Starting Credit History in Mexico

So what are the benefits of an RT (Residente Temporal) or RP (Residente Permanente) status?

Apart from living in the country legally for an extended period of time. Having a resident status also entitles you to some benefits Mexico has to offer, such as health insurance, having chances of getting a job (if your RT permit comes with a "Permiso para Trabajar"), establishing your credit, and so many more!

In this topic, I will be focusing on establishing your credit.

I decided to start working on my credit history since November 2020. 6 months has passed and I am proud to say that I have found many Do's and Don'ts for building your credit history.

So if you are interested in staying here in the country for good, then knowing how to build your credit and opening more financial options in times of need is important.

How did I start my credit? It all started when I lost my phone and I decided to try getting a postpaid line. I decided to try to open a postpaid line because I got tired of having to line up at Oxxo or load my prepaid credits everytime it expired.

Cellular Postpaid Line Options:

My first option was Telcel. I decided to go for Telcel since my prepaid line is with them, so I figured maybe I can get a plan with them, after presenting my Passport, FM3, and proof of address. They said I am only approved for a 2 GB plan every month, I said that would not suffice since I use more than 5 GB a month. Telcel explained to me (in a quite unkind way) that I have no credit history, no credits, and no proof of capacity to pay. So I thanked them for trying to process my application and declined the options presented to me.

My 2nd option was AT&T, which was across the street where Telcel was (funny but true). Did the same thing, presented the same documents, and they approved me for a Doble Giga plan of 3 GB, which sums up to 6 GB per month. Paid for a 300 MN activation fee and voila! I got my very first postpaid line! The entire process wit AT&T took around 30 minutes.

I did not want to get a phone from both providers because I prefer to buy my own phone, I travel frequently and I have an international sim, so I needed a phone that had two sim slots.

Since AT&T is a postpaid line, it will start reporting you to the Buro de Credito and Circulo de Credito, this usually takes around 2 months.


Credit Options:

Next was a cash loan, now banks will certainly decline me because I don't have any credit history nor an account that has a long tenure with them, so I decided to use some apps in Playstore that offered cash loans. After trying several apps, I found Credifranco, they offer a low cash loan, but the point here is not about the amount but the credit history you can start building.

I took out a 300 peso loan, paid it after 7 days, in about a month after paying, I remember they reported my timely payment with Buro de Credito and Circulo de Credito.

Reminder, do not take out cash loans for the sake of sustaining your financial needs, these cash loans charge a very high interest rate and the only purpose you should do this every now and then is to establish a credit history.


Credit Card:

Now on to the most exciting part, a CREDIT CARD! That thin piece of plastic that can power up your credit history BUT also RUIN your credit history if you do not know how to use one properly.

Many financial institutions are strict about having a credit history, and since I did not have a solid history at that time, many banks will definitely decline me. This is until I found, Vexi.

Vexi is a credit card that offers a starter limit of 1,000 MN (depending on approval), even if you do not have a credit history, they normally approve you to help you get "into the system". I applied for one, got approved for a Virtual Carnet Card, then a month later, they gave me a Vexi Amex Card. After 3 months of paying on time and not leaving any balance behind, they increased my line up to $1,800.00 MN.

Whilst the increase was not high, I did not mind since I don't use AMEX that much plus I only wanted a Credit Card to beef up my credit history. I do not leave any balance behind and pay in full every due date.

Credit Card Interest Rates here in Mexico are EXTREMELY HIGH, so I am careful not to leave any balance behind to improve the proof of my paying capacity, and to also not pay interest. This is where I said Credit Cards can power up your credit history, or bring you to ruins, as much as possible, do not leave any balance behind unless you are offered installments without additional interest and hidden fees.

3 months later, Vexi started reporting me to the Buro de Credito and Circulo de Credito. But there was one problem, Vexi (under Gribma) is classified as a Non-Bank (Creditos no Bancarios) by the consumer reporting agencies, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to get a bank credit card.

Knowing that I will be declined for a regular credit card, I decided to open a GUARANTEED CREDIT CARD. A guaranteed credit card is a card that is approved by a bank for you to use with a certain deposit you make to your account which will be held for security purposes. This card will function the same as a credit card and you will be responsible for paying the balance monthly.

Here are the two institutions I know so far that offer a guaranteed Credit Card.

1. Scotiabank. They do offer a credit card but they want your history to have completely nothing (this is according to their manager whom I spoke with when applying for the card). The manager also insisted that the CFE (electric bill) or SIAPA (water bill) should be under my name. I did not understand the logic for this requirement since I am a Residente Temporal but I felt that he only insisted this since his face changed when he found out I was a foreigner. Nevertheless, he said I could not get a Guaranteed Credit Card because I should not have any form of credit AT ALL in my history. So I thanked him for his explanation and moved to..

2. Banbajio. Stills somewhat upset with the treatment I received in Scotiabank, I decided to try Banbajio. This was a completely different experience from what I encountered in Scotiabank. The Account Executives and Manager were extremely polite, the branch was not packed with people either. They initially said they only accept RP (FM2) holders but I explained that I read their requirements online and that they accept FM3 or RT holders. She clarified with her manager and she began my application. I paid my deposit for a 5000 MN credit limit which is 6250 MN. This in return was held by Banbajio to grant me the credit limit I chose. 2 weeks later, my card was available for pick up at the branch. It took them two weeks because they had to conduct a background check of my entry into Mexico, Identity as a foreigner and what not. I did not mind them doing that since Banbajio always kept me posted to the status of my application and background check.

So as a foreigner, you can try Scotiabank and Banbajio.

3. Nubank Mexico. Almost 3 months into getting my Banbajio Credit Card. I received an email from kardmatch.com.mx advertising the Nu Card to me. I decided to give it a shot and lo and behold, I got approved for 5000 MN (same as my Banbajio), it's a gold credit card where the credit limit can increase after paying 2 account statements well. I got approved on April 28, 2021, and on May 04, 2021, less than a week later, I got my physical card!

While these limits aren't grand, I do not mind having limits like these since I do not plan to spend more than what I earn anyway. Remember, a credit is there to help you get cashback and rewards but spend only what you need and what you can pay in full every due date. This in return helps you build your reputation with your bank which can later on result to a higher credit limit which you can use in a desperate time of need. But if you only plan to spend a credit card to get wasted on the weekend, that's alright, for as long as you pay the balance in full every due date, then you're mostly safe.

I already have a regular score with Circulo de Credito six months in after I tried starting my credit, and I got an email from Destacame that I also have a regular Score with Buro de Credito. This is not bad considering I only started November last year. So I always pay my bills on time, never late, not even past due by 1 day. I always pay in full, all of my Credit Cards so I can get the trust of the banks that decided to put their faith on me.

I am waiting for my current bank, Bancomer, to offer me a credit card, once done, I will cancel Vexi and Banbajio, having more than 3 credit cards may affect your score because the chances of being indebted to banks are increased. I love Nubank because it has no annual fee and the interest is considerably lower than regular banks. So I'm keeping that and one from Bancomer, if they do ever decide to offer me on. Otherwise, I'll just keep Banbajio, Nu, and cancel Vexi since I do not need it that much anymore.

So there you go! I hope this forum topic inspires you to also start building your history if you have not begun yet.

If you have any questions, just comment or let me know! :)

Cheers!
Daniel V.

interesting Daniel V.

This could be helpful for anyone 60 and under. Many of our expats are retirees much older than that.
if you are older none of that applies. Many think that the credit history in their home country applies, it does not.

So I would advise retirees to avoid much of what you did as it would likely be wasted time. There are numerous places you can get credit if you are in the right age group.

I got an account with Telcel with no problem, I had to get a co signer to get a loan from Scotia to get a car, that was an horrible experience I would never repeat. Many of your other options provide a rich source of data to be mined. Google and AT&T are known data miners. I keep a limited number of cards and keep a low profile.

You are right! Many of the expats here are above 60. So I should have written that this is applicable to expats under 60.

With AT&T, that probably explains why I get soooo many marketing calls LOL!

With regards to Telcel, my friends told me that this specific branch I went to does have a knack for being quite unkind.

Hang on to that good sense of humor it always comes in handy

Thanks! Filipinos are known to laugh despite all the problems in life. Stay safe! 😁

I"ve worked with a number of people from the P.I. and know that to be true.  Great food in the P.I. Keep an open and educated mind and yes above all be safe rather than clueless. We have more than enough clueless right now  ;)

Thank you for your wonderful summary dvduya, very informative!  I'm thinking about Mexico as a retirement option for me as well.  Vancouver is just getting too expensive and my rent takes up 1/2 of my pension.  I'm wondering about the use of a PrePaid MasterCard in order to withdraw cash from the ATM's as I know most transactions are done in cash.  Mine is through the Bank of Montreal. 

It's good to know that your previous credit history from your home country is not part of the process in try to establish credit.  Credit cards can be a good thing but in my case they were a bad thing, hence the prepaid (where I deposit $ to it).   I will be making my decision within the next year whether I will stay in Vancouver or not.  Thank you kindly and be safe!

Welcome to ex-pat Mexico Albeethere,

The ATMs here have the standard ATM policies. so if they accept your card there they should accept the card here as long as there are funds. You should check with the card issuer because they are the ones who honor the transactions.

Thank you for your quick response.  I was also going to contact BMO (the provider).  I'll be going to El Salvador first for a visit (as this is also an option for me) so will try there as well.  Stay safe and keep pursuing your dreams!

@dviduya 

Hi Daniel!  New to the community.  I know this is an old thread but I found it invaluable for my future planning.  I am going to rent in San Miguel de Allende before building enough domestic credit to then get a mortgage - possibly for new construction.  I am 49 years old and credit very much impacts everything I want to do so your post is perfect.  Thanks!  David 
Hello DavidMucci,

Welcome to Expat.com 1f60a.svg

Should you have any questions, do not hesiate to create a new thread on the Mexico forum.

The members of this forum will be glad to help you.

Cheers,

Cheryl
Expat.com team
Hello 

Thank you so much 😊 

@dviduya Your novel is confusing. Credit cards??, debit cards??, issued with FMM3/2??  Not possible.  A Residente Temporal  (RT)/Permanente. (RP) is required. Telcel will not issue a plan unless you have a RT/RP.  If you have either, opened a bank account. Generally, banks, government entities only want to see the electric bill for your residence, even if it's addressed to the owner of the rental property. 

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