Welcome to Argentina! The home of the Argentinian Peso (ARS). The Argentinian Peso is a very vulnerable currency. Here we give you the best tips on how safe exchange money in Buenos Aires, the best places to exchange money and even sometimes make a profit!
We will talk about: ATM withdrawals, Exchange bureau’s, Calle Florida (black market), XOOM and Western Union, Creditcard and, paying directly in Dollar or Euro in stores.
TIP: don’t change your local (USD, EUR, …) money to Argentinian peso in your home country. The peso fluctuates hard during days, so you probably lose value even in a couple of days.
The symbol for Argentinian Peso is familiar with the dollar sign: $. In Argentina, the shortcut for the US dollar is USD or U$S.
1. The best place to exchange money in Buenos Aires
In our application (iOS and Android), we give you daily updates on the best safe places to change your money in Buenos Aires. The app is free and available for iOS and Android. Disfruta! Download here and view the current exchange rate per office.
Important note: due to the currency controls in Argentina it also has effects on tourists. You can exchange Dollars or Euro to Argentinian peso without any problem and restriction, but the other way there is a restriction (ARS back to USD/EUR/…). Do you have Argentinian peso left after your stay? You can only exchange a maximum of 100 dollars worth of pesos back to dollars or euro. This is per person.
2. ATM Withdrawal
Don’t use an ATM! We mention ATM withdrawal in Buenos Aires at first because it’s the last we suggest to do. The withdrawal commission can get up to USD 10, bad exchange rates, and sometimes no money in the ATM. So, there are better ways to get Argentinian pesos. Using the ATM is not the best way to exchange money in Buenos Aires! Don’t you have any other options? Go to the bank and take an ATM with above “Cajero Automatico”. These ATMs are for everybody. An ATM with above “Autoservicio” will not work for tourists.
3. Exchange bureau
Is your local currency US Dollar (USD) or Euro (EUR), then you are lucky. Also, currencies such as the British Pound (GBP), Swiss Francs (CHF), New Zealand dollar (NZD), and others are possible to exchange into Argentine peso.
There are enough exchange bureaus available in Buenos Aires. Always take your passport with you when you’re going to the exchange bureau. It’s used that the exchange bureau will only accept banknotes higher than 20 USD or 20 Euro. Changing coins is not possible. Withdrawing money here is not available. Read the article for the best exchange places: “The best places to change your money in Argentinian peso, Dollar and Euro”
Tips when you go to the exchange bureau (Casas de Cambio in Spanish)
- Don’t change immediately all your money. Are you staying longer than 3 weeks? Then change it by every 100 USD or EUR. In other Argentinian cities, you will find exchange bureaus.
- Don’t accept any extra fee or commission at the exchange bureaus. This is illegal by Argentinian law.
- A rate that is 2 ARS under the current rate is acceptable. For example, the actual interbank rate is 88 ARS for 1 US dollar. If you can get 86 ARS for 1 US dollar, that’s ok. Go to some different exchange bureaus and compare them. You get the best rate during bank office hours. Check the current interbank rates on xe.com. Here are the best places to change your money.
4. Calle Florida: black market
Not afraid of some negotiation? Then go to the pedestrian street “Calle Florida” near the presidents’ house (Casa Rosada or Pink House in English). When you walk down the street you will hear people saying “Cambio, cambio”. These persons work for a bigger boss.
Exchanging dollars and euros is possible. Be in a strong position to negotiate. Don’t take the first one, but play them against each other. Once you accept a rate after negotiation they will guide you to a small office somewhere located near the street Florida.
It’s possible, once you arrive in the office, they start to negotiate again. Keep with the rate that they said outside. If not, just go outside again.
Secret tip in Calle Florida: the black market will give a better exchange rate for notes of USD 100 or €100. Because these banknotes are highly sought after.
5. Western Union and XOOM
Do you want to travel cashless to Argentina? Then there is XOOM and Western Union in Buenos Aires. You can send money to yourself in Argentina and pick it up on arrival at one of their offices in Buenos Aires.
Western Union and XOOM have several offices in the city. Western Union works together with PagoFacil and XOOM with Cobroexpress. You will have the option where you want to pick up your money. For Western Union, we suggest heading to the office in the street Montevideo 825 (not in Uruguay 😉 ).
The rate at Western Union in Buenos Aires is the best! Western Union almost offers better rates than the black market. The only thing that you need into account is the transaction fee. Both companies are around USD 25 per transaction per USD 500.
The waiting lines at WU office can be long (up to 1 hour or more) but you make a lot of profit by exchange money in Buenos Aires with Western Union. That’s a free dinner for two! 🙂
Take a copy of your passport with you and the WU / XOOM code.
6. Credit card
Paying with a credit card (Mastercard and Visa) are widely accepted in the city and safe to use. Restaurants, bars, and supermarkets mostly accept your credit card for any amount. By April 1st, 2018 all stores have to accept card payment by the law, but often small kiosks, the bakery or newspaper store around the corner don’t.
Before going to a restaurant always ask if they accept your credit card or check the window for any signs.
7. Coto supermarket or other stores
A not very know way to change your Dollar or Euro to Argentinian peso is going to a Coto supermarket or other brand store (Havanna, Falabella, …). At the Coto supermarket go to the cashier lane and you will see a little announcement with the rate they will give you.
The system works as follows. You buy something small – for example, a little bottle of water. Thereafter, you go to the cashier and pay with your US Dollars or Euros. Use a note of 50 Euro/US Dollar or smaller notes. The cashier will give you Argentinian peso for spare change. Coto supermarket often gives a higher rate than the actual rate.
8. Top-up credit card
There are debit Mastercard- or Visa cards available such as Revolut. It is a top-up debit card. Revolut, for example, uses the interbank-rate that fluctuates during the day without any fee. A good way for travelers and residents without an Argentinian bank account. Check out more on their website.
Have some cash with you. We mentioned that stores have to accept credit/debit card payments by law, however not every store is happy with it. Also when a store accepts card payments, it’s common that they will make a difference between paying cash or with a card. They will put two prices on the price tag. One in cash (cheaper) and one for card payments.
Footnote: Secretsofbuenosaires.com is not responsible for any wrong information or problems that appear with payment by following one of these tips.