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Payment systems frequently asked questions



Payment systems

  • Do payment systems in Mexico comply with internationally accepted standards on payment clearance and settlement mechanisms?

In 2002, Banco de México's Board of Governors decided that the country's systemically important payment systems should follow and adopt entirely the guidelines established in the document "Core principles for systemically important payment systems", published by the BIS at the beginning of 2001. Since then, Banco de México has implemented and passed amendments to the laws and rules under which systemically important payment systems operate in order to meet those guidelines.

At the time, the laws protecting the application of payment system rules from possible lawsuits had some weaknesses, and payment systems were overly dependent on Banco de México's special loans and settlement guarantees.

In 2002, the Mexican Congress approved the Payments Systems Law which establishes a sound legal base for large value payment systems, and Banco de México's Board of Governors approved a reform program for these payment systems aimed at reducing and more optimally allocating the credit risks they produce. This was completed in 2005.


  • What is the difference between real time settlement systems and deferred settlement systems?

The difference between both types of settlements basically depends on the time at which payments are settled in the participants' accounts. Real time settlements involve debits and credits in the system's accounts which take place as soon as the system allows it, once it has received them and has validated participants’ payment instructions. Deferred settlements involve all debits and credits pending settlement at a fixed pre-set time, usually at the end of the system’s operating cycle.

Deferred settlement systems accumulate risks between their operating cycles and are therefore less adequate for high value payments as they can put the financial viability of banks in peril, especially if settlement takes place after the end of the day.

In Mexico, an example of a real time settlement system is the Interbank Electronic Payments System (SPEI®), while an example of a deferred settlement payments system is the Electronic Fund Transfer System (TEF).


  • Given the growing integration of financial markets, is it really necessary to harmonize payment clearance and settlement systems between the countries of the region and/or with industrialized countries?

A large percentage of payments between countries are done in US dollars and most take place through correspondent banks. Banco de México and the CLS Bank are evaluating the advantages and costs of including the peso among the currencies through which CLS settles.

The US Federal Reserve Bank and Banco de México developed a link for exchange of payments between both countries. As of February 2, 2004, payments can be made from any commercial bank in the United States participating in the Directo a México service to anyone with a bank account in Mexico.


  • What means of payment (checks, electronic transfers, credit and debit cards, etc.) are used in Mexico?

This information can be consulted in the retail payment systems statistics.



  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of SPEI® compared to SPEUA?

The Interbank Electronic Payment System (SPEI®) is safer, faster, and more efficient than its predecessor, the Extended Electronic Payments System (SPEUA, for its acronym in Spanish). Furthermore, SPEI® facilitates the automation of banks' payment instruction send/receipt processes, and its settlement model is less complex and safer.

SPEI® also requires that banks maintain liquid assets, which can result in costs for banks.



  • What can I do if my SPEI® payment does not "go through"?

We suggest that you consult the payment status using SPEI® Information Module (MI-SPEI). To consult your payment, you will need the "Reference Number" you entered when you made the instruction to pay, or the "Tracking Code" your bank gave you when you made the transfer. If the payment is not in the system, has not been settled, or was returned, you (the Sender) can go to your bank to find out why the payment was not made. Note that MiSPEI only enables you to consult payments corresponding to the last 45 working days. You should take a print-out of your consultation report with you. Finally, the government’s agency for addressing complaints regarding bank services is CONDUSEF.


  • How can I track SPEI® payments that are more than 45 days old?

Banco de México can track SPEI® transfers that are more than 45 days old. For this, you must provide, through Banco de México’s Link Unit, the date on which the transfer was made, the originating bank, the destination bank, and the reference number (or tracking code).


  • I have received a SPEI® payment, how can I know who sent it?

One of the advantages of using SPEI® is that it enables the person sending the SPEI® (sender) to use a field known as "Payment Concept" to identify the reason for the payment. This Payment Concept is printed on your bank account statement (it can be electronic). The sender can choose a reference number of up to 7 digits for payment identification.  This number can also be used to consult payment status and know the destination of the money sent. For more information, please consult: SPEI® Information Module (MI-SPEI).

If the sender decided not to include information in this field, it will be very difficult to identify the payment, in which case we suggest you ask your bank for information about the sender (banks receive the Name, Account Number and CURP –population number– or RFC –tax number– of the person that ordered the payment). Your bank may need time to track all information about the sender.

Your payers should continue to use SPEI®, and you should ask them to write in the "Payment Concept" (all banks offer to include this concept) text that best helps you to identify your payments.


  • When you make a consultation regarding a SPEI® payment in MiSPEI, what does "Not found" mean in the payment status?

It means that the Issuer Bank did not send the payment, or that data from the consultation (Reference number, Tracking code, transaction bank day, Issuer Bank or Beneficiary Bank) are incorrect.


  • What is an Electronic Payment Receipt (EPR)?

It is an electronic document backing a payment made via SPEI. The receiving bank issues it and Banco de México makes it available to the clients of originating banks and the beneficiary through its internet site.

Besides information on the payment made, the EPR contains the series number of the security certificate, the original chain and a digital seal to validate its authenticity and give the user payment certainty.


  • How do I obtain my Electronic Payment Receipt (EPR)?

You can obtain your electronic payment receipt at the following address:

Consult Electronic Payment Receipts

To obtain an EPR you need the transaction date, reference number or tracking code, and the names of the issuing bank and payment receiver.


  • What file formats can I obtain my Electronic Payment Receipt (EPR) in?

You can download it in both printed format (PDF) and as a data file (XML).


  • Can I validate the digital seal of my Electronic Payment Receipt (EPR)?

You can validate that the digital seal your electronic receipt was signed with and the information contained in it correspond to the information provided by the bank receiving the payment through SPEI®. To validate this you must upload the electronic payment receipt in XML format to the following application:

Electronic Payment Receipt Validators



  • When must the proceeds of a check processed by SICAM (interbank check) be credited to an account?

SICAM settlement takes place in SIAC immediately after definitive clearance results have been obtained at 8:30 hours on day t+1, and banks have until 12:00 hours to deposit the money in their clients' accounts.


  • When do the proceeds of a TEF and/or direct debit of a bill processed by SICAM have to be deposited?

SICAM settlement takes place in SIAC immediately after definitive clearance results have been obtained at 8:30 hours on day t+1. Banks credit their clients' accounts at 9:00 hours.


Directo a México

  • What is Directo a México®?

Directo a México® is a money transfer service from an account in a US bank to an account in a Mexican bank.

For more information please click on the Directo a México link in the Retail payment systems section.



  • What is the CLABE?

Source: Asociación de Banqueros de México (ABM) (available only in Spanish)

The Standardized Bank Code (CLABE) is a unique number assigned to a bank account which guarantees that money related to debit orders, payroll payments or interbank electronic fund transfers are applied exclusively to an account indicated by the client (destination or origin).


  • What does the CLABE consist of?

The CLABE is made up of a series of 18 numbers corresponding to the following data:

    • BANK CODE: Where the account is held (branch), based on the numbers assigned to banks in the Mexican Banking Association. Length = 3 digits.
    • BRANCH CODE: City or region where the account is held based on the definition of branch codes defined for the checking service. Length: 3 = digits.
    • ACCOUNT NUMBER: Field including information used by banks to individualize clients’ accounts. Length: 11 = digits.
    • CONTROL DIGIT: A digit obtained by applying an algorithm that verifies whether data contained in the CLABE are correct. Length: 1 = digit.


  • What if the CLABE of the beneficiary account I used is incorrect?

We suggest you take your transaction receipts to the bank’s customer service area. If the bank does not solve the problem, we suggest you consult the competent authority, CONDUSEF.