old 25 peso coins. Do you know if these are still good?

    Thank you for all you do and share!! SO helpful!!


    1. Hi Barbara, check it out on google. I put on old Twenty five peso Mexican coins. My memory isn't so great but what I do remember is that they were only minted in 1968 and they are 72 percent silver. So it depends on the value of the silver and condition of the coin. So they are of some value. P

  6. What a great lesson, Pat. Thank you so much.

    Hasta pronto!

  7. Hi Sylva, I wrote this partly for you because I knew you would be here soon and would need to know about the money. GLad you looked at it. P