What is the Mexican currency? – 5 things you have to know about money in Mexico

what is mexican currency

In this article we are going to learn necessary things you need to know and prepare before your trip to Mexico. Since in Mexico we have a different currency than the United States.

So, we ask ourselves the question: What is the Mexican currency? How is it used and why should I use pesos in Mexico?

Tips to understand the Mexican Currency

1. What is the currency in Mexico?

The Mexican national currency is the “peso mexicano”. One peso equals 100 centavos. The sign is identical to that for the US dollar. Actually, the $ sign always means the peso, only in the border regions to the USA and in the tourist centers it is better to ask to avoid expensive misunderstandings.

2. The Mexican currency code

The currency code for the Mexican peso is MXN.

The abbreviation for the Mexican Currency is MXN, mex$ or just $. In order not to confuse this with the US$, “$ M.N.” (moneda nacional) can sometimes be found on price tags.


The Mexican Currency “peso” in banknotes denomination is MXN 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 and 200 and coins of MXN 1, 2, 5, 10 and sometimes 20 MXN, and 50 centavos (¢). 1 MXN equals 100 centavos.

what is the mexican currency

3. Common means of payment in Mexico

The most widely used means of payment is Cash, but also businesses are taking credit cards and a few businesses take Paypal payments.

You should always carry cash in small notes with you, especially in rural areas, at stalls or at markets. Because usually no credit cards are accepted, and large bills are not easily changed by the smaller dealers. If you are staying outside of the larger cities for a longer period of time, it is advisable to plan and take a little more cash with you.

In tourist areas US dollars can be easily exchanged for Mexican pesos. The local banks and exchange offices (casas de cambio) are at your disposal for this. 

The advantages of the exchange offices (casas de cambio) are the longer opening times compared to the banks and the less bureaucratic processing of money exchange. For larger sums of money, it is worth comparing the exchange rates. The rates at the airport are usually not as good as in the inner cities, where Mexicans also change their money.

4. Mexican currency exchange and exchange rate

The US dollar is the easiest to exchange. The euro is widespread in larger towns and in tourist regions. Other currencies for a trip to Mexico are only conditionally recommended. In any case, you should first exchange money with pesos in Mexico, since the worse exchange rate is usually used at home.

The exchange rate is heavily dependent on the US dollar. 

The most common banks in Mexico are Bancomer, Banamex, HSBC and Santander.

5. How to use my card and ATMs in Mexico?

what is the mexican currency

ATMs (cajero automático) Most bank branches also have ATMs, and ATMs are increasingly being installed in shopping centers, gas stations, pharmacies, etc. Cash can also be withdrawn with a credit card for a significantly higher fee. We advise against using the ATMs in the evening, unfortunately incidents happen again and again.

Make sure that nobody is watching you and that the machines have not been tampered with (indications of tampered with ATMs: traces of adhesive around the card slot, loose or protruding components, key panels covered with tape, etc.). The safest are ATMs directly in the bank, guarded by security guards or those in supermarkets.

Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, major shops and department stores in Mexico nationwide. At the same time, you can use your credit card to provide proof of liquidity to the car rental company, authorities, hotel or hospital. VISA, MasterCard and American Express are accepted without any problems.

If you lose your money card in Mexico, please make a separate note of the blocking number somewhere in advance so that your bank can block the cards immediately.

If you are interested in these topics related to living in Mexico, you can also consult this article where we talk about how pharmacies work in Mexico, remember that the first step is to be informed. 

And if you want to start learning some Spanish phrases here you can learn how to say hello like a Mexican

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