For many, shopping is an intrinsic – not to mention essential – element of the travel experience. In Mexico, the shopping experience also offers significant savings opportunities, thanks to MONEYBACK, which provides value-added tax (VAT) returns to international travelers.
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“To receive almost 9 percent of your shopping expenses back provides a great incentive to shop,” said Danielle Van der Kwartel, the company’s general director, adding that MONEYBACK works closely with travel agents to train them on how to help their clients capitalize on the company’s services. “These clients will go back to the travel agent because they value great service.”
MONEYBACK’s Web site includes a wide array of resources for agents, including presentations, webinars, refund forms and updates on how to best facilitate tax returns. Agents can also download refund forms from the site and fill them out before their clients depart for Mexico. “We’ll have monthly raffles starting in April to give away a prize to a travel agent randomly, using the refund forms that include travel agent names,” Van der Kwartel said.
MONEYBACK was launched in 2008 with offices in Mexico City and Los Cabos. “It was created with the intention of giving back to international travelers by offering them a tax refund service in a fast and simple way,” said Van der Kwartel.
“MONEYBACK provides international travelers with refunds of 8.9 percent on the total amount they spend when shopping in Mexico. “All international travelers traveling to Mexico by cruise or air are eligible to receive it,” said Van der Kwartel.
Best of all, MONEYBACK makes it easy to obtain refunds. “Participating stores can be identified by the MONEYBACK logos displayed in windows or next to the check-out areas,” she said. Travelers can also obtain the complete roster of participating stores, which are listed by category, on the MONEYBACK Web site under the Shop Here tab.
Since its inception, MONEYBACK has expanded its reach dramatically. “Nowadays we provide service in more than 98 percent of Mexico’s air and maritime points of departure,” said Van der Kwartel. “In 2012 we had 16 offices, and today we have 55, including nine in cruise ports, 27 in shopping malls or stores and 19 in international airports.” By the end of 2015 the company will open new offices at three airports and three cruise ports, finishing the year with more than 60 offices nationwide, she said. “In 2014 we processed 72,438 refunds, totaling over 1,358 billion pesos.”
Van der Kwartel said that cruise passengers generate the highest sales. “They spend over three times more in shopping than tourists coming by plane,” she said. So far this year, MONEYBACK has unveiled eight new offices in Mazatlán, Ensenada, Loreto, Chiapas and Progreso to serve cruise passengers, and in Leon, Queretaro and Toluca to cater to business travelers. It also has offices in Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.
To file for refunds, international travelers must request VAT-itemized invoices at any of 6,000 participating stores where they make purchases and then submit at the closest MONEYBACK offices with shopping incentive refund forms, credit card vouchers, copy of passports, cruise IDs or immigration forms and boarding pass prior to departing Mexico. “In less than 45 days, they’ll receive their refunds directly onto the credit cards of their choice,” said Van der Kwartel.