A young couple from Mendocino of my acquaintance, Zack & Mary by name, decided to bring their money for wintering in Mexico in the form of Visa Travelers' Checques for the sake of security. Their plan was to use Mary's money until it was gone; then use Zack's to get home. The checques were carefully hidden away, then forgotten. On or about December 2, 1997, while they were on a snorkel trip to Tenacatita, someone entered their bungalow and removed $600 from the center of one of the books of checques. Zack did not notice that they were missing until December 12. Of course, he reported it immediately. One expects a fairly prompt refund, right? WRONG! First there was the signature comparison. Close enough, they said. Well, where were they cashed? A hotel in Puerto Vallarta - on a day they were taking scuba certification classes from me in La Barra! What bank cashed them for the hotel? We can't give that information. Can we speak to your supervisor? No, that is against policy. Finally, after two months of hassling them, they are told that the theft was not reported immediately. Define immediately. Within four hours of the theft!
Well, I for one will forego the use of ANY VISA service henceforth. And at the very least, I recommend that you not use their Traveler's Checks. A new Banamex has opened in Melaque, a quick five kilometers from Barra de Navidad, a one peso bus ride. The ATM machines are supposed to be functioning by the end of the week. Especially in consideration of the much superior exchange rate, I recommend ATM machines over any other method of bringing your money to Mexico. But protect yourself. Save all your receipts, just in case you get "double-dipped"!
John M. Williams
PADI Scuba Instructor