Best travel money and currency options for Argentina

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

Whether you’re going on a wine-tasting tour in Mendoza, riding with gauchos or crossing the Patagonia to sightsee glaciers, you’ll want to carry cash, a debit card and a credit card to be prepared. Cash is more widely accepted in Argentina than other payment methods, so you’ll need some pesos on hand. However, you can pay with credit cards or even US dollars in many major stores, hotels and restaurants, especially if you’re sticking to large cities like Buenos Aires.

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Comparing travel, debit and credit cards

Visa and Mastercard are most common in Argentina, with American Express coming in third.

These are your options for spending money in Argentina

Using credit cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets in Buenos Aires and other major cities. Some smaller establishments and shops in rural areas may accept only cash. When you can use a credit card, go with travel rewards credit cards that don’t charge foreign transaction fees, as these fees can be high in Argentina.

Tips:

  • Avoid making ATM cash withdrawals and paying fees.
  • If asked, always pay in local currency and not in GBP.

Using debit cards

In Argentina, ATMs can be expensive, costing up to £8 or £8.88 per transaction, according to forums. Aside from paying foreign transaction fees, you’ll pay local ATM fees, and you’ll be limited to how many pesos you can get per withdrawal. You’ll need to make multiple withdrawals, adding up the fees.

  • Tip: Carry your debit card as a backup in case you run out of cash and need to make ATM withdrawals.

Using prepaid travel cards

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.

Paying with cash in Argentina

Cash is popular in Argentina. Museums, taxis, smaller shops and restaurants may accept only cash. Since ATMs in Argentina have fees and daily withdrawal limitations, you should consider carrying enough cash for up to 5 days. Keep ATM withdrawals as a backup option.

  • Tip: Carry smaller banknotes and make sure they are in good condition. Larger banknotes with markings 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, as they diversify your money and lower the risk of theft.
Pros
  • Security
Cons
  • Not accepted everywhere
  • Fees for purchasing and cashing checks

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

Bottom line

Credit cards are widely accepted in Buenos Aires and other large cities in Argentina. If you plan 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 are 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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