Argentina’s new tourist exchange rate will effectively double your cash back | Tech US News


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Traveling to Argentina just got even more attractive, as the Argentine government has just launched a new type of tourist exchange. which effectively doubles your money while making purchases. As of last Friday, tourists who do not reside in Argentina or do not have an Argentine credit or debit card will be able to access an exchange rate similar to the MEP dollar (Electronic Payments Market), which is almost equivalent to the “Blue Dollar” rate illegal that tourists usually access for money.

Young Hispanic businesswoman with Argentine pesos

Gone are the days of asking your local friends to exchange a large sum of money for you, or finding some sketchy character on the street to do it for you. Now you can do it yourself, just by making the purchase on your credit card.

Last week, the rate of the MEP Dollar was around 292 pesos per dollar, while the official rate was at 158 ​​pesos per dollar. Exchange at the MEP rate gets you almost double the pesos for your dollar compared to the official rate that applies to overseas payment methods.

“Effectively the measure introduces an exchange rate 90 percent higher than the official one that applies to all tourist expenses in the country, including excursions, meals and tourist packages,” wrote The Buenos Aires Times.

Man buying a sandwich in Argentina

How did the exchange rate work before?

If a tourist paid for an expense with a credit or debit card, the cost of this would be converted to the official exchange rate, which was used by the banks.

The Buenos Aires Times explains that if you were charged 10,000 pesos on your debit or credit card at the official exchange rate of 155 pesos, this would be equivalent to US$64.30. Whereas if banks had access to the MEP exchange rate, it would be equivalent to USD 34.24; saving you half of what you would have paid in US dollars.

This fee will apply to everything tourists pay for with their credit cards, including hotel rooms, restaurants, guided tours, attractions, movie tickets, etc.

Previously, tourists in Argentina exchanged their money for money in illegal and unofficial places at the Dolar Blue rate to avoid the official exchange rate. The Dolar Blue exchange rate is considered closer to the MEP exchange rate, therefore with Argentina’s introduction of an exchange rate closer to this one; tourists will be able to stop carrying so much cash and use their credit and debit cards without penalty.

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Argentine pesos

How does the exchange rate work now?

The new exchange rate process means that travelers can now pay in pesos with their cards and their money will go from dollars to a fixed tourist exchange rate, instead of the official rate. Credit card companies will receive the dollars and have five days to convert them using the MEP exchange rate through the financial markets, but credit cards may also charge a fee for the transaction. The new rules are now in effect, so you can start trading at this more generous rate today.

Restaurants in Buenos Aires

Why is Argentina doing this now?

Argentina has a web of different exchange rates, which can be confusing for tourists visiting the country for the first time. With unofficial exchange rates such as Dolar Blue offering more lucrative deals for tourists exchanging their money, this has created a more cash-based tourism industry. According to the Buenos Aires Times, around 200 to 250 million US dollars are brought into the country through tourism, but only 30 million dollars come through official channels.

Buenos Aires Argentina

As the country heads towards a 100% inflation rate, the government has taken it upon itself to find a solution that encourages tourists to put money back into the Argentine financial system and contribute to the post-pandemic recovery. Officials also believe this will provide more security and efficiency to tourists arriving in Argentina, while formalizing the sector and putting pressure on the Blue Dollar.

Iguazú Falls Argentina

“The move was long-awaited. Domestic tourism had been favored by Previaje, but inbound tourism was delayed in its post-pandemic recovery and this will be a good boost,” said Gustavo Hani, president of the Argentine Tourism Chamber. “It helps foreign tourists to encourage them to use their credit or debit cards; it makes things safer and more predictable for them.

Is this new attack on the exchange rate influencing you to book a trip to Argentina this year? They removed all entry requirements in April, as well as expressing how much they want long-term digital nomads, so it might be the perfect country to stay for a while.

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