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Directo a México® and Beneficiary Account Registration Frequently Asked Questions

Federal Reserve Financial Services is committed to providing the answers and information you need. Answers to many of our customers most frequently asked questions can be found using the links below.

If your question is not answered by the information provided on the site, Contact provides a comprehensive list of service and support contacts who can assist you.

Directo a México Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

  1. What is the relationship between Directo a México and the Federal Reserve Banks' FedGlobal Mexico Service?

    The Directo a México marketing program was introduced in Fall 2005 to help U.S. financial institutions create awareness for and facilitate use of the Automated Clearing House (ACH) channel to remit funds to Mexico. Specifically, its goal is to encourage use of the Federal Reserve Banks' FedGlobal Mexico Service. The Directo a México marketing materials are provided to all U.S. financial institutions that subscribe to the FedGlobal Mexico Service.

  2. How does Directo a México benefit U.S. financial institutions and their customers?

    Directo a México helps U.S. financial institutions capture a larger part of the rapidly growing U.S. to Mexico remittance market. The program also supports customers by providing a secure, fast, low-cost and convenient money transfer product for financial institutions to offer to their customers. The service that supports Directo a México, FedGlobal Mexico Service, is priced so that U.S. financial institutions can offer it at extremely competitive rates. The service is offered to financial institutions for a low per-item surcharge.

    The wholesale foreign exchange rate applied to every payment – regardless of amount – means that the receiver gets more pesos for every dollar sent. Additionally, the funds are available in the receiving account in Mexico on the next banking day.

  3. What are the components of Directo a México?

    Promotional Tool Kit – Customizable, Spanish-language electronic templates for a brochure, poster, lobby/tent card, statement insert, foreign exchange information sheet and text for a 30-second radio spot.

    Customer Guide – Information and ideas regarding remittance to Mexico along with help determining local market potential.

  4. What topics are covered in the Directo a México Customer Guide?

    The Directo a México Customer Guide provides the following:

    • Information on the U.S. to Mexico remittance market
    • Tools and Web addresses to help financial institutions determine their local market potential
    • Information on providing banking services to the Mexican community in the U.S.
    • Detailed tips for easily and economically marketing Directo a México

  5. What is the FedGlobal Mexico Service?

    The FedGlobal Mexico Service is offered as part of the Federal Reserve Banks' suite of FedACH® services. Depository financial institutions in the U.S. originate cross-border transactions via FedACH in U.S. dollars. Payments are transferred from FedACH to the Banco de México, the Mexican gateway operator, where they are distributed via the local payments system. Payments are posted to the receiver's account in pesos on the next banking day – with every payment receiving a wholesale foreign exchange rate regardless of amount.

  6. What is ACH?

    ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. The ACH network is a highly reliable and efficient nationwide batch-oriented electronic funds transfer system governed by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) ACH Operating Rules and Guidelines, which provide for the interbank clearing of electronic payments for participating depository financial institutions. The Federal Reserve Banks are the nation's largest ACH operator and provide central clearing facilities through which financial institutions transmit or receive ACH entries. ACH payments include:

    • Direct deposit of payroll, Social Security and other government benefits, and tax refunds
    • Direct payment of consumer bills such as mortgages, loans, utility bills and insurance premiums
    • Business-to-business payments
    • E-checks
    • E-commerce payments
    • Federal, state and local tax payments
    • Cross-border payments (both commercial and person-to-person remittances)

  7. Why is using the ACH network a good way to send money to Mexico?

    ACH is an extremely, low-cost payments channel and is already in place in almost every financial institution in the U.S. Thus, there are no set-up costs for most financial institutions that choose to offer the program. ACH also uses standardized formats, which make it possible for the payments to be channeled to Mexico in an automated fashion and delivered electronically to bank accounts there. The efficiencies of ACH make it possible to offer this service to financial institutions at a low, per-item surcharge.

  8. What is a remittance?

    Money transfers, or remittances, are person-to-person payments generally to family members living in an individual's country of origin. Remittances are a large and growing global phenomenon. However, several important characteristics of the U.S. to Mexico remittance market make it an attractive business consideration for financial institutions. The amount of funds transferred into Mexico is the second largest in the world – only India receives more remittance funds. It is notable that almost all remittances to Mexico originate in one country – the U.S. – and are growing at a very fast annual rate.

  9. How can I learn more about Directo a México and the Federal Reserve Banks' FedGlobal Mexico Service?

    To learn more about Directo a México and the Federal Reserve Banks' FedGlobal Mexico Service Offerings, or contact your FedACH Sales Specialists.

Beneficiary Account Registration (BAR) Website FAQs - Financial Institution

  1. What does the BAR website do?

    The website is an innovative new tool to provide access to formal financial services and low-cost delivery of transfers from the United States. It allows a U.S. financial institution to pre-open an account for a third-party transfer receiver in Mexico at any Bansefi branch throughout Mexico. Of course, the receiver must go to the branch with identification to formalize the account but he or she now has a great incentive to get an account – the funds transferred through Directo a México (FedGlobal Mexico Service) will be waiting at the branch and the highly competitive foreign exchange rate used means the beneficiary gets more pesos for every U.S. dollar sent. FAQs for Consumers are also available in English & Spanish

  2. Who can use the BAR website?

    It's open to all U.S. depository financial institutions (USDFIs) that are enrolled in Directo a México. The financial institution needs to sign a data confidentiality agreement with Bansefi and can then receive as many log-on IDs and passwords as needed.

  3. How exactly does the BAR website work?

    The financial institution representative enters the BAR website with ID and password. A series of drop-down menus guide the representative to enter the information for the third-party beneficiary who will be formalizing the bank account in Mexico. Once the information is entered, the website will generate a CLABE number (the Mexican bank account number). The USDFI will then be able to tell their customer – and give them the Wallet Card containing all the information – everything that needs to be shared with the Mexican beneficiary. Using the Wallet Card, your customer can call the receiver in Mexico and share the new CLABE number, the location of the Mexican bank branch where the bank account should be formalized – which is where the money will be waiting.

  4. How long does the third-party beneficiary in Mexico have to formalize the account?

    The beneficiary in Mexico has up to 10 Mexican banking days to formalize the account, that is, to go to the Bansefi branch with an official identification to open the account. If the beneficiary does not formalize the account within this time frame, the account will be closed and the funds will be returned to the originating U.S. financial institution and its customer.

  5. Which Mexican financial institutions are available to pre-open accounts?

    Currently, the website can pre-open an account at any of the more than 500 Bansefi branches. Bansefi is also developing an interface that will allow credit unions which are members of L@Red de la Gente to be accessed on the website. Each of the more than 100 credit unions will individually decide whether they want to participate on the website.

  6. What are the features of the new account in Mexico?

    The "Cuenta con Tu Gente" (Account with Your People) is an entry level savings account. There are no fees to open the account or to access funds at the branch. The minimum initial deposit is 50 pesos (approximately U.S. $5) and the minimum balance is 50 pesos. We suggest that you send an amount that the beneficiary can withdraw while maintaining the minimum balance.

  7. Once the account is pre-opened on the BAR website, when is it safe to send the first Directo a México transfer?

    It is recommended that the USDFI send a payment to the new account on the same day, in order to encourage the third-party beneficiary to go to the branch and formalize the account. We encourage the customer to send at least U.S. $50 so that the beneficiary can keep at least 50 pesos in the account and be able to withdraw enough more for their own use. Of course, if the beneficiary does not formalize the account within 10 Mexican banking days, the funds will be transferred back to the USDFI for posting to the originating customer's account.

  8. What identification should the beneficiary bring to formalize the account in Mexico?

    The beneficiary should bring two types of identification to establish identity and confirmation of address. These include an official ID such as Passport, Matrícula Consular (Consular Identification Card), or Credencial de Elector (Voter Card). Address confirmation can be from a utility or rental bill.

  9. How does a USDFI know if and when the bank account has been formalized?

    The BAR website has an option to view "Status of Accounts". This link will allow you to enter the generated CLABE number to view if the account has been formalized or not. If the account has already been formalized, then you know that it is ready to receive additional Directo a México transfers whenever your customer requests.

  10. Are deposits in Bansefi accounts insured?

    Yes, funds deposited at Bansefi are protected by the Mexican government. Funds within L@Red e la Gente are insured by the Fondo de Protección (similar to deposit insurance in the U.S.), which protects the savings up to 10,000 UDIs depending on the level of operation of the credit union. The value of an UDI (Unidad de Inversión) changes over time with inflation, as of this date, is was 3.83 UDIs per peso. Of course, the Fondo de Protección is considered a last resort because the enhancements to Mexico's prudential regulation made over the past decade are designed to identify deficiencies before larger problems can develop.

  11. What is the charge for using the BAR website?

    Bansefi does not charge the USDFI or the new account holders for using the BAR website.

  12. How do I learn more or enroll my financial institution to use the BAR website?

    Contact Bansefi for further information or to get the agreement to use the website at: barwebsite@bansefi.gob.mx

Beneficiary Account Registration (BAR) Customer FAQs - Customer

  1. What is Bansefi?

    Bansefi is the National Savings & Financial Services Bank (Bansefi, in Spanish). The former national savings institute (Patronato del Ahorro Nacional, or PAHNAL) was transformed into Bansefi in April 2001 to continue promoting savings in the popular sector. It has over 500 branches throughout Mexico and is dedicated to offering financial services to low income individuals that don't have access to a commercial bank. In particular, it seeks to promote bank usage by migrants and their families so they can have access to other financial services and the accompanying benefits. In addition, bank usage puts lower cost transfer opportunities like Directo a México within reach.

  2. How do I pre-open a Bansefi bank account for a family member or other beneficiary in Mexico from the United States?

    There are two steps to pre-open an account. First, ask your bank or credit union in the U.S. about Directo a México and the Beneficiary Account Registration (BAR) service–then ask to pre-open an account at Bansefi. Second, provide information about the beneficiary (either a family member or another individual in Mexico) to the bank or credit union representative and communicate to the beneficiary about formalizing the account. The account can be opened at any of the more than 500 Bansefi branches in Mexico.

  3. What does the beneficiary in Mexico need to do to formalize the account?

    The beneficiary should go to the Bansefi branch in Mexico where the account was pre-opened to formalize it so they can withdraw their money.

  4. What does formalizing the account mean?

    The account is pre-opened in the U.S.; nevertheless, it is not active until the account owner signs the contract, shows an official ID and proof of address, and only then can the funds be withdrawn. The money is deposited in the account but it is blocked until the account is formalized. When the account is pre-opened in the U.S., you will be given a wallet card that has the CLABE number (the Mexican bank account number) and the information about the branch where the account is located, so that you can communicate this information to the beneficiary. It's important to note that the beneficiary only has 10 Mexican banking days to formalize the account; otherwise the money will be sent back to the person who transferred the funds.

  5. What are the main features and benefits of the Bansefi account?

    The account is called "Cuenta con Tu Gente" (Account with your People). Not only can it help establish a credit history but it also has several benefits:

    • Opening balance: 50 pesos (approximately U.S. $5).
    • Minimum balance requirement is 50 pesos.
    • Pays competitive interest rates.
    • Access to loans for housing.
    • No fees or commissions to withdraw funds or maintain an active account.
    • Directo a México transfers will be received in the account and the funds are available until the beneficiary wants to withdraw them.

  6. When can I make transfers to the new account?

    You can make a transfer at the same time you pre-open the account. It is recommended that you send a payment to the new account on the same day so the beneficiary can formalize the account on the next day. The money will be waiting in the account for the beneficiary, and once formalized, you can send as many transfers as you like to the new CLABE.

  7. How much money can I send to the new account?

    Any limits are set by the bank or credit union which originated the transfer. "Cuenta con Tu Gente" requires a minimum balance of 50 pesos, therefore we suggest that you send an amount that the beneficiary can withdraw while maintaining the minimum balance.

  8. What happens if the beneficiary does not formalize the account?

    The beneficiary has up to 10 Mexican banking days to formalize the account or the money will be returned and deposited to the account of the person in the U.S. who originated the transfer.

  9. Is there a fee to open the account?

    Bansefi does not charge commissions to open the account or to receive transfers.

  10. Can I pre-open an account from my home or wherever there is Internet?

    No, only banks or credit unions authorized by Bansefi and that participate in Directo a México can pre-open an account.

  11. Can I pre-open an account for myself?

    No, you cannot pre-open a bank account in Mexico for yourself on the website because you are not in Mexico to formalize it. However, the next time you go to Mexico to visit your family, you can open a account and get your CLABE number. Once back in the U.S., you can send as many transfers to that account that you want using Directo a México.

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