ATM’s and How to Use Them
This question arises again and again about how to get cash in Puerto Vallarta, and we do periodic updates to keep people in the know. The best way to get cash is through an ATM. The peso will fluctuate throughout the day with global markets and you get the best daily rate from an ATM.
Questionable ATM’s are everywhere, including in Puerto Vallarta, so it’s wise to know what to look for before you stick your card in the slot. Bogus machines are referred to as skimmers; they are incredibly illegal and will be present at a machine for a short period of time, like half an hour or so. They’re usually installed and removed by people who look somewhat official (uniforms of a sort) and always more than one, so they can shield what they’re doing. These machines will not be found in outlying ATM’s in places like the OXXO store in a non-central colonia (neighborhood). They are placed in high volume areas in the busiest places in Puerto Vallarta where they can get the most bang for their buck, so to speak.
A skimmer is a card reader that attaches to bona fide terminals to harvest data from every card that enters the portal. Criminals can then steal your money right out of your bank account or use your information to make purchases. Unfortunately, these skimmers don’t prevent you from getting money out of your account from an ATM, which would therefore alert you to some kind of problem.
Luckily, they are easy to spot if you know what to look for. Crooks use 3-D printers to model parts that fit over the actual ATM entry. They’re seldom the same color or texture of metal and plastic surrounding them. They also might protrude the true threshold. Chances are your card will be slightly difficult to push into the slot, which is a big warning sign. There could be an inconspicuous camera aimed at the keypad, as well, which will pick up your PIN. To avoid your PIN being discovered, always turn your back to any camera. If you see anything that looks untoward, move onto another ATM.
The best way to avoid ATM issues in Puerto Vallarta is to have an EMV card. The acronym stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa but most banks and corporations are switching to them. The other name of these cards is chip-enabled or chip. Unlike the magnetic strip, which all your information is coded on, a chip card uses a different method, in which a distinctive transaction ID is created with each use. This information is useless to hackers.
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Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!
The founder of the company, Vanessa Cole, lived in Puerto Vallarta for 10 years and in Cancun for 2 years. She has worked in Luxury Vacation Villa Rentals since 2001.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Vanessa earned a degree from the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in International Business and Latin American Studies. Fluent in Spanish, she has worked and traveled all over Mexico and South America.
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