The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: of Cell Phone plans and currency ex-change…” (apologies to Lewis Carroll)

2016 November 2016 Señior Tech

By Señior Tech from the November 2016 Edition

We live in Manzanillo, but our main bank accounts are in Canada, so we use Intercam Bank to convert our Canadian dollars to Mexican Pesos. Our account manager, Carlos, gives us a better exchange rate than those posted at the other banks. I write a cheque drawn on my Canadian bank, and pesos are deposited to my account or I can take cash. Visitors on tourist visas can also use their service. The cost is $109 pesos per transaction for any amount that has been approved to transfer.

If you prefer to transfer funds from your bank account and pick up Pesos, ( is an online site offers that service. XOOM advertises fund transfer to over 53 countries.

There is a $4.99 US service fee per transaction. All transactions are based on US currency. Currencies other than US will be converted to US dollars then to the currency desired. To use the service, an account is required.

If you have a PayPal account, you are able to log in using your PayPal credentials, otherwise you must sign-up using your email address and password. An email will be sent to your email for verification. Click on the verification link and you are ready to use the service. Once the account is setup, bill pay

ments, funds transfer into a foreign bank account or cash pickup is possible. Approved locations for cash pick up are listed as you complete your transaction.

XOOM currently has an iOS App, but it is only available in the US  store.  If  you  want  to  transfer  funds  from  your  iDevice ( iPhone, iPad, or iPod), setup an account in the US store, then download and install the Xoom App.

This past year my wife and I both setup our iPhones on monthly cellphone plans with Telcel. Not the pay as you go cards, but a monthly plan that also includes data. For a monthly cost of $199 pesos, there is unlimited calling and texting within Mexico and to the USA and Canada. If we travel to the USA or Canada, we can make unlimited calls or texts back to Mexico, at no additional cost. Also all calls made to Canada or the USA, while traveling in Canada or the USA are also with-out any additional costs. The $199 peso plan also includes 1 gb of data, which also can be used in Canada or the USA, without roaming fees. If you require more than 1 gb of data, they offer other plans up to 12 Gigs of data per month ($1,349 pesos monthly).

Telcel is not the only cell provider to offer great plan. AT&T in Mexico also has similar plans at similar cost.

The drawback on monthly plans is that they require either a Temporal or Permanente Visa, as well as an electric bill or Telmex bill and 3 references in Mexico. I think it was easier to get my Permanente Visa than my cellphone plan.

If you have either a Temporal or Permanente Visa, a monthly cell plan should be a no brainer! Our cell plans with Rogers in Canada cost us $126.00 CDN per month for 5 gbs of shared data and unlimited calling in Canada (the plan was a special deal negotiated years ago and that plan is now $30.00 more monthly). We pay $598 pesos ($40.00 CAD) for 4 gbs of data with no roaming charges and unlimited calls and texts which can be used within either the USA, Canada or Mexico.

If you only visit 4-6 months per year, eliminate your Mexican landline with a cell phone that can be used when you are back in Canada or the USA. As long as you pay your bills, you will not lose your phone number. The phone can be used to make unlimited toll-free calls and text messages to Mexico, the USA and Canada for $2,388 pesos per year ($170 CAD or $128 USD – Oct 2016 exchange rates).

To roam in Canada and the USA will require an unlocked smart phone that operates on the cell phone frequencies used by Canadian and US cell companies (iPhones, Android and Windows phone models available in the USA will work).

I contacted Rogers to unlock my wife’s iPhone. They usually charge a $50.00 fee, but I reminded them that our contract was up and the phone was paid for so the fee was waived.

If you are visiting Mexico on a tourist visa, you can get a cell phone, but only on a pay as you go plan. The minutes on these plans expire in 60 days, so if you forget, your telephone number could be reassigned. These plans are limited for use in Mexico.

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