Chase: Free Money Transfers From NYC To Mexico

Chase has announced it will allow checking account holders in the New York City area wire money to Mexico for free, in an attempt to win more business with NYC’s fast-growing Mexican population. From their press release:

“At Chase we are committed to serving the Hispanic community by providing products and services tailored to their specific needs,” said Rebeca Vargas, head of multicultural marketing at Chase. “When customers told us that they wanted an affordable, safe and convenient way to send their hard-earned money back to loved ones in Mexico, we created Rapid Cash. Now, we are bringing it to customers in New York.”

Chase will offer 3 free transfer per month, for up to $1,500 each. The money can be picked up at any Banorte bank, for no fee.

Mexicans in the US can use Mexican matricula consular cards as a form of identification to open accounts at Chase. Good! Get a checking account! Stay away from pre-paid debit cards with tons of fees and other forms of “unbanked” evilness. —MEGHANN MARCO

Chase Unveils Rapid Cash, a Free Way to Transfer Money to Mexico (Press Release) [Business Wire]
(Photo: Meghann Marco)

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  1. raybury says:

    While I think that illegal immigration is bad for everyone, including those left in Mexico living under an apartheid-lite system, I do think it is better for folks to deal with the banking system than with ad hoc networks of check cashers looking to victimize them.

    But, when I saw Bank of America doing the free-money-to-Mexico thing here in Northern Virginia within the last 2 years, it did strike me as somewhat unfair that I couldn’t wire money free to my brother who lives south of the border, but east of the Gulf.

  2. chortik says:

    Sounds to me like a bit to attract illegal immigrant business, but then again, I’m insensitive… Didn’t another bank (BA?) consider allowing people to open accounts sans an SSN recently?

    For that matter, Mexico gets a good amount of money in remittances from nationals abroad.

  3. llanim says:

    Let me get this straight: banks are waiving fees to attract low-deposit customers so they can use even those small deposits to make money. What a crazy concept! What’s next? No minimum balances or no-fee off-network ATM transactions? Maybe the vast majority of us who do not use private banking services and live paycheck to paycheck are NOT worthless customers. Imagine that.

  4. Gari N. Corp says:

    Maybe the greedy sods could cut the cost of wiring money everywhere else as well. One of the biggest rip-offs in a rip-off-ridden industry.

  5. chargernj says:

    I really don’t see a problem here, in fact it’s probably a good thing. The world is getting smaller whether we like it or not. Businesses are supposed to cater to their customers needs. I never really understood why they need my SSN anyway, sure it might help them keep track of things, but it also helps them and the government to keep track of us.

  6. ancientsociety says:

    Hurray! More handouts for illegal immigrants! Let’s reward them for stealing someone’s identity to open a checking account and funnelling all their money back to Mexico!

  7. chimmike says:

    sorry, but all this catering to citizens who are not on this ground legally pisses me off.

    How about catering to those who are citizens, regardless of natural born or those who went through the long process and EARNED the right to be here?

    Friggin a. This almost pisses me off more than BofA giving credit cards to illegals.

  8. Crazytree says:

    @llanim: you forget the danger of the evil Mexican menace!

    :rolleyes:

  9. VG10 says:

    great, why not put spanish speaking people in their banks, and have all the forms in spanish to make it even EASIER for them to send their ILLEGAL money out of the country while they take free education, free medical care from all of us LEGAL tax payers.

    this is just WRONG. people here ILLEGALLY are breaking the law. it’s not different than someone shoplifting, its against the law. they should be deported. i am disgusted at the companies and our government trying to make it ok for people to be doing this.

  10. bastarre says:

    I agree with the above. How about lowering the money transfer fees for their legal customers. I’m tired of getting the short end of the stick because I’m a legal, single white aetheist male in my own country (which I’ve served for almost 16 years in the military). Next thing you know I’ll have to decide if I want to withdraw my meony with spanish or english instructions…oh wait. (caveat: I have NO problem with LEGAL immigrants…just the illegals)

  11. Major-General says:

    Ironically, a matricula consular card is not legal ID in Mexico, where the banks will refuse to do business with you if you try to use one.

  12. B says:

    I see the invisible hand of the market is solving another problem for us. Good for them.

  13. Elvisisdead says:

    Wells Fargo has representatives INSIDE the Mexican Consulate in Houston. They issue anyone who walks in a matricula consular card with no proof of identity and then Wells Fargo opens them an account. Chase is just competing with what WF is already doing.

    Essentially, this allows people who earn untaxed income to wire it out of the country for free. People who are citizens that do this are called criminals and are prosecuted by the IRS for tax evasion.

    There is absolutely no way to track a matricula consular card back to an individual with even a small degree of certainty. This practice allows people to conduct criminal activity with no chance of being caught.

    They need to call this practice “aiding and abetting” instead of a “service”. It passes all three rules:
    1) an underlying violation by a principal – sending untaxed money out of the country and thereby preventing it from being taxed.
    2) knowledge of that violation and/or the intent to facilitate the violation – accepting a matricula consular card acknowledges that the individual is not a legal immigrant to the US and thereby did not pay taxes on the amount transferred.
    3) assistance to the principal in the violation – Chase wires the money to Mexico.

    There’s plenty of what-if scenarios, etc. but the simple fact of the matter is that all banking transactions should be accompanied by a state-issued proof of identity. That includes check cashing and payday loans.

  14. Islingtonian says:

    oh no! god forbid we let society’s serfs try and support their families back home! good lord, no matter your politics, illegal immigrants are people too.

    hopefully this policy will be extended to other countries, because the fees on wiring money are ridiculous anyway.

  15. Elvisisdead says:

    No one is disputing the humanity of illegal immigrants. I personally believe that it is desirable for all people to abide by the same set of common rules that we here in the US call laws. They’re not.

    I know that my extended relatives in Hungary and Ukraine sure could use the extra 32% of my family’s income that I pay in taxes every year. Maybe I should just wire it to them for free and not pay taxes? The next time my wife gets pregnant, I’ll advise her not to get prenatal care and then just go to the emergency room to deliver. Why not? It’s free to me, right? Why should people have to pay for anything when their family in another country needs support? It’s just a bloody travesty.

  16. JustAGuy2 says:

    Most of those dollars are taxed. For illegals working on a “borrowed” social security number, the taxes being paid are usually _higher_ than they should actually be, since those illegals don’t file for tax refunds to which they’d be entitled, etc.

  17. ancientsociety says:

    @JustAGuy2: What? Can you break that down for me? So either:

    A)An illegal immigrant steals (love the doublespeak – “borrow”) someone’s SSN, which is illegal. or
    B)Are working without an SSN, which means that neither the employer nor the worker are paying taxes.

  18. TechnoDestructo says:

    I’m sure Bill O’Reilly will be listing off the obvious negatives to this plan tonight. But one positive is that, as big a bunch of scumbags as Chase is, the people illegals are already dealing with for these kinds of transactions are probably worse.

  19. r81984 says:

    Sounds like an illegal immigrant service, not a hispanic american service.

  20. Shouldn’t it be free in the first place?

    *Cough* NAFTA

  21. FLConsumer says:

    Cue the Mariachi music…

  22. vcr99 says:

    I think the subject is a back to basic: how is the mexican worker being paid without having a SSN, or paying taxes? Most of the time they are in the last pages of the accounting books, not recieving a fair salary. Ford, GE, KFC are happy that things are this way and wouldn’t have it other way.
    A) Not having to give Health Care or any kind of job perk are the reasons why having illegal workers can mean having a good profit margin. Don’t want them anymore? Need to reduce the work force? You can fire them any time without having to pay them a penny. Or if you are in the mood, you can always call The Migra on everyone. No one should have these working conditions, yet they exist because mexicans workers don’t have many perks in Mexico in the first place.
    B) I’m sure that banks have found a way to shower them with services that will increase their profit, so maybe it’s not such a good thing after all. Part of why mexicans can send this money home is because they are willing to share bedrooms or even beds to spend as little as possible. Getting an account is gonna change their habits.

  23. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    Take a pill people….

    This article is about Chase offering a really nice service to ALL of its customers, and saving them a few bucks on their money transfer needs. Why so many here see this business choice as a referendum on illegal immigration is beyond me, as the service could conceivably be used by (wait for it) LEGAL IMMIGRANTS.

    Besides, those naughty “illegals” are already here, already have jobs, already pay taxes (or don’t), and already send money home.

    Chase is not taking yer jobs. They’re just trying to drum up some business.

  24. ancientsociety says:

    @GreatCaesarsGhost: “Besides, those naughty “illegals” are already here, already have jobs, already pay taxes (or don’t), and already send money home.

    Chase is not taking yer jobs. They’re just trying to drum up some business.”

    I love logic like this – well, they’re already here (and have already commited at least one crime to get here) so why don’t we just turn a blind eye?

    Using that logic, a rapist has already commited a rape and, even if imprisoned, will probably just commit another, so why bother arresting them? Or a robber has already robbed and, even if imprisoned, will probably just commit another robbery, so why bother stopping them?

    And, “Chase just trying to drum up business”? Ummm, this is Consumerist, you know – where we try to get companies to be ETHICAL about their business practices? If they’re going to drum up money from (supposedly) legal immigrants, why not just make ALL wire xfers free?

  25. vcr99 says:

    The niche market is too big to disregard, and we still don’t know what kind of account or under what kind of conditions are the free tranfers made. They are creating a new market.

    I really can’t imagine an ilegal farmer sending 4,500 a month to Mexico. They are going to add up some people and send the closest to 1,500 for each transfer and let the recieving families split the money.

    So I really think this is more about the banks getting into the money transfer bizz and taking a chunk out of MoneyGram and Western Union’s exclusive clients.

    It’s cheap for them to pay for the cost of those three monthly transfers because they are adding up a client that didn’t exist for the banks. An american customer already has an account and changing banks is just switching money from one place to another. With this promotion they are getting customers that didn’t exists ever in the system. Like pouring new fish in the pond.

  26. acambras says:

    I’m not sure what Chase is doing to publicize this new move to the immigrant community (who, legal or illegal, are really the people who use wire transfer services). I went to their website and looked through it (in English and in Spanish). They didn’t really have anything about wire transfer services at all. The Spanish part of the website had pretty much the same thing the English one does — checking accounts, mortgages, car and personal loans, investments, etc.

  27. elforesto says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but aren’t banks required by federal law to get a valid SSN/TIN for every account opened AND verify its validity? Wouldn’t that automatically make illegal immigrants ineligible for opening an account? If a bank is ignoring any of these requirements or failing to do due diligence, they could end up getting their banking charter revoked. That hardly seems worth it.

  28. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ancientsociety:

    A)An illegal immigrant steals (love the doublespeak – “borrow”) someone’s SSN, which is illegal.

    Most of these soc sec numbers are just floating around the community – there are a number of Jose Rodriguezes who, according to the Feds, are working at 24 jobs in three states simultaneously, based on their pay records. BUT, social security and income taxes are being paid by someone who (a) will never benefit from soc sec, and (b) will not claim a refund if he’s overwithheld, which he probably is. No tax evasion here.

    B)Are working without an SSN, which means that neither the employer nor the worker are paying taxes.

    Off the books is off the books, whether it’s done by an non-citizen (legal or illegal) or a US citizen – both evade taxes.

  29. RonJeremy4Pres says:

    Get ‘em Lou!

  30. jeffislouie says:

    I don’t want to sound insensitive here, but it’s time to voice my opinion to chase.
    They are not only enabling illegals to move american dollars out of our economy and into mexicans, they are encouraging it.
    Let me get this straight – we acknowledge we have an illegal immigrant problem, our politicians act apologetic to people who happily violate our laws, and now our banks are more than happy to export the money earned illegally out of our economy and into Mexico’s.
    Awesome.
    Time to cancel my Chase accounts and find a bank that doesn’t support the illegal invasion.

  31. jeffislouie says:

    @JustAGuy2:
    “Most of these soc sec numbers are just floating around the community – there are a number of Jose Rodriguezes who, according to the Feds, are working at 24 jobs in three states simultaneously, based on their pay records. BUT, social security and income taxes are being paid by someone who (a) will never benefit from soc sec, and (b) will not claim a refund if he’s overwithheld, which he probably is. No tax evasion here. “

    That’s just not accurate. people with stolen ssn’s claim to have many, many dependants (that they don’t have) so the government takes the least amount of money possible. Sure, they pay SOME taxes, but nowhere close to what they should. But hey, doesn’t the government allocate this extra money to the rest of us? Nope. Since the numbers are either totally fraudulent or belong to someone else, it sits frozen. That’s right. You and I get no benefit from it at all.
    People who work legally pay ss and that amount applies to THEIR number only. The money sits in limbo.
    The problem is deeper than that.
    When money is earned in this country, most of it is also spent in this country. Not so with illegals, who regularly send huge chunks back home.
    So as a result the US economy, through illegal immigrants (who are being fleeced by greedy business owners looking to make a few extra bucks) props up the Mexican economy. This is why Mexico opposes immigration law enforcement. We aren’t talking in the millions here, by the way, we are talking about BILLIONS of American dollars supporting the Mexican economy – the same government that ignores it’s poorer populations and has strict immigration law enforcement.
    Just try to sneak over the border into Mexico. If you get caught without a passport and they find out you are American, they jail you for a short period of time and immediately deport you.
    They don’t care if you have kids born in Mexico. They don’t care if you came looking for work.
    They don’t care.
    I, for one, am tired of this issue.
    It is time to enforce the laws in place.
    The only new laws needed penalize companies that rape mexican nationals and companies that enable illegals to wire money.

  32. jeffislouie says:

    @JustAGuy2:
    “For illegals working on a “borrowed” social security number, the taxes being paid are usually _higher_ than they should actually be, since those illegals don’t file for tax refunds to which they’d be entitled, etc.”

    Sorry, but I take issue with your logic.
    If they shouldn’t be here in the first place, how can you talk about how they deserve refunds?
    Please.
    They don’t pay MORE taxes than they should, they pay less.
    And they use the resources that our tax money pays for. This creates a public deficit. I read a study that put the cost at $80,000 per illegal over their lifetime.
    $80,000 X 12,000,000 illegals works out to $960,000,000,000 in direct costs to the taxpayer.
    Now my math might be off (it probably is), but that seems like a pretty big debt to society.
    The average american citizen pays a little more than they use, leaving a surplus.
    Illegal workers do not deserve a tax refund to begin with, so the logic here is fuzzy on its face.
    This isn’t about Chase making it easier for all americans. It is about chase making it easier (and cheaper) for people who are not legal to send illegally earned funds back to Mexico, where the money doesn’t belong to begin with.
    In the restaurant business, there is a concept amongst illegals that is widespread. They have a term for it and everything.
    the idea is that they come here illegally and send as much money back to mexico as possible so that they can return to Mexico and retire early.
    They have no intention of becoming American citizens. They want to obtain money, then move home.
    There is no benefit to us, only to them.

  33. vcr99 says:

    Agree to

  34. vcr99 says:

    I think that if you factor the production of 12,000,000 illegals doing idle jobs in the american economy with a low pay and no social benefits, the profit is pretty big for American companies and there is no real impact for the taxpayers. Except when they try to build a giant wall in the border.

    This is going to get bigger. Ethanol is getting to be a new fuel resource, and Chase, BA, and Wells Fargo know that Bush is gonna get soft with migration laws so he can get a good price in mexican corn. So more private services tending for mexicans are surely going to add up in the coming years.

  35. shdwsclan says:

    What next….the tellers are illegal imigrants that cant speak english ?

  36. JustAGuy2 says:

    @jeffislouie:

    “People who work legally pay ss and that amount applies to THEIR number only. The money sits in limbo.”

    If you really think this is true, you’re going to have a very rude awakening in a few years. Social Security is a pay as you go system – your contributions are being paid as benefits to current recipients, not saved somewhere for you. Your benefits will be paid from the taxes paid by people while you’re in retirement.

    By the way, for those dollars that are being exported out of the country, what exactly do you think they get spent on? Eventually, they make their way back to the US to be spent on US goods.

  37. JustAGuy2 says:

    @jeffislouie:

    Wow, I don’t know where to start.

    1. There’s a real debate in the legitimate academic literature about the net impact of illegal immigration on public finances, but most reputable economists seem to think it’s minimal. I’d love to see the source of your study.

    2. “They want to obtain money, then move home.
    There is no benefit to us, only to them.”

    Um, sure there’s a benefit. First off, the benefit is that we get our yards landscaped, crops picked, tables bused, etc., for less than it would otherwise cost us, leading to lower food prices, lower restaurant bills, etc. Secondly, given that many illegal immigrants pay _some_ social security taxes, but will never get a social security payment, they’re helping to subsidize our retirement system, so we don’t _want_ them to stay.

  38. mconfoy says:

    Xenophobia at its best. Smart Chase, imagine, being capitalists.

  39. synergy says:

    More Mexicans in NYC, eh? Well, I hope that means there will be more Mexicans playing Mexicans on t.v. shows instead of Puerto Ricans or Dominicans playing Mexicans.

  40. jeffislouie says:

    @JustAGuy2:
    Personally, I’m willing to pay more if it means complying with the laws in this country.
    I know, it’s really not cool anymore to care about silly things like order and the rule of law, but it seems to me that 75% of the workers in the ‘jobs that american’s wont take’ are taken by americans.
    The argument is a sham conceived by politicians hoping to gain votes and business owners looking to get rich while hurting the american economy.
    And the argument that american money funneled into the mexican economy somehow miraculously comes back to america is absurd. That money isn’t spent on ipods, fords, and coca cola – it’s spent in mexico on mexican products.
    That’s why they send it back in the first place.
    But none of this explains why we should forgive criminals of their law breaking.
    I’m sorry that the immigration laws are difficult. They need to be.
    What’s next, amnesty for rapists? Murderers?
    Please. Explain to me why we would change our immigration system when we make little effort to utilize the one we have now? I know this is a hard pill to swallow, but the new amnesty bill will require MORE enforcement, MORE paperwork, MORE processing, and MORE administration.
    We can’t enforce or administer the current system – what makes you think we CAN enforce z-visas and guest worker programs?
    Sorry, but as the son of a legal immigrant who is vehemently against illegal immigration, I can’t stomach the idea of rewarding people who have no respect for our immigration laws.
    We are a nation of laws and those laws are what make this country great. people who violate immigration laws do so knowing they will not be caught, and if they are they will be released and ask to come back to be deported.
    They are also smart enough to know that they don’t really have to come back because we wont go after them.
    Not buying it.
    I wouldn’t consider amnesty for mass murders or serial rapists, why should I condider giving amnesty for someone who comes to this country illegally?
    One solution is to heavily penalize any company that hires illegal immigrants. This will make it too expensive to do and the illegal job market will dry up.
    By the way, why is it that those who are pro-illegal amnesty are willing to ignore the fact that these people are being victimized by their employers?

  41. locoricky says:

    “In the restaurant business, there is a concept amongst illegals that is widespread. They have a term for it and everything.
    the idea is that they come here illegally and send as much money back to mexico as possible so that they can return to Mexico and retire early.
    They have no intention of becoming American citizens. They want to obtain money, then move home.”

    We are going no where. We are here to stay. The money we send is to pay for the next relative to come here. Just like Italians and Irish did 100 years ago.
    We come here searching for a better life. We are not criminals. We are the dishwashers, the waiters, the construccion workers in New Orleans trying to make a living and Yes we Taking a job an American doesn’t want.