MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s central bank issued new regulations Monday putting strict limits on fees and commissions charged by banks.
The Banco de Mexico, known as Banxico, published in the official gazette a decree that will enter into force on Tuesday and which prohibits banks from charging their account holders fees of any kind on deposits and loan payments made at a branch or at an automatic teller machine owned by the bank.
Banxico, the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and Mexico’s Condusef consumer protection panel have said on numerous occasions that the fees and interest rates charged by Mexican banks are too high and out of line with standard practice in other countries.
Some Mexican banks even charge a fee to clients who make mistakes when entering their PIN codes at ATMs.
Banxico established that when account holders are overdrawn, banks may only charge them the lesser of the sum of the overdraft or a set fee subject to approval by the central bank.
Similar regulations will apply to fees that the banks may collect for not paying a loan on time or for not maintaining the required minimum account balance.
In addition, the authorities prohibited the banks from collecting fees for late loan repayments when they are already charging the debtor interest on the arrears.
Along the same lines, the commissions charged for not using one’s credit card during the course of a year when an annual fee is being charged on the card will disappear.
Another now-banned practice will be for banks to collect fees from people who pay off a mortgage to cover the procedures the banks must follow with the Public Property Registrar.
Mexican banks will now have to show on their ATM screens a clear listing of the total cost of the operation a person has indicated they want to perform so that customers have the chance to cancel the transaction if they want without incurring those charges.
The decree also obligates banks to offer as part of their basic accounts a set of free services including opening and maintaining an account, acquiring a debit card, making deposits and withdrawing cash from the teller’s window, among others. EFE