what is a deposito bancario in mexican parlance?
December 8, 2009 9:39 PM   Subscribe

CheapMexicoVactionFilter: I'm communicating via email (in spanish) with a seemingly very nice hostel in Oaxaca about booking a 3 night stay...they won't do an online credit card deposit, but want something called a "deposito bancario" (literal translation: bank deposit)? Anyone know what exactly this means in Mexican hostel parlance and is it sketchy?

as a note: the hostel does not seem sketchy and is recommended by lonelyplanet, just can't figure out what they're asking me to do (and therefore if i want to do that...)
posted by dahliachewswell to Travel & Transportation around Mexico (8 answers total)
It's basically a wire transfer (they want you to put money directly in their bank account). Not sketchy but I guess making a chargeback would be harder than when using a credit card.
posted by Memo at 10:12 PM on December 8, 2009

Wiring them money. Credit Card deposits aren't common in mom&pop places in Mexico.

You get the details from them, go to your bank (Wells Fargo and Bank of America have billboards all over the southwest talking about how easy it is to send money to Mexico, other banks or Western Union will do as well). You get a confirmation code that you'll give them to pick up the money and it is done. Do yourself a favor and bring the little receipt from your bank and a hardcopy of the email convo with them in case you get there and they don't know what the hell you're talking about.

If the place is well reviewed by Lonely Planet and the name doesn't come up in horror stories when you Google it, you should feel relatively secure sending them the money. Sure, if you cancel, you may have trouble getting the money back. But you'd have similar problems if you mailed them a check.

You could just show up if your leery of "enviar el dinero" to a place. That place might be full the night you arrive but you'll find a place somewhere in town (I'm assuming you're talking about Cd Oaxaca, not the whole state).
posted by birdherder at 10:17 PM on December 8, 2009

(It is worth nothing that transferring money from one account in one bank to another in Mexico is easy as pie. DepĆ³sitos (o transferencias) are very very common. More so than paying with credit card specially if you are not in the same city.

I was quite surprised to learn that in the US doing this same thing is more complicated than in Mexico)
posted by edmz at 10:39 PM on December 8, 2009

As others have alluded to above, it will be nigh on impossible to get your deposit back later should you decide to cancel unless the hostel is fully committed to getting you your refund somehow. None of the usual credit card protections apply here (though they generally don't legally apply in international transactions anyway, your CC company may still help you out). Depending on how much the deposit is and how large of an investment this is for you, this may or may not be a problem.

When you do go send the money, be sure to ask the bank about fees. Money transfer fees vary greatly, especially international transfers, and you don't want to get hit with some ridiculous fee if you don't confirm it in advance. The hostel should give you their routing/account details and you just give this information to the bank along with the amount you want to transfer. It should be a pretty fast and painless process.
posted by zachlipton at 10:48 PM on December 8, 2009

I stayed at a place in Tulum a couple of years ago who required the same thing. I was just as freaked out about it as you are but it did turn out to be fine. I did have to pay the remainder in cash, not on a cc, when I arrived so be prepared for that.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:42 AM on December 9, 2009

And I would add, once you get to Oaxaca, there are a number of ATM's which will debit your account in pesos.
posted by Danf at 7:54 AM on December 9, 2009

thanks guys!
posted by dahliachewswell at 8:46 AM on December 9, 2009

just a follow up: i went through with the deposito bancario and everything went fine. they did want the full cost of the 3 night stay up front through the bank transfer which i thought was asking a bit much, but it turned out fine. as young tourists staying in cheap hostels with no car or telephone of our own, it was a big hassle logistically to find a branch of the specific bank they wanted the deposit to go to, then find a place where we could fax them a copy of the receipt so they would have the number. i think it was just this hostel being picky, though, as we could have easily just told them the number via phone or email. in the end, it was worth it to have a place to stay lined up in advance during christmas.
posted by dahliachewswell at 2:38 PM on February 19, 2010

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