Currently hot topic among travelers to Argentina is the foreign tourist dollar. The Argentine government announced that tourist card payments will be processed at almost the dollar Blue rate. Actually, it will be the dollar MEP rate which is close to the dollar blue rate. But what about the tourist card payment at the dollar blue rate? Read this article before you make any card payments in Argentina! Check out the video below.

Read also: the best hotels in Buenos Aires

What is the foreign tourist dollar?

In Argentina, there are many exchange rates. Those exchange rates do not follow the official exchange rate that you can find on or the National Bank of Argentina.

One of the exchange rates is the “Foreign tourist dollar“. When making a credit card payment in Argentina you have a much more favorable rate compared with the official. This means that payment at the official rate is not 10 USD but 5 USD for example.

The official rate is 1 USD = 365 ARS, Foreign tourist dollar is 1 USD = 700 ARS. For the same dollar, you will have more pesos to pay with.

What about the tourist dollar in Argentina?

They launched the idea that tourists can pay with their credit cards at the MEP rate. It would be easy, but the Argentine government said that it is the responsibility of the card issuer to process the payment at that rate. In most cases, it is Mastercard or Visa. Currently, Visa and Mastercard are processing refunds after a period. But you can get charged first at the official rate. Therefore, make a small payment to test the system.

Since shortly, Argentine companies are charging you Argentine pesos at the Dollar blue / MEP rate. So, in the end, you will pay the same amount in USD as it was at the official exchange rate. Some companies advertise it as that. The profit of the credit card is not there and gets charged first at the official exchange rate and waiting for the refund. This is because Argentine companies are adapting to the situation and they know that tourists have that “benefit” with the credit card. In this case, you first pay the double amount and get a refund later.

Situation 1 October 2023

Tourist activities in Buenos Aires are often charged at the MEP rate. The image below shows how it is. The Argentine peso amount – converted at the official exchange rate – is 123,70 USD. The amount converted by Visa brings the total to 73 USD after receiving the refund a couple of days later (Credit card bank fee not in the calculation). The company proposed to pay directly in USD which is 65 USD.

Those companies have 2 types of terminals. One that charges in ARS and another in USD.

Exchange rate mep Argentina Tourist
Proof of invoice at MEP rate

Read also: where to stay in Buenos Aires? Neighborhood tips.

I did the test! Did I get a good exchange rate?

Short answer, no. I did the test beginning May 2023. I make a comparison with other exchange rates available for tourists.

I went to buy a coffee and paid with my foreign MasterCard. At that moment the official exchange rate was 1 USD / 226 ARS. The Dollar Blue was at 464 ARS for 1 USD. The MEP where the tourist dollar should be based on was 433 ARS for 1 USD.

On my credit card statements, I saw that the coffee was paid at the official rate. Five days later I received a partial refund. I made the calculation and ended up with an exchange rate of 393 ARS for 1 USD. Ok, it’s still a 73% increase compared with the official exchange rate but 15% less if I exchanged money at the blue rate. And at the end, the exchange rate of my credit card didn’t follow the MEP rate.

Another example I had.  Went on a boat trip in the South of Argentina with family. The price for locals was 13.000 ARS = 50 USD and for tourists 25.000 ARS = 94 USD. Tourists paid with credit card with the tourist exchange rate and ended up paying 51 USD.

Continue reading for more important information.

Exchange rate tourist dollar Argentina calculation
The situation begin May 2023

How to get the benefit of the tourist dollar?

I suggest testing your credit card first. Buy something small and wait until you get a refund or not. It can take up to 5-10 business days. This is how you avoid the surprise by paying the double amount in USD if they don’t process the refunds.

Afterward, you can use the credit card everywhere. The best is at restaurants and local stores. They will charge you at the official exchange rate and get the most profit. On top of that, almost no risk of paying double because it’s the official exchange rate.

For tourist activities, they will probably charge you at the MEP rate and here you don’t have the benefit anymore.

Just to let you know that you can make a profit out of it but not always.



My roots in Buenos Aires started as a tourist. After some great adventures in Argentina, I moved in 2017 to the metropolitan city of Buenos Aires. I felt a need for correct and honest information for tourists. That's why I love to write to you. Sharing my discoveries in Buenos Aires. I hope you enjoy the city as much as I do! Buenos Aires ❤️


  1. Thanks for all the useful infos
    I have a Mastercard (HSBC) and a Visa (Scotiabank) from Canada.

    Any idea if there was a website online I could try a small charge in ARS (like a dollar) to make a test and see how much both cards charge me before making more purchases?

    Thanks a lot

  2. Just came back from BA and was solely using VISA card; exchange rate was about 372.45ARS for USD (454.39ARS for GBP). Be aware that this is an exchange rate used by VISA and your bank may charge other fees on top – that’s where the difference may be; worth noting that cashpoints would charge you 24ARS service fee but I’m not sure what the withdrawal limit is. Also take into account that places with good exchange rates had loooong queues in front of them; And, some places, like Recoleta Cemetery, was only accepting cards.

    • Was in Ushuaia and BA mid to end April 2023- Charged as much as i could on JPMC Visa, conversion was instant to about 20-30 Pesos lower than Blue Rate and no transaction fees. Amex charged full amount first, then issued a credit about a week later to bring it back to the 20-30 Pesos discount on Blue Rate. (Note: depending on the card, the provider may charge another transaction fee).

      • I was in BA last month and received multiple refunds on my Amex, but there’s one transaction for 450 dollars that I never received a refund – now I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what to do.

  3. Also take into account that places with good exchange rates had loooong queues in front of them; And, some places, like Recoleta Cemetery, was only accepting cards.

  4. I have been in Argentina for a month, and using your card, there is no way to get a tourist rate. You need to come with cash, go to Uruguay, or use some sort of money program to send money to yourself and you get close to blue rate but they will take at least 30 pesos off the blue rate. That rate is still better than the official. So I just send myself cash, and that’s how I do it.

  5. As of yesterday, this doesn’t work anymore. Visa is back to the official rate. Be careful! Don’t use your card if you don’t want to pay double!

  6. Hi just wanted to share my experience, my bf and I have been using our Charles Schwab Visa card and have been getting a rate the Blue rate! We aren’t sure if it works for buying things online 🤔

    • Hi Maria. Were you using the Schwab VISA debit card? I was told by Schwab to choose the Argentine peso option and not the US dollar option when signing off on the transactions in order to get the MEP rate. Is this information correct? Thank you for sharing.

      • That’s correct. Always pay in ARS. However, make first a small payment and check if the MEP rate gets processed on your credit card.

  7. hey Glenn, glad I found your blog and appreciate all the helpful information. checked a few other blogs as well about blue rate payment and still wondering whether it’s working and even more whether it’s also working with an EU/EURO Credit card. Maybe you (or someone else) has an update on that?

    • Hi Benedikt, normally it should work. But sometimes not. Debit cards for example no. Amex also not. Touristic activities are mostly in USD.

  8. Appears the Credit Card will use a blue (or close to) rate is not happening. Can others please keep updating their experiences as to if they get a close to blue rate or a refund? Thanks.

  9. This is fake news. Bought a ticket for Teatro Flores in AR$ online using Mercado Pago, got charged the (ripoff) official rate. I would still advise to use cash for everything while in Argentina!

  10. Just tried it in the Jumbo supermarket with my Maestro Card. I was charged the common official rate, curious if I’ll get a refund later.

  11. paid with mastercard on 13 Dec and the tourist rate still not applying!! Western Union is an option but for some countries (like South Africa where I live- I’m from here) you do need to be there to transfer as the app doesnt work.. and of course the idea is to avoid carrying so much cash ufffffff

    • Thank for sharing your experience. Some are reporting getting a refund on MC payments. Have you since received a refund? Thanks.

    • Hi there Maria, could you perhaps elaborate a bit more on what you mean when you said, South Africans need to be there for the app to work. I’m still here in SA and want to transfer funds to myself and collect it in BA via WU. Do you mean the app does not work while we are in SA?

    • Hi Maria, I’m also from South Africa and curious if there’s any update…

  12. Dec 7 and onwards: Several of us made credit card payments at hotels and restaurants, all charged at official rate. One of us got refunds on certain (but not all) transactions to the tune of 45% of the transaction amount. Neither the merchant not the credit card company recognize the refund so we’re wondering if Mastercard corrected the ARS to USD rate on those transactions…

  13. Western Union is giving 330 pesos to the dollar on any WU transactions sent to Argentina. Have sent money recently and will again to myself before i travel down there.
    One of the WU places that will give you money is Pago Facil at 825 Montevideo Buenos Aires. I called them to see if they could handle a 500 dollar exchange and they said no problem..
    Only issue is walking around BS As with a wad of 1000 peso notes in your pocket or bag.

    • They are lying. They run out of money constantly. They have massive lines (1-2 hours) and you don’t know if they are out of money until you get to the front of the line. Also, they may hand it all to you in 100s. I’m here right now and experiencing it.

  14. Update Dec 11 2022: still not working with Visa Credit Card. Paid the entrance to Recoleta cemetery with card (only option) and it used the official exchange rate.

    • You should talk about the option of using Western Union to transfer money to yourself. Western Union uses the blue dollar rate. It is very practical , easy to do and avoids you carrying piles of us dollar cash. There are Western Union offices everywhere in Argentina. Thanks

      • Hi Gilles, in the article “where to exchange money in Buenos Aires” I explain that option 😊

  15. I’m in Argentina and it’s still not working, 3 weeks after it was announced. Given that the banks in Argentina are essentially owned by the government, I doubt it will ever be put in effect given there general lack of competence in nearly everything.

  16. Unfortunately, it is still not working. So I‘ll keep on exchanging at the „cuevas“. It is shameful that the government announces the new exchange to be effective as of November 4th and it is still not working. I am sure that the problem lies with the Argentine government.

  17. do you have any suggestions for paying for car rental in Argentina? They all seem to want paying by credit card which would probably mean the terrible official exchange rate.

    • Hi Graham, search on Google for a local car rental and ask to pay cash. In smaller cities they do it often.

  18. I am in Argentina now November 18 and have been testing this for a couple weeks….it is not working on my USA Credit Cards (Visa or MC)

  19. Shane, thank you for this update. and Glenn for your post. I will be travelling to Buenos Aires. My brother-in-law mentioend this new rate for foreigners using their credit cards, but clearly this seems easier said than done.

  20. Hi- Love your site.
    Usually get hotels near Ave Florida so I can find a blue dollar Cambio. But this time for a special reason I have a hotel near Ave San Juan and Ave Passeo Coln – San Telmo. Do you know of any trustworthy “cueva” around that area.
    Or I guess I am in for a long walk
    Kind regards
    David T – Tasmania

    • Hi David, there is exchange office in San Telmo. A “cueva” is more around Av. Florida.

  21. I used my Master Card few times this week (Nov. 7 to 11 ) and the exchange rate i got was 162. I have stopped using the card and I am only using cash that I received thru Western Union.

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