Guide to Using the ATM in Argentina – And Should You?

I did something today that I haven’t done in over 4 years… I used the ATM in Argentina to withdraw money from my US bank account.

Argentina Money Transfer Services Require CUILThat’s right, with Macri’s new government recently eliminating restrictions on buying dollars and devaluing the peso, the gap between the blue dollar rate and the official rate has dropped to only about 5-10% from a high of almost 60%. You can once again use your foreign debit card or credit card in Argentina without having to worry about losing a lot of money.

So, what do you need to know about using the ATM in Argentina?

First, get ready for a whopping ARS $79.80 (U$S 6) fee per transaction regardless of the amount you withdraw. To help offset this, we recommend using a debit card that refunds your ATM fees (like Charles Schwab Bank) or, if you have a Citibank debit card, using a Citibank ATM with no fee.

Because of this hefty fee, it makes sense to withdraw as much money as possible at one time. Unfortunately, the maximum amount you can withdraw per ATM transaction is ARS $2400 (some people report $2500, but in our tests Supervielle and Galicia are both $2400). You may make multiple transactions (up to the daily withdrawal limit imposed by your bank), but you’ll pay the U$S 6 fee each time.

The exchange rate you get at the ATM is based on the previous day’s rate as calculated by Visa. You can find this rate on the Visa Exchange Rate Calculator website. For my withdrawal today, I got a rate of $12.90. If I would have had to pay the ATM fee, the effective rate drops to $12.49.

Also, make sure your bank does not charge additional debit card fees for foreign currency transactions or using another bank’s ATM. Bank of America has some crazy fees – U$S 5 – U$S 10 for using a non-Bank of America ATM plus a 3% international transaction fee. Paying these additional fees is going to lower your exchange rate as well.

So, how much did I lose by using the ATM versus exchanging dollars at the blue rate?

Since cuevas were offering a blue rate of $13.90 today, I lost about 8%. (U$S 13.39 on my ARS $2400 withdrawal.)

How does this compare to using Xoom?

If I had used Xoom to transfer the same amount of money (U$S 186), I would have gotten a rate of $12.53. Xoom beats the ATM if you have to pay the transaction fee ($12.53 v $12.49). Xoom also works better for larger amounts of money, paying up to $12.80 today for bigger sums and not requiring you to make multiple transactions.

So, what’s the best thing to do?

If you have have dollars, exchanging on the blue market is still the way to go. In my example from today, I would have made 8% more on my money. While I still have USD, I’ll keep exchanging on the blue market, but it’s nice to know that I can use the ATM again in an emergency.

If you don’t have USD and need larger sums of money, Xoom is the way to go. If you transfer the maximum U$S 2999, you’ll get a rate of $12.80. It would take seventeen separate ATM transactions over a couple of days to get this same amount of pesos.

Of course, the blue market fluctuates daily so we’ll have to see if it differs more than the five to ten percent it has been. One just never knows in this country…

UPDATE
Here are some recent transactions to compare the ATM to the blue rate:

1/15/16: ATM, $13.23 / Blue, $14.10 / 6.37% difference
1/29/16, ATM, $13.76 / Blue, $14.05 / 2.09% difference

2/22/16: Traveling outside of Buenos Aires (Mar del Plata) I was only able to withdraw $1,000 pesos at a time and had to pay a $91.20 peso fee. Thankfully Schwab refunds that!

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  • Tere Linares

    I wanted to withdraw money on Friday, but I couldn’t. I stand in line waiting for my turn to withdraw money from an ATM at Banco Citi, person in front of me, she was a foreigner too, she couldn’t withdraw either. I tried at the Galicia and at the Patagonia, but without success.

    • What bank do you have? There should be a network logo on the back – what is that? You may need to call your bank and ask them.

  • Pingback: Banking and Credit Card Fees | Discover Buenos Aires()

  • Oscar

    I have a Chase Debit Card, and I couldn’t extract money from a Banelco ATM. Is there a particular ATM I should use? Thanks!

    • Did you have any luck? Look at the logos on the back of your card. It should work with those networks.

  • Daniel Tito

    I’m getting cash from HSBC ATMs, high fees

    • Yeah, the fees are horrible. Schwab is the best option.

  • Victoria Guerra S

    Hey, been trying to extract from my Bank of America debit card on Citi, BBVA, HSBC and Galicia with no luck, each time I got the message that the ATM couldn’t process my card. Any ideas?

    • I know people have been using BofA here. Did you call them yet to see if they have any restrictions on your card?

      • Victoria Guerra S

        No problem with them. The strangest bit is that I was able to use an ATM here a few weeks back and encountered no problems. Now, I’ve tried four different banks and get the same results.

  • cory

    I used my schwab card last night to pay for dinner, and received 14.139, not much difference from the blue rate. Time to start earning miles again by using cc’s here.

    • Yes, earning miles is good!

  • What about in a teller ? Is not possible in Argentine use cash advance as you would do in the US ?? No bank allow that?

    • Nope. You’ll have better luck using one fo the money transfer services like Xoom, Ria, etc.

      • I got a Payoneer card and unfortunately is not accepted in Xoom. And Also im fron argentina so I can’t use Ria either. Any other similar service ?

  • Sonia Wayne

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    I am Charles Rice from OHIO USA and life has been so difficult for me ever since the death of my Wife, i tried all i could to make sure i feed my family but things seems to get worse by the day. One Faithful day after i came back from church, i was chatting with my Mum on the Internet when i came across a comment of how CLASSICAL ATM HACKERS WORLDWIDE, helped her with a hacked ATM card. I doubted it because it sounds too easy, two days later, i came across another comment by Carmel Mulchrone commenting of how the the same man helped her with the same hacked card. But still i wanted to be sure, so i contacted Carmel Mulchrone and she told me that this was real. I had no choice than to give it a try by sending a mail to the organization, few seconds later i got a response demanding for my information which i did sent to him. He told me that i have nothing to be scared of that i will have my card withing three days, thou i still doubted him while waiting for a positive response from the hackers, but to my greatest surprise i got a call from the courier stating that i send them my address to enable them deliver my card which i also did, and two days later i received the hacked card and i was also given the pin. I went to the ATM machine to see if it really works i inserted the card and to my greatest surprise, i made a withdrawal of $9000.00 United Stated Dollars instantly. Please thus this is illegal if you need this same card without losing any thing, contact the email below: [email protected]}

  • Charles Rice

    I am Charles Rice from OHIO USA and life has been so difficult for me ever since the death of my Wife, i tried all i could to make sure i feed my family but things seems to get worse by the day. One Faithful day after i came back from church, i was chatting with my Mum on the Internet when i came across a comment of how CLASSICAL ATM HACKERS WORLDWIDE, helped her with a hacked ATM card. I doubted it because it sounds too easy, two days later, i came across another comment by Carmel Mulchrone commenting of how the the same man helped her with the same hacked card. But still i wanted to be sure, so i contacted Carmel Mulchrone and she told me that this was real. I had no choice than to give it a try by sending a mail to the organization, few seconds later i got a response demanding for my information which i did sent to him. He told me that i have nothing to be scared of that i will have my card withing three days, thou i still doubted him while waiting for a positive response from the hackers, but to my greatest surprise i got a call from the courier stating that i send them my address to enable them deliver my card which i also did, and two days later i received the hacked card and i was also given the pin. I went to the ATM machine to see if it really works i inserted the card and to my greatest surprise, i made a withdrawal of $9000.00 United Stated Dollars instantly. Please thus this is illegal if you need this same card without losing any thing, contact the email below: [email protected]}
    .

  • Charles Rice

    I am Charles Rice from OHIO USA and life has been so difficult for me ever since the death of my Wife, i tried all i could to make sure i feed my family but things seems to get worse by the day. One Faithful day after i came back from church, i was chatting with my Mum on the Internet when i came across a comment of how CLASSICAL ATM HACKERS WORLDWIDE, helped her with a hacked ATM card. I doubted it because it sounds too easy, two days later, i came across another comment by Carmel Mulchrone commenting of how the the same man helped her with the same hacked card. But still i wanted to be sure, so i contacted Carmel Mulchrone and she told me that this was real. I had no choice than to give it a try by sending a mail to the organization, few seconds later i got a response demanding for my information which i did sent to him. He told me that i have nothing to be scared of that i will have my card withing three days, thou i still doubted him while waiting for a positive response from the hackers, but to my greatest surprise i got a call from the courier stating that i send them my address to enable them deliver my card which i also did, and two days later i received the hacked card and i was also given the pin. I went to the ATM machine to see if it really works i inserted the card and to my greatest surprise, i made a withdrawal of $9000.00 United Stated Dollars instantly. Please thus this is illegal if you need this same card without losing any thing, contact the email below: [email protected]}

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    Thanks to Mr Martins and the entire staff of UNIONATMCARD for the help they give to me in getting one of their premium card am so glad to have met you guys and indeed am grateful,[email protected]

  • yellowpress

    Is there a way to withdraw USD from the Argentine ATMs? I think I read somewhere that the citi was offering USD ATMs, but I wonder if this is still true

    • No, there is no way to get USD from the ATM in Argentina.

  • yellowpress

    Btw, does schwab charge the currency conversion fees?

  • john michael

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  • Mrs. Brenna Helen

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