Probably sounds like an obvious question, but many travelers ask us, what is the best place to exchange money in Buenos Aires or what type of currency should they bring to Argentina. This is the right question in a country where bank policies that can vary from conservative to suicide, especially after the 2001 economic crisis where many locals lost their trust on the financial institutions. But how does this affect travelers?
Probably sounds like an obvious question, but many travelers ask us, what is the best place to exchange money in Buenos Aires or what type of currency should they bring to Argentina. This is the right question in a country where bank policies that can vary from conservative to suicide, especially after the 2001 economic crisis where many locals lost their trust on the financial institutions. But how does this affect travelers? Well, in many ways, starting from the difficulty of paying with credit card in many places, to the bureaucracy of exchanging foreign currency to pesos in the bank, but do not panic, here you will find some tips to get your best monetary experience while traveling to Argentina.
Credit card payments & Cash withdrawals from ATM’s
It is highly recommended that in Argentina you pay with credit card as much as you can in order to keep your cash for many places where you can buy with 5% discount by paying cash, or on some places that don’t receive anything else but Argentine pesos.
Even when paying with credit card you are subject to be charged with the your bank’s highest exchange rate , at least it will make you less vulnerable to wander around with large amounts of money. However, it is usual for credit card payments to carry fees, including an exchange rate that sometimes doesn’t benefit the customer, so it is recommended to call your bank before your trip and verify the rates they will charge you for every type of transaction.
Another thing to take into account is that in Argentina you will be charged with an extra fee for withdrawals from local ATM’s (nowadays is approx. USD$5 for each withdrawal with US credit cards) and daily limits that don’t correspond with the expenses that a traveler can incur in a foreign country. Usually MasterCard has lower daily limits than the Visa card, putting travelers in a tighter budget situation, therefore, try to withdraw the largest amount of money possible on each transaction and keep that cash in a safe place in your hotel, because it is very common to see closed ATM’s at late hours, or machines running out of cash during holidays and weekends.
Even though travelers check are the safest way to carry cash, it is not simple to trade a traveler check in Argentina: ., banks are very distrustful and bureaucratic, don’t have English speaking representatives and only open from 10am to 3pm. So if you don’t want to waste a whole morning trying to convert your money into cash, you better skip this option on this trip.
Exchanging money in Buenos Aires
Some stores accept US Dollars but usually at a higher exchange rate. It is better to exchange money in the downtown Microcentro, where you’ll find lot of casas de cambio (the spanish name for foreign exchange agencies) most of them are on the Florida and Lavalle pedestrians streets.
Usually you will be benefited from exchanging money on smaller agencies, where you can negotiate the currency rate , just make sure that you are in a legal agency, registered according to law Nº 18.924 of the Argentinean legal system(you can simply ask the person that is helping you to show you a certificate of reliability) you can also find a full list of legal casas de cambio (foreign exchange agencies) by clicking on this link: http://www.bcra.gov.ar/.
While the Banco La Nacion and other exchange agencies in the Ezeiza and Aeroparque Airports are open 24h, avoid exchanging money there as they usually have the highest rates of the market. If you haven’t booked a transfer service and you need to pay the taxi to the hotel, exchange just the minimum indispensable to arrive to your hotel.
Traveling to Colonia or Montevideo
Yes, it is not in Argentina, but traveling to Uruguay is a very trendy and highly recommended adventure if you are already in Buenos Aires. As the argentine tourism has for years been one of the main sources for the Uruguayan travel industry, they are very likely to receive Argentine pesos in almost every place, so if you book a day in Colonia or a day tour to Montevideo, there is no need to exchange your money into Uruguayan pesos, so you can bring your dollars and your argentine pesos left to spend them there, otherwise, it will be very difficult to convert the Uruguayan pesos in Buenos Aires unless you want to take some bank notes home as a souvenir.
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