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Travel money guide: Argentina

Credit cards are widely accepted in Argentina, but you may also need cash.

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Whether you’re going on a wine-tasting tour or riding with gauchos, you’ll need money on your trip to Argentina. Carry a credit card to cover some expenses, but always carry some cash too as it is more widely accepted in Argentina.

Our picks for traveling to Argentina

American Express® Gold Card logo

Our pick for travel credit card

American Express® Gold Card

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5
Wise Multi-currency logo

Our pick for multi-currency debit card

Wise Multi-currency

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.5/5
SoFi Money logo

Our pick for 0% transaction fee debit card

SoFi Money

★★★★★
Finder rating: 4.6/5

Comparing travel, debit and credit cards

Visa and Mastercard are most common in Argentina with American Express coming in third. Discover cards are not as widely accepted. To save money using a credit card, make sure your card has no foreign transaction fees, which can cost 3% on every transaction.

If you own a Discover card, you might struggle to find an ATM that accepts them. Opt to use a debit card at ATMs to avoid expensive ATM fees including credit card cash advance fees and high APRs.

These are your options for spending money in Argentina

Using a credit card

Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets in Buenos Aires and the other major cities. Some smaller establishments and shops in rural areas may accept only cash.

Tips:

  • Avoid making ATM cash withdrawals and paying fees.
  • If asked, always pay in local currency and not in US dollars.
Pros
  • Credit line access
  • Rewards
  • May come with travel insurance and coverage
  • May come with concierge service
Cons
  • Cash advance fees on ATMs
  • Cash advance APR on ATMs

Using a debit card

Typically, debit cards are ideal for ATM cash withdrawals. But in Argentina, they could be expensive to use. Aside from paying foreign transaction fees, you could pay local ATM fees and you are limited to around $100 per withdrawal. This means you’ll need to make multiple withdrawals adding more fees.

  • Tip: Carry your debit card as a backup in case you run out off cash and need to make ATM withdrawals.
Pros
  • No cash advance fee
  • No cash advance APR
  • No overdraft
Cons
  • Weak or no rewards
  • No access to a credit line
  • Most debit cards have foreign transaction fees from 1% to 3%.

Using a prepaid travel card

Prepaid travel cards are usually an alternative to debit cards. However, in Argentina, they could cost you more than they’re worth. If you already have a Prepaid travel card, use it to make payments where accepted.

  • Tip: Avoid ATM cash withdrawals or use them as a last resort. Prepaid cards are already full of fees.
Pros
  • Can load multiple currencies
  • No cash advance APR
Cons
  • Many fees, including currency conversion fees
  • May take time to load
  • No rewards

Paying with cash in Argentina

Cash is popular in Argentina. Museums, taxis, smaller shops and restaurants may accept only cash. This leaves you with two options: carry some cash from the US or make a cash withdrawal. Since ATMs in Argentina have fees and daily withdrawal limitations, you should consider carrying enough cash to last for up to five days. Keep ATM withdrawals as a backup option.

  • Tip: Carry smaller banknotes and make sure they are in good condition. Larger banknotes with marking or slight wearing could be declined.
Pros
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • No need for ATMs
Cons
  • High risk of theft

Using traveler’s checks

Traveler’s checks are rarely accepted in Argentina. Some high-end shops in Buenos Aires might accept them, but you’ll likely have to find a bank to cash them. This could cost you additional time and fees, which makes traveler’s checks a poor cash alternative in Argentina.

  • Tip: Traveler’s checks can be a good choice if you carry a lot of cash. This will diversify your money and will lower the risk of theft.
Pros
  • Security
Cons
  • Not accepted everywhere
  • Fees for purchasing and cashing checks

Compare travel cards for Argentina

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, every day
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months ​from account opening
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
100,000 miles after you spend $10,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
10x miles on hotel and rental car purchases booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, and 2x miles on every other purchase

$395
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Earn unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
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Where can I get the best exchange rate for Argentinian peso?

You’ll get the best exchange rates at the bank or airport — but always have your passport with you. Don’t expect to get the best rate at hotels. Some high-end hotels let let you pay in US dollars, but you’ll save money by paying with the peso.

Live Rate

= ARS$ 104.7936

Refreshing in: 60s | Sat, Jan 29, 02:18AM GMT

Common Argentine peso banknotes:

5 Argentinian Peso Banknote10 Argentinian Peso Banknote20 Argentinian Peso Banknote
50 Argentinian Peso Banknote100 Argentinian Peso Banknote

The main banks in Argentina are:

  • Banco Credicoop
  • Banco de la Nación Argentina
  • Banco Hipotecario
  • Banco Itaú Argentina
  • Banco Macro
  • Banco Patagonia
  • Banco Santander Río
  • Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires
  • BBVA Argentina
  • Central Bank of Argentina
  • Citibank Argentina
  • Bank of the City of Buenos Aires
  • Grupo Financiero Galicia
  • HSBC Bank Argentina
  • ICBC

Using money transfers

Consider a money transfer service if you don’t want to carry a lot of cash. Worldremit, for example, gives you an excellent exchange rate and money transferred to your destination country.

You need to use Argentinian phone number and local address to make the transfer. If you don’t have one, Worldremit recommends using the address and the phone number of the hotel or the place you’ll be staying so the company can contact you if necessary.

Cash pickup services in Argentina

Argentina uses the peso with a symbol $ and a currency code ARS. Find the best service to transfer money to Argentina.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 104.27 ARS 103,854 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups. Go to site Show details
$10 Within an hour USD 1.99 102.698 ARS 102,493 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 102.174 ARS 100,130 Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Verdict

Credit cards are widely accepted in Buenos Aires and the other large cities in Argentina. If you’re planning to use a credit card in Argentina, compare credit cards without foreign transaction fees. But make sure to carry cash for smaller shops, family-owned restaurants, taxis and other incidentals.

ATM cash withdrawals is an option, but due to ATM withdrawal limitations and fees, it may be best to take some cash with you and use a debit card as a last resort.

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