As always, when using an ATM, exercise caution. Do not forget to take your credit/debit card out of the machine when you are finished with your transaction. Place your money in your wallet or purse before exiting the ATM room.
The ATM machines in Mexico can vary greatly in what fees they charge, be very mindful of this as some can charge incredibly high fees. The best machines are the traditional banks, Bancomer, Santander, Scotiabank etc. The other machines are run by small companies and can charge huge fees. What you really want to stay away from are the ATM’s that dispense US Dollars. With these machines, you will get a poor exchange rate AND get charged a high fee. Unless it’s for some special purpose, you are better off paying for your food etc with Pesos anyway.
A good rule of thumb to live by when pulling out cash is to pull out only as much as you feel comfortable carrying around. The big bank ATM’s will allow you to pull out up to 6000 pesos or around $300 USD.
If you feel comfortable taking that amount with you (maybe put some in the safe in your room) then you will minimize your fees. The big banks charge between $35-$45 pesos for the transaction fee – less than $3 USD. The private machines charge $100 pesos and up. Many machines will be lined up at certain hours so respect the cue.
It is best to pay for things with Pesos. Shops and restaurants will give you their exchange rate if you pay in Dollars. This exchange rate is usually much worse than a bank exchange rate.
PVT Tip: Businesses cannot accept more than $100 USD per transaction legally.