Credit cards are widely accepted in Argentina, but you may also need cash.
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.
Compare travel cards for Argentina
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.
Pros and Cons of travel money options in Argentina
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How credit cards, debit cards and travel cards work 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.
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.
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.
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.
Paying with cash
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.
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.
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. What’s the current USD to ARS exchange rate?
Compare money transfer services for Argentina
Argentina uses the peso with a symbol $ and a currency code ARS. Find the best service to transfer money to Argentina.
The exchange rates in the table are not locked in. Confirm your final rate on the provider’s site before completing any transaction.
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.