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  • FIRST POST
    • nik_k
    • By nik_k 19th Oct 18, 9:35 AM
    • 148Posts
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    nik_k
    0 WOW
    Best way of having spending money in Argentina?
    • #1
    • 19th Oct 18, 9:35 AM
    0 WOW
    Best way of having spending money in Argentina? 19th Oct 18 at 9:35 AM
    My wife and I are off to Argentina for Xmas and the New Year (31 days in total). I've been doing some research into the best way of having our spending money out there, but just want to see if anyone has any tips?

    Our day-to-day banking is with Monzo these days. However, their travel rates are a pain, since they charge 3% for any cash withdrawals over £200 in a 30 day period. Therefore, I was thinking of using Starling. I'd top up my account here in the UK, then use the card to spend directly while out there, and also use it in ATMs when necessary.

    I also have a Caxton FX card, which could be an option, but I think Starling offer a better exchange rate? (Full MasterCard exchange rate, rather than Caxton FX's own rate?)

    I've looked into TransferWise, but, to be fair, I don't really understand how that would work when looking to convert my GBP into ARS. With their debit card, do I simply convert all my GBP into ARS in one go, which is then held on the card as ARS, and pay/withdraw from that ARS 'purse'?

    Any other considerations I might like to take into account?
Page 1
    • AlSto
    • By AlSto 19th Oct 18, 1:09 PM
    • 127 Posts
    • 63 Thanks
    AlSto
    • #2
    • 19th Oct 18, 1:09 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Oct 18, 1:09 PM
    Starling for debit.
    Halifax Clarity, Barclays Platinum Travel, Santander Zero, Creation Everyday for credit.
    You should have a credit card at hand for deposits, purchases etc. I never hand over a debit card.
    If you are going through Gatwick you should grab a handful of US$ from the Moneycorp ATM there.
    Argentine ATM severely limit the amount of cash you can withdraw and impose a hefty fee each time. So some emergency cash can come in useful if the purchase option isn't available.
    • nik_k
    • By nik_k 19th Oct 18, 1:11 PM
    • 148 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    nik_k
    • #3
    • 19th Oct 18, 1:11 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Oct 18, 1:11 PM
    Starling for debit.
    Halifax Clarity, Barclays Platinum Travel, Santander Zero, Creation Everyday for credit.
    You should have a credit card at hand for deposits, purchases etc. I never hand over a debit card.
    If you are going through Gatwick you should grab a handful of US$ from the Moneycorp ATM there.
    Argentine ATM severely limit the amount of cash you can withdraw and impose a hefty fee each time. So some emergency cash can come in useful if the purchase option isn't available.
    Originally posted by AlSto
    I've been doing some analysis this morning, and it appears that overall TransferWise is the best/cheapest option...load the funds in GBP, convert to ARS at mid-market rate plus 1% conversion fee, then spend in ARS on their debit card fee-free. That's how I read it anyway?
    • benjus
    • By benjus 19th Oct 18, 3:15 PM
    • 5,311 Posts
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    benjus
    • #4
    • 19th Oct 18, 3:15 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Oct 18, 3:15 PM
    You're looking at a charge of at least 4% from the ATMs. I don't see why this wouldn't apply to the TransferWise card as well, in which case TransferWise would be worse overall than Clarity etc. However I may be wrong and it's worth a try - please report back!

    If your only concern is the cheapest rate, I don't think you can beat taking USD cash with you (assuming you can get it at a competitive rate and aren't just getting it from the Post Office). But carrying lots of cash around in parts of Argentina is not a great idea.

    You may get discounts for paying in cash rather than card which outweigh the ATM fees.

    I've quite often used Azimo to send money to Argentina at good rates - the recipient can pick up ARS cash from various outlets in Buenos Aires and a few other cities. However it's a hassle and I'm not sure what kind of paperwork they ask for, so probably best avoided if you're only there for a visit.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
    • nik_k
    • By nik_k 19th Oct 18, 3:32 PM
    • 148 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    nik_k
    • #5
    • 19th Oct 18, 3:32 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Oct 18, 3:32 PM
    You're looking at a charge of at least 4% from the ATMs. I don't see why this wouldn't apply to the TransferWise card as well, in which case TransferWise would be worse overall than Clarity etc. However I may be wrong and it's worth a try - please report back!

    If your only concern is the cheapest rate, I don't think you can beat taking USD cash with you (assuming you can get it at a competitive rate and aren't just getting it from the Post Office). But carrying lots of cash around in parts of Argentina is not a great idea.

    You may get discounts for paying in cash rather than card which outweigh the ATM fees.

    I've quite often used Azimo to send money to Argentina at good rates - the recipient can pick up ARS cash from various outlets in Buenos Aires and a few other cities. However it's a hassle and I'm not sure what kind of paperwork they ask for, so probably best avoided if you're only there for a visit.
    Originally posted by benjus
    For me right now, it's a toss up between Starling and TransferWise. Still got 7 weeks to decide though, so will keep exploring.

    As for Azimo, this is what we currently use for her to send money back home. It works well, and the recipient only needs show photo ID.
    • benjus
    • By benjus 19th Oct 18, 4:04 PM
    • 5,311 Posts
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    benjus
    • #6
    • 19th Oct 18, 4:04 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Oct 18, 4:04 PM
    As for Azimo, this is what we currently use for her to send money back home. It works well, and the recipient only needs show photo ID.
    Originally posted by nik_k
    Ah, Ok... I thought they might need a CUIL/CUIT.

    In that case you could always use Azimo to send money to yourself, if you don't mind the hassle.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
    • benjus
    • By benjus 19th Oct 18, 4:07 PM
    • 5,311 Posts
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    benjus
    • #7
    • 19th Oct 18, 4:07 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Oct 18, 4:07 PM
    Personally, I used to take USD cash back when the ARS exchange rate was fixed and you could get a lot more for your money by changing at the "blue" rate. Since that's no longer an issue I just take the cards and suck up the ATM charges.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
    • chiny
    • By chiny 24th Oct 18, 12:23 PM
    • 144 Posts
    • 50 Thanks
    chiny
    • #8
    • 24th Oct 18, 12:23 PM
    • #8
    • 24th Oct 18, 12:23 PM
    In 2016, I toured through areas of Peru, Bolivia and Chile. ATMs were available in cities but much of my travel was in rural areas and realistically US$ were needed - worth considering.

    I'm off to Chile, Argentina and Brazil in 3 weeks so just considering this problem again. Some US$ for sure but not too much cash and 2 different plastics (Halifax Clarity disliked Bolivia).

    °Buen viaje!
    • Abbyprince
    • By Abbyprince 18th Jul 19, 5:38 PM
    • 1 Posts
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    Abbyprince
    • #9
    • 18th Jul 19, 5:38 PM
    • #9
    • 18th Jul 19, 5:38 PM
    Nik, what did you end up going with? Iím going to Argentina later this year and interested to know how well monzo/starling worked out?
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 19th Jul 19, 1:29 AM
    • 2,325 Posts
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    EveryWhere
    Nik, what did you end up going with? Iím going to Argentina later this year and interested to know how well monzo/starling worked out?
    Originally posted by Abbyprince
    I think it's been clearly explained by the people who have already been there.

    For purchases, any fee free card will do. Monzo would never be on my radar because of the £200 per month ATM withdrawal limit.
    You are going to get hit for withdrawing cash from an ATM no matter what you try.

    My advice would be to take at least one VISA card and one Mastercard and use them whenever possible.
    I would only use credit cards and never debit cards.
    So for me it would be my Barclaycard Platinum Travel and perhaps Halifax Clarity.

    For your cash needs, take some cash(I think US$/£ and Euros are easily exchanged. Though probably US$ is probably most widely) if you are going for a short trip. If for a longer trip, consider Azimo/Xoom etc

    ATM fees will upset you. Especially when you realise how little you can remove from an ATM and how high the charges.

    https://atmfees.info/buenos-aires-argentina/
    • jasdev
    • By jasdev 19th Jul 19, 11:27 PM
    • 65 Posts
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    jasdev
    I am also travelling to Argentina and concerned about having any sizable amount of cash on me. Is the ATM withdrawal limit per machine or per day? I have a Clarity card so would intend to use that for purchases and withdrawals.
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 20th Jul 19, 12:01 AM
    • 2,325 Posts
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    EveryWhere
    I am also travelling to Argentina and concerned about having any sizable amount of cash on me. Is the ATM withdrawal limit per machine or per day? I have a Clarity card so would intend to use that for purchases and withdrawals.
    Originally posted by jasdev
    Of course it is per withdrawal. Nothing stopping you from moving to another ATM in any event. Your card's limit will be your limitation. Though unlikely you will withdraw £500 per day there..
    • benjus
    • By benjus 20th Jul 19, 9:25 AM
    • 5,311 Posts
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    benjus
    Ugh, looks like the ATM fees have gone up since I was last there. Next time (December) it will be tempting to take USD cash (if I can get a good rate) or maybe use Azimo.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
    • cubegame
    • By cubegame 20th Jul 19, 1:21 PM
    • 1,777 Posts
    • 962 Thanks
    cubegame
    ATM fees are a killer. Easiest way to avoid is to use a Santander card with a Santander Rio bank. Not all that easy to find though.

    Best bet is to take a wedge of US dollars and change as you need.
    • benjus
    • By benjus 20th Jul 19, 2:40 PM
    • 5,311 Posts
    • 3,269 Thanks
    benjus
    ATM fees are a killer. Easiest way to avoid is to use a Santander card with a Santander Rio bank. Not all that easy to find though.
    Originally posted by cubegame
    I remember trying to do an over the counter withdrawal with my Santander Zero credit card at a Santander Rio branch, but they just told me that ATM was the only option. I'm pretty sure it still charged me.
    Let's settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
    On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
    And you're Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 20th Jul 19, 8:02 PM
    • 2,325 Posts
    • 1,172 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    ATM fees are a killer. Easiest way to avoid is to use a Santander card with a Santander Rio bank. Not all that easy to find though.

    Best bet is to take a wedge of US dollars and change as you need.
    Originally posted by cubegame
    Really? I think that you might be confused. Have you actually tried it yourself?

    No such thing mentioned here; https://www.santander.co.uk/assets/s3fs-public/documents/current-account-interest-rates-and-fees-no-longer-available.pdf

    Only Spain mentioned.


    If you refer to the Santander Select account, they waive their card's fees, but not fees specifically charged by the ATM.
    https://www.santander.co.uk/select/support/support-abroad

    We will waive the 2.75% foreign exchange fee as well as the £1.99/1.5% cash handling fee when you use Santander branded cash machines in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, USA, Brazil and Poland
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 20th Jul 19, 8:04 PM
    • 2,325 Posts
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    EveryWhere
    I remember trying to do an over the counter withdrawal with my Santander Zero credit card at a Santander Rio branch, but they just told me that ATM was the only option. I'm pretty sure it still charged me.
    Originally posted by benjus
    It did. I had the same issue.
    • melanzana
    • By melanzana 20th Jul 19, 8:10 PM
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    melanzana
    Just wondered on a 30 day trip how much it would save to do all that is recommended here.

    Would it be fleecing or just hey it is what it is?
    • EveryWhere
    • By EveryWhere 20th Jul 19, 8:44 PM
    • 2,325 Posts
    • 1,172 Thanks
    EveryWhere
    Just wondered on a 30 day trip how much it would save to do all that is recommended here.

    Would it be fleecing or just hey it is what it is?
    Originally posted by melanzana
    Really? It depends on how much cash you intend to utilise.



    So per £1000 in cash, the cost will be anything from £50 to £100 if withdrawing cash via ATM, even with the best cards.
    • nik_k
    • By nik_k 22nd Jul 19, 8:15 AM
    • 148 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    nik_k
    Nik, what did you end up going with? Iím going to Argentina later this year and interested to know how well monzo/starling worked out?
    Originally posted by Abbyprince
    Hey, in the end we went with TransferWise, and used their debit card. Although it worked well, there were 2 issues...

    1) The TW card is a MasterCard, and this wasn't anywhere nearly as widely accepted as a Visa card would have been

    2) ATM withdrawals were somewhat hit and miss. The card worked seemlessly in Itau machines, and most Banelco machines, but not in others. However, this wasn't really an issue, as we had an Itau branch just down the street from where we were staying

    I know this is a bit out-of-date now, but ATM fees whilst we were there were around ARS$386 per ARS$4,000 withdrawn. These changed on a daily basis.

    Would I recommend TW as an option for anyone? Yes I would, with the caveat that you should keep cash on you in case the card declines, and also that it takes a few days to get it into your head which ATMs will work!

    Have a great trip!
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