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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.

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

Travel money optionProsCons
Debit cards
  • No cash advance fee
  • No cash advance APR
  • No overdraft
  • Weak or no rewards
  • No access to a credit line
  • Most debit cards have foreign transaction fees from 1% to 3%.
PrePaid travel money cards
  • Can load multiple currencies
  • No cash advance APR
  • Many fees, including currency conversion fees
  • May take time to load
  • No rewards
Credit cards
  • Credit line access
  • Rewards
  • May come with travel insurance and coverage
  • May come with concierge service
  • Cash advance fees on ATMs
  • Cash advance APR on ATMs
Traveler’s checks
  • Security
  • Not accepted everywhere
  • Fees for purchasing and cashing checks
Cash
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • No need for ATMs
  • High risk of theft

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.

What are the best travel debit cards?

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.

Prepaid travel cards explained

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.

Traveler’s checks guide

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.

Compare travel cards for Argentina

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $750. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
N/A
4% at gas stations on up to $7,000 annually (then 1%), 3% at restaurants and on travel, 2% at Costco and 1% on all other purchases
$0
Earn valuable cash back on everyday purchases at gas stations, restaurants and Costco as well as eligible travel with no foreign fees.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card
25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months
9x total points at Hyatt hotels as a World of Hyatt member, 2x on gyms, commuting, dining and airlines and 1x on all other purchases
$95
Earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 25,000 points after spending another $6,000 in the first 6 months.
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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.

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?

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
USD 0 2 days USD 9.99 72.768 ARS 72,041 No fee for transfers of $5,000 or more to 177 countries, backed by an International Payments Price Promise. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 72.404 ARS 72,115 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 71.312 ARS 71,171 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 70.949 ARS 69,530 The biggest name in money transfers can get your funds to friends, family, or businesses in almost every corner of the globe. 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.

Read more on this topic

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