Tag Archives | money

Send Money To Argentina And Get The Best Rate

UPDATE (12/17/15): The government has allowed the peso to float and everyone can now buy dollars. This has devalued the peso and caused the blue dollar rate to shrink to only about a 5% difference from the official rate. At this time, exchanging on the blue rate probably does not make sense.

Quick Summary: If you have a US bank account, use Xoom to send money to Argentina and get the blue rate. If you have a UK bank account, use Azimo to get the blue rate. Read our summary on the dollar blue rate in Argentina for more info, as well as our complete list of money transfer services to Argentina.

UPDATE: Xoom’s rates vary daily. This post was updated with their rate of $11.81 on 2/3/15. The difference between the official rate and the unofficial rate has gone as high as 100%! Using your ATM card or credit card in Argentina is like throwing away money.

Most U.S. expats in Buenos Aires have Charles Schwab bank accounts. This had consistently proven to be the best way to get money from U.S. accounts while in Argentina. Schwab gives you the standard day’s exchange rate for all withdrawals, charges no international fees and also refunds all ATM service charges (about $17 pesos per withdrawal). I was routinely getting over U$S 100 per month refunded to me. With all these great benefits, this next statement might sound weird…

stopped using my Schwab ATM card and all my US credit cards in Argentina as of May 2012.

I have found a better option – Xoom. (If you have a UK account, use Azimo.)

Xoom is an international money transfer service (like Western Union, but with much lower fees). You can send up to U$S 2,000 per transaction and up to U$S 6000 in a 30 day period. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to their website, create an account and choose the amount you want to send
  2. Pay via direct debit from your bank account or choose to pay with debit/credit card (higher fees)
  3. Pickup the money from a More Money Transfers location or have it deposited into any Argentine bank account. If you choose to pick up the money, it will be ready within 15 minutes at most locations. Deposits to bank accounts take a couple of business days.

So, why is this better than using an ATM or foreign credit card? Because even with the Xoom fees taken into account, their exchange rate is so good that you’ll actually be getting more pesos on every transaction. For example, today’s official rate is $8.66 pesos per dollar. Xoom’s rate is $11.81. Here’s a quick breakdown of how that works out with an ATM withdrawal:

SendATM / Credit CardXoomSavings
Amount (USD)Official RatePesos ReceivedXoom RateXoom Fee (USD)Effective RatePesos ReceivedDifference (Pesos)Difference (USD)% Saved

How much you save depends on how much you typically withdraw in a month, but you can see that at U$S 2000, you’re saving almost 30%. Now you can see why I no longer use my ATM or credit cards, and send money with Xoom to my Argentine bank account and withdraw pesos from there. This also works great for tourists visiting the country – make a Xoom transfer before you come and then pick up your pesos at the More Money location in Buenos Aires when you get here.

You can also choose to use your credit card to transfer money to Xoom, but this has slightly higher fees and your bank will probably charge a cash advance fee as well as interest.

Want to give it a try? If you use any of my links to sign up, we’ll both get a $25 Amazon gift card from Xoom. This is pretty much free money too, because all you have to do is transfer $25 in order to get the gift card. So, if you only send $25, you’ll have $25 transferred plus an extra $25 on your bonus gift card for $0.29 more than a Schwab withdrawal would have cost you. Give it a try – there’s nothing to lose!

Some notes:

  • The Xoom website lists that you can pick up the money in pesos or dollars, but that is not correct. You can only get pesos.
  • I have transferred money to my bank account successfully and picked up money at More Money Transfers’ location.
  • There is several More Money locations in Capital Federal (Buenos Aires central) to pick up the money at. The main location is at Libertad 1057 between Santa Fe and Marcelo T. de Alvear.
  • If you have an ATM or credit card that charges fees, you can save even more money!
  • This works because Xoom is offering a rate is very close to the official ‘dolar blue‘ rate.
  • Xoom only works with US bank accounts or credit cards. You can use Azimo if you have a UK bank account.

Let me know if you were able to take advantage of this through our contact form and I’ll track that we both get the $25 Amazon gift card!


2 Peso Coin Coming to Argentina

Starting on Monday, December 12, 2011, a new $2 peso coin will begin circulation in Argentina. The current $2 peso notes will still be used as well.

Looks like the government is getting ready for more inflation though there is still no word on when $200 and $500 peso bills will be introduced.

Las nuevas monedas de 2 pesos circularán desde el lunes [La Nacion]


Buenos Aires News: Edition 5

Fires Burn Over 1,200 Acres In Argentina [LAHT]
A state of emergency has been declared in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, where more than 500 hectares (1,234 acres) of forest have been scorched by several fires, forcing the evacuation of dozens of people, officials said Sunday.

Argentine automakers to sell at cost, protect jobs [Reuters]
Argentine automakers will sell basic models at cost through state-subsidized loans in a plan to protect jobs in Latin America’s third-biggest economy from the global economic slowdown. Local plants of Renault SA, General Motors, Peugeot, Ford Motor Co. and other automakers will participate in the government’s plan to protect 150,000 auto industry jobs and to keep production from falling steeply next year.  Now this is an interesting idea!

Argentine Unions Want Floor for Peso Devaluation [Bloomberg]
Argentina’s union leaders want the government to put a limit on the peso’s devaluation, claiming that a softer currency will fuel inflation and undermine workers’ buying power.

Madge blows $1 million in hotel bill [The Times of India]
Madonna reportedly shelled out a million dollars on the Four Seasons hotel in Buenos Aires after she and her crew checked out from its posh premises. The megastar blew an alleged 9,000 dollars per night to stay at the hotel’s private mansion while her 200 backing dancers, singers, make-up artists, choreographers, managers and security checked into another 110 rooms – costing at least 600 dollars each.  Now, I know where at least part of my ticket money went!

Argentina Gun Swap Wildly Successful [IPS]
As a disarmament campaign launched 17 months ago in Argentina nears its end, the government and civil society groups involved in the initiative announced that it has far exceeded even the most optimistic projections, despite the lack of publicity.  The Interior Ministry reported that the programme, in which people voluntarily swap their firearms for cash, has so far collected over 102,000 guns and 721,000 munitions, all of which were destroyed.

Why Have So Many Restaurants Closed in Buenos Aires?  (english version) [La Nacion]
An interesting read, about the closure and pending closures of almost 300 restaurants in Buenos Aires due to the economic crisis. Many of these restaurants had relied on the tourist market and thus increased prices so significantly that they lost the locals. It will be intersting to see if the new visa tax that goes into effect on January 1 will cause a further decline in tourism and what the fallout will be.


Random Observations: Weeks 9 & 10

Ok, we’ve been slacking…well, not really slacking, we’ve been working hard, but work has unfortunately interefered with my ability to post as often as I would like. The move to BsAs was supposed to help reduce our workload, but right now it seems like we’re working as hard as ever.  Anyhow, we’ve made this week’s update a bit longer, so now on to the next installment of…

Random Observations: Week 9 and Week 10

  • This column is about the many cultural differences we’ve noticed in our time here. As I’ve said before, a lot of the things we talk about are gross generalizations and may be a bit oversimplified, but we’re just presenting our views.  Well, one interesting thing that came up in several discussions over the past couple of weeks was that with all the cultural differences, it was very easy for all of us to adapt to one thing…money.Yes, one of our reasons for coming here was that the dollar goes a bit farther, but it didn’t take us any time to start complaining about a $75 peso meal per person that we thought was a bit pricey (U$24 each), even though it included appetizer, a couple of bottles of wine, entree and dessert.  We would have thought that was a great deal in New York  Also, as soon as we heard that 10% was the acceptable amount for tipping your waiter, we quickly adjusted to that from the standard 20% in NYC.  No second thoughts.  And tipping taxi drivers, it’s almost unheard of, except for leaving them the extra change.  The other night I tried to give the taxi driver an extra $2 peso tip and he gave it back to me – pointing to the meter as if I had read it wrong. Ok…no more tipping then.So, with all the cultural experiences and adjustments, it’s nice to know that one thing really required no adjustment at all. (So long as it was decreased and not increased spending I guess.)  We may now have to adjust when we head back home.
  • Empanadas are everywhere!  They have empanada speciality stores; they’re delivered by the pizza places; sold in diners, grocery stores, pasta stores, etc.  I’ve eaten more empanadas in my time here, than throughout the rest of my life.  I initially thought all empanadas were the same, and bought them from the supermarket at least once a week, but then last week we had empanadas from Gourmet Empanada and I realized what I’ve been missing. I know now that I will never be able to eat a supermarket empanada again.
  • Buenos Aires still has a lot of old world charm.  Here’s a couple of the things I’ve especially enjoyed:
    • They still deliver coffee and lunch on trays to people. The coffees are in ceramic mugs and not paper cups, so I assume they also have to come back and pick them up. I’m sure throwing your sandwich (or empanada) in a plastic bag would be more efficient that using a tray too, but it would lose a lot of its charm.
    • A lot of the buildings still have old style elevators.  They’re very elegant contraptions where you have to close and open the doors yourself. Takes some getting used to, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly.
  • Almost every restaurant will serve you bread before your meal, but they almost never include butter.  Does everyone just eat plain bread?
  • A pretty funny billboard we came across ->
  • There are no half sizes in shoes here. Everything is only sold in full sizes. Now, I’m a 10 so that works for me, but Mersal is a 7 1/2, so she’s been having a difficult time.
  • Mother’s Day (Dia de la Madre) is this Sunday, October 19th.  It’s the third Sunday of October, while in the U.S. it’s the third Sunday of May, but they’re both right in the heart of the spring. Remember to call your mother!
  • I haven’t seen any screened windows in apartments here. All of our widows just open to the outside and now that it’s spring, we’ve had a lot more bugs, including a mosquito that got me about 10 times while I was sleeping the other night.  We’ll have to figure out what to do.
  • There is construction everywhere here.  I have heard that the government has cracked down on new building, but it would be hard to tell with scaffolding on almost every block and cranes all over the place. The face of this city changes every day.  I’m not sure what the building codes are like here, but the scaffolding and supports don’t look very secure.  Hopefully that doesn’t translate into the construction too.