Why the long queues at ATMs in Argentina?
We will try to explain in this article why queues at ATMs, where to exchange money and some useful tips.
One of the main reasons why Argentines make long queues at ATMs in the first days of each month is because they are accustomed to use cash, debit and credit cards are only used for large purchases and at a long term.
The Argentines pay the rent, their taxes and purchases in cash, for that reason they need large amounts and the automatic tellers have a withdrawal limit per day.
That daily limit was imposed for the protection of customers, a few years ago was very common so-called “express kidnappings”, where the criminal took the customer to withdraw all their money from the ATMs and then release them.
Since Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001, confidence in the banks has been low; middle class savers hide their money under the mattress or buy new cars and improve their houses. Even rich Argentineans send their money abroad to banks in Uruguay or the Caymans.
Those that do have bank accounts are treated to exorbitant bank charges, government taxes, high loan interest rates and low savings rates.
Before Traveling to Argentina make sure to bring Unites States Dollars or Euros
Unlike most countries, where bringing lots of hard cash is not recommended or necessary, if travelling to Argentina we would suggest taking a decent amount of cash with you. Specifically US dollars and Euros. Don’t even bother bring other types of currency since they are harder to get exchanged and often at terrible rates (perhaps with the exception of the British Pound, but not guarantee)
From 2011 till January 2016 Argentina had severe Currency Exchange Restrictions also know as ” Dollar Blue or Mercado Paralelo “. During that time, exchanging money on the black market was actually a great deal with gaps over 40% compared with the official governmental rate.
There are two ways to change money “legal or illegal”.
With Argentina’s new president Mauricio Macri the restrictions have been lifted and official markets opened once more. Because of this, the Blue Dollar no longer offers the benefits that once did.
Choosing the illegal route over the normal banks, entails dealing with rigged calculators, fake money and you generally run the risk of being robbed. There is a lot of counterfeit bills, so it is necessary to be aware especially when handling larger notes, or receiving large amounts of change. All bank notes have a watermark in Argentina and both ARS100 and ARS50 bank notes have a metallic thread incorporated into the paper. You should have enough to go by with just the watermark and the metallic thread.
For foreigners withdrawing money from atms has a cost, they pay a tax that is not yet very clear why they charge it and there is a limit also on the amount of money to extract.
Important fact: if you need a large amount of cash in one day, you can withdraw your twice your limit if you do it the second time after 5 pm, of course you will pay twice the tax, but you will have enough cash.