Some news is currently hot topic among travelers to Argentina. The Argentine government said twee ago that tourist card payments at 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 Dollar blue rate? Read this article before you make any card payment in Argentina!
Read also: where to stay in Buenos Aires? Neighborhood tips.
What about the tourist card payment at Dollar blue rate?
Is it working? Partly. The Argentine government launched many initiatives the last couple of months. Such as opening a tourist bank account and then withdrawing there. However, nothing happend. Next, was exchanging money at a special rate in an exchange office. But, some pesos leftover? Sorry you cannot exchange back because there is a limitation.
Now four weeks ago they launched the idea that tourist can pay with their credit and debit card at the MEP rate. 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 of the cases it is Mastercard or Visa. But, from their side they say that it is the Argentine government responsibility. Currently, Visa and Mastercard are processing refunds after a period. But you will get charged first at the official rate.
Attention: payments in Argentine peso?
Here you need to watch out! Are you paying with your credit card in a local shop or restaurant? Be sure that they charge you in ARS. Mostly there that will be the case.
However(!), Argentine companies want US dollars too. So, they have another payment terminal for international credit cards. When you are using your credit card, they will let you pay with their international payment terminal and charge you in US dollars. 99% of the cases this happens at touristic activities such as tango shows, tour busses, bike tours, etc.
It’s a common practice and I experienced it myself. I am an Argentine resident since I live here, but they came first with the international payment terminal to me. Then they saw that I had a local credit card.
Just to let you know that you can make profit out of it but not always.
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.
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!
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 ?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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…
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.
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 ?
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
David T – Tasmania
Hi David, there is exchange office in San Telmo. A “cueva” is more around Av. Florida.
Just go to any western union. My niece got a rate of 304 for one USD
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.