Pay in Pesos! Whatever currency you have, when you’re in Mexico you’re best off paying in pesos. Dollars are widely accepted but if you pay in dollars you're leaving the decision of the exchange rate up to the person you're paying, the restaurant, taxi driver or shop owner, the exchange rate will always be higher than the rate you can get at a bank or money exchange. You’ll find the best exchange rate in the banks. You’ll need your passport to exchange money at the bank or money exchange.

Paying with a card. Paying via your credit or debit card when possible is a good option. If it's an international card, sometimes you’ll be asked if you want the shop or the card issuer to handle the exchange rate. You will always be better off choosing your card issuer or your bank. Your bank will give you the best exchange rate on each transaction. You may be asked for proof of ID when using your bank card.

ATMs. If you need to get out cash, the best Atm or cash machines are the Mexican bank Atm’s. They will give you pesos!! Some stand-alone ATMs offer dollars but quite often the fees for using these ATMs are $50 dollars and up so don’t get caught out! These stand-alone dollar atm’s tend to be found in the tourist areas and in the larger hotels. They are there to make money off of you. If you are asked if you want to take the ATMs exchange rate, always decline that option too.

In Mexico there is always an attendant who puts the gas in your car. You pull up to the pump and tell him/her how much gas to put in.

On some occasions, you might experience the gas station Scam Switcheroo. To give you an example; you fill your tank up with gas and it comes to $1000 pesos. You hand over 2x $500 pesos bills and the attendant shows that you only gave him a $500 bill and a $50 bill, telling you that you handed over the wrong amount of money.

In receiving your two bills, the attendant whips out a $50 from his stash and shows them to you. This quite often works because unsuspecting tourists who are not familiar with the currency or language get confused. You hand over another $500 pesos bill, believing that you handed over the wrong amount but actually, it's the attendant taking advantage.

The same scam can be done if you’re paying in dollars. If this does happen, stay put and call for the manager. Quite often that’s enough for the attendant to hand you back what is owed. Being aware that this can happen keeps you on your toes when entering to buy gas. It’s best to say a fixed amount, then you know how much money you need to hand over and you can have it prepared.

The salary for gas attendants is very very low so you should always leave a tip (around $20 pesos or $1 dollar) if you’ve had a normal experience. 


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