Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Like most people, I go to banks when I have to, wait in lines longer than I want to and generally don't have too much positive to say about the experience. Sort of a necessary thing but I just try to "get in, get out, nobody gets hurt" as Bonnie and Clyde might have said for more nefarious reasons.
However, I recently received a refund check from the IRS (tax entity in the US) in the form of a government check which left me perplexed! Nobody would take it, not to my fiscal account nor my investment fund dollar account at Actinver. They would neither cash it nor deposit it. I was left with few choices other than send it back to the IRS and ask them to wire money instead, an expensive and seemingly time-consuming process.
It left me thinking there must be lots of similar government checks sent to Ex-Pats from government accounts; for example, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and the like. So... I decided not to take the easy but expensive way out. I will find a bank that can work with these checks!
Fast-forward, after many disheartening stops at various Puerto Vallarta banks starting with ones I have accounts in. I waited in multiple lines, sat at multiple customer service desks, but I always left with the same result: Snake eyes!
The common reason is that the US Government won't pay the offshore banks. Hard to know if this is the case, but while pondering the topic we stopped at Intercam bank and were immediately attended to by a very helpful customer service pro, "Victor". We were at the Intercam near the marina area on the main street of the Hotel Zone (Blvd Francisco Medina Ascencio 2902, Villa Las Flores, 48335 Puerto Vallarta, Jal). HERE is a link to the Intercam website - and it's in English!
While I don't know exactly how this works, my layman's understanding is that Intercam has branches or affiliates in the US where they can deposit the check. The money was credited to my Mexico account in less than 24 hours! This is Huuuuuuge!
One does have to open an account with them to accomplish the deposit but it was not hard, only slightly time-consuming and the staff was both bi-lingual and helpful. A nuance of the account (as Intercam is like Actinver in that they are an interest-bearing investment brokerage as opposed to a traditional bank) is that it takes approximately 24 hours to take money out. I can live with that, as without them, I would have no money to take out at all.
So fear not! You can receive or bring your US Government checks here and at least one "bank" can accommodate you. You will rarely see this from me but, when I left Intercam, I was dancing a jig! My long trail of bank desks ended in success! I hope this helps you.
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