A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to Mexico
What’s in this Mexico currency guide:
The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso, with symbol Mex$ and currency code MXN.
Contributing to a little more than 2% of the foreign exchange market daily turnover, the Mexican peso is the world’s second most traded emerging market currency, behind only the Chinese yuan. The peso is subdivided into 100 centavos.
The peso’s value is heavily influenced by commodities prices, particularly oil.
As an emerging market currency, the peso is considered riskier than currencies from major developed nations, which means that its value will fall against those currencies (especially JPY, CHF, USD, GBP and EUR) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.
Mexicans are mostly concerned with the value of their currency against the US dollar, since more than 80% of Mexican exports go to the US, with whom Mexico shares a free trade agreement.
The peso has consistently depreciated against the dollar since it's all-time high in 1972, when USD/MXN traded at just 0.01. By 1990, USD/MXN was at 2.7; at the end of 1994, after the currency was devalued by Mexico’s government, USD/MXN stood at 5.7; by the year 2000, the USD/MXN was meandering around 9.5; in 2009, the rate reached 15.6; and in January 2017, the peso reached an all-time low when USD/MXN traded as high as 22.03.
The peso has recovered into May strengthening from the nearly 22 per USD levels of November back under the key 20 value per green back, this is despite the continuing strength this year of USD.
When uncertainty increases, traders tend to move quickly out of emerging market FX such as the peso first before looking for safe havens.
The US Dollar has proven itself to be a safe haven amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict as investors seek refuge from the uncertainty.
05 May 2022
18 Feb 2022
19 May 2021
20 May 2017
21 May 2012
24 May 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Mexican peso.
Mexico is a fascinating and vibrant country to travel in, though like many other great spots there are also areas where there is crime, and tourists can be targeted for theft and pickpocketing. So some convenient tips are to photocopy your passport, and the front and back of your credit cards, so you have copies of their details. It may be a good idea to travel with a Prepaid Travel Card to avoid having to carry your credit card on you at all times. You can then leave your credit cards and passport in the hotel safe.
At the airport and bus stations in Mexico City and other major cities there are official taxis (Taxis Autorizados) that you should take. Avoid hailing taxis on the street, hotels will always be willing to organise this for you. For a long time flights within Mexico have been expensive and most travelers went by the good bus system or by train. Now however, depending on your preference, flights are very affordable and convenient, and can save a lot of time seeing more of the country. Doing a bit of looking around online can save you a lot of money on flights.
You can read about the best providers and compare the latest deals for international money transfers to Mexico in our Send Money to Mexico guide.