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-   -   Currency Controls (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/argentina/2002625-currency-controls.html)

timbre Jan 4, 20 5:13 am

Currency Controls
 
I have a mostly curiosity question about the currency controls.

I believe that the Argentinian government has fixed the US Dollar to Arg Peso exchange rate for banks ... meaning that ATM and Credit card transactions are processed at that rate.

I recently attended an event at a hotel ... they quoted me a price in US$ and made me sign a form agreeing to the price. However, when they brought me the bill it was in Arg Pesos ... which, of course, is normal in most countries. However, they used an exchange rate of more than 5% more than the government rate to calculate the amount of Arg Pesos I had to pay. This seems terribly wrong to me. Is this acceptable practice under the government regulations?

HIDDY Jan 4, 20 7:50 pm

Why didn't you ask them to charge you in pesos if that's what the bill said? Glad to be corrected but I don't think they can refuse not to.

Eastbay1K Jan 4, 20 10:36 pm


Originally Posted by HIDDY (Post 31909903)
Why didn't you ask them to charge you in pesos if that's what the bill said? Glad to be corrected but I don't think they can refuse not to.

Well, they did charge him in pesos at the rate the hotel decided to charge. He agreed to a US$ rate, without agreeing to any exchange rate. This is the problem. Buy rate? Sell rate? Interbank rate? Rate at the hotel desk? Yes, it appears the latter is what the hotel did.

And contrary to what the OP stated, I don't think the "official" rate has been fixed. I think the government has pumped as many US$ as it can stand to keep the rate relatively stable.

Unless you have guaranteed that you'll be charged actual US$ (which a lot of hotels on the other side of the Cordillera actually do - a US$ processed charge with no conversion on US$ quoted prices for foreigners), you can end up hosed. The Sheraton in Mexico City does it every time.

HIDDY Jan 5, 20 5:41 am

I suppose if it's all above board then they'll continue to do it that way. Does the hospitality business operate under different rules from other business or can anyone give you a bill in pesos and charge you in dollars as long as they get you to sign a piece of paper beforehand? All seems a bit underhand....then again, it is Argentina. :D

timbre Jan 5, 20 6:03 am

To me, it was quite underhanded. If you look at everything I signed it says nothing about charging in pesos or an exchange rate. I thought they might charge my card in US$. The whole thing does make me wonder how many other hotels in my lifetime have played this game.

In case you are all wondering ... how this ended ... I complained quite vociferously with several people and finally the manager deemed kind enough to talk with me. She argued with me but in the end we agreed to a much closer exchange rate. The final US$ amount on my credit card came at to just a little over $1 more than the amount I agreed to. Of course, the whole experience made me mad and not interested in ever doing business with them again.

Eastbay1K Jan 5, 20 7:45 am


Originally Posted by timbre (Post 31911015)
To me, it was quite underhanded. If you look at everything I signed it says nothing about charging in pesos or an exchange rate. I thought they might charge my card in US$. The whole thing does make me wonder how many other hotels in my lifetime have played this game.
.

Probably many. I'd expect that most hotels in most countries only have the ability to charge in local currency, That's the danger of US$ based pricing, and I seem to recall typically seeing some sort of disclaimer when booking "foreign" (i.e., non US) hotels with a USD rate.

I'm not defending any of this It is shady as all can be, because the hotels know their rate-du-jour is a hidden profit center, and most people don't blink, and if they do, they'll show you the disclaimer.

anc305 Jan 5, 20 7:53 am


Originally Posted by timbre (Post 31907575)
I have a mostly curiosity question about the currency controls.

I believe that the Argentinian government has fixed the US Dollar to Arg Peso exchange rate for banks ... meaning that ATM and Credit card transactions are processed at that rate.

I recently attended an event at a hotel ... they quoted me a price in US$ and made me sign a form agreeing to the price. However, when they brought me the bill it was in Arg Pesos ... which, of course, is normal in most countries. However, they used an exchange rate of more than 5% more than the government rate to calculate the amount of Arg Pesos I had to pay. This seems terribly wrong to me. Is this acceptable practice under the government regulations?

This is a comment I made on another thread back in April 2019

Just a note on exchange rates for folks heading down to Argentina. Most hotels are quoted in USD and converted to ARS at time of checkout. The hotels in BA will try to screw you by 2% - 6% on the official rate . They like to make up their own exchange rate. One hotel used 45.5 ARS / $ when the official exchange rate was 43.5 ARS / $. Not a lot you can do. Not a big deal but can add up on a long stay. Remember TIA - This is Argentina. Just factor in the scams and have fun. Still a pretty fair value.

It varies from hotel to hotel. I just want the normal credit card rate. I sent a statement charge from the bus service to EZE on the same day as my hotel checkout to the hotel manager. I asked for nothing but an explanation. He adjusted the charge to reflect the same rate. This was my not my intent. I just do not like being taken advantage of.

HIDDY Jan 5, 20 10:44 am

Well done for questioning it and getting them to discount the rate they wanted to charge. ^

Far too many businesses here especially in the retail trade operate in mysterious ways...always to the disadvantage of the customer. First world prices....third world service.:td:

Eastbay1K Jan 5, 20 12:56 pm


Originally Posted by HIDDY (Post 31911703)
Well done for questioning it and getting them to discount the rate they wanted to charge. ^

Far too many businesses here especially in the retail trade operate in mysterious ways...always to the disadvantage of the customer. First world prices....third world service.:td:

I can tell you that I'm not paying first world prices at $74 to $1. It isn't that inflation won't soon catch up, but right now is an excellent time to spend your US Dollars here.
(On the other hand, I did walk by Casa Las Lilias a few days ago, looked at the menu, and yes, you will continue to pay first world prices there, even in Blue.)

HIDDY Jan 5, 20 1:24 pm


Originally Posted by Eastbay1K (Post 31912139)
I can tell you that I'm not paying first world prices at $74 to $1. It isn't that inflation won't soon catch up, but right now is an excellent time to spend your US Dollars here.
(On the other hand, I did walk by Casa Las Lilias a few days ago, looked at the menu, and yes, you will continue to pay first world prices there, even in Blue.)

I'm not a tourist.

Eastbay1K Jan 5, 20 1:32 pm


Originally Posted by HIDDY (Post 31912258)
I'm not a tourist.

You chose your life! Escape from Haggis (that should be a movie title) doesn't come cheaply :D

HIDDY Jan 5, 20 2:02 pm


Originally Posted by Eastbay1K (Post 31912277)
You chose your life! Escape from Haggis (that should be a movie title) doesn't come cheaply :D

Yeah no haggis but at least they do a decent black pudding here. :p
I'm not complaining but I think we have to remember many who live here aren't as fortunate as me or the dollar carrying tourist. Yes it's still a bargain country for most tourists but I honestly don't think the value and quality is as great as it once was. Sadly, I don't see any sign of things improving.

Eastbay1K Jan 5, 20 2:05 pm


Originally Posted by HIDDY (Post 31912374)
Yeah no haggis but at least they do a decent black pudding here. :p
I'm not complaining but I think we have to remember many who live here aren't as fortunate as me or the dollar carrying tourist. Yes it's still a bargain country for most tourists but I honestly don't think the value and quality is as great as it once was. Sadly, I don't see any sign of things improving.

And here, I was posting to encourage tourism and improve things, and you're all Debbie Downer! (This is FT, after all, with an audience of travelers.)

Yes, I remember and am reminded constantly, as I'm a "regular" and associate with "many who live here," and work in mundane jobs that don't pay very well.

HIDDY Jan 5, 20 2:30 pm


Originally Posted by Eastbay1K (Post 31912389)
And here, I was posting to encourage tourism and improve things, and you're all Debbie Downer! (This is FT, after all, with an audience of travelers.)
.

Indeed....I just don't want to give people the wrong impression regarding the purchasing power of their foreign currency especially when it comes to quality. My family from the UK were here recently for ten days staying in Buenos Aires and had a great time. However not once did they say it was a bargain destination.....and they're not exactly short of a few bob.

livious Jan 26, 20 10:40 am

Sorry to interrupt :), but I am with Hiddy on the cost of visiting Argentina. We (family of 4) spent 3+ weeks in Argentina around the holidays and it cost more than we anticipated. I would not describe the trip as expensive, but hotels and food were a bit higher than expected (even after the VAT reduction). If you are moving around the country, transportation costs really start to add up as well.

With that being said, we would return without hesitation. Amazing country, good food and wine and loads of culture...definitely worth the cost! But tourists should be aware that things are not that cheap, even with the peso falling.

Gaucho100K Jan 28, 20 2:34 pm

Argentina has never been an inexpensive destination. The value proposition varies, depending on the relative exchange rate. As pointed above, now is a very good time to come down, as the values can be very good to excellent.... but, Argentina is not a budget destination. The world is large and there are plenty of "cheap" places to visit..... Argentina isn't one of them.

Sadly, I do have to agree with Hiddy in his comments above about Service. Argentina is still very much "in diapers" when it comes to treating tourists. A lot of folks that work with and are in the tourism industry still see visitors as walking ATMs, and this is the worst possible approach. Visitors that come, have a good time and are treated fairly will provide invaluable word-of-mouth and encourage their friends/acquaintances to visit.... that kind of publicity cannot be bought, no matter how high your marketing budget is.

Thanks to all the regular visitors to these forums that help potential visitors to Argentina gather information... I couldn't do it all by myself !!!

Cheers from EZE,
Alex / Gaucho100K

lhrsfo Jan 31, 20 4:39 am


Originally Posted by livious (Post 31996587)
Sorry to interrupt :), but I am with Hiddy on the cost of visiting Argentina. We (family of 4) spent 3+ weeks in Argentina around the holidays and it cost more than we anticipated. I would not describe the trip as expensive, but hotels and food were a bit higher than expected (even after the VAT reduction). If you are moving around the country, transportation costs really start to add up as well.

With that being said, we would return without hesitation. Amazing country, good food and wine and loads of culture...definitely worth the cost! But tourists should be aware that things are not that cheap, even with the peso falling.

This was my impression also. Certain things, especially transportation, were fiendishly expensive. If we hadn't been extremely careful to use Blue dollars wherever we could, the whole trip would have been ruinous, but with Blue dollars it was fair value. I loved it all but hated dealing with Blue dollars. There are many places in the world where you can get better value without the hassle and Argentina only loses by doing business in this way.

malagajohn Jan 31, 20 5:09 am

lhrsfo , Please let us know what transport you found expensive.

With the exception of car hire most other transport seems reasonable to me

HIDDY Feb 2, 20 7:02 am


Originally Posted by lhrsfo (Post 32015586)
I loved it all but hated dealing with Blue dollars. There are many places in the world where you can get better value without the hassle and Argentina only loses by doing business in this way.

Yes not everyone feels comfortable dealing in Blue dollars. I know someone who was worried they would have to knock on a door up some dark back alley with the chance of being mugged or arrested.
It gives out the wrong message and does the country no favours.:td:

Flying Machine Feb 2, 20 7:27 am


Originally Posted by HIDDY (Post 32023462)
Yes not everyone feels comfortable dealing in Blue dollars. I know someone who was worried they would have to knock on a door up some dark back alley with the chance of being mugged or arrested.
It gives out the wrong message and does the country no favours.:td:

Why is that? Every Argentine I know deals with Blue? Many people have agents come to their home via a mobile service. I go to a Cuerva In a very nice neighborhood, with bulletproof glass windows just like a bank come and a police man outside most of the days. Itís a very vibrant location and most are either changing pesos into dollars for savings, or withdrawing dollars for spending money. I feel very comfortable.

Flying Machine Feb 2, 20 7:30 am


Originally Posted by Flying Machine (Post 32023524)
Why is that? Every Argentine I know deals with Blue? Many people have agents come to their home via a mobile service. I go to a Cuerva In a very nice neighborhood, with bulletproof glass windows it feels just like a bank... with a police man outside most of the days. Itís a very vibrant location and most are either changing pesos into dollars for savings, or withdrawing dollars for spending money. I feel very comfortable.


HIDDY Feb 2, 20 10:35 am


Originally Posted by Flying Machine (Post 32023524)
Why is that? Every Argentine I know deals with Blue? Many people have agents come to their home via a mobile service. I go to a Cuerva In a very nice neighborhood, with bulletproof glass windows just like a bank come and a police man outside most of the days. It’s a very vibrant location and most are either changing pesos into dollars for savings, or withdrawing dollars for spending money. I feel very comfortable.

We're taking about foreign visitors especially first time ones to the country, not Argentines....the locals are the ones who got us into this mess in the first place. :D

Gaucho100K Feb 10, 20 6:56 am


Originally Posted by malagajohn (Post 32015641)
lhrsfo , Please let us know what transport you found expensive.

With the exception of car hire most other transport seems reasonable to me

I agree 100% with malagajohn on this.... perhaps domestic airfares for non residents is also an area where relative pricing is not very attractive in Argentina. Aside from the noted Car Rental Costs, all other forms of transportation are good to very good value - especially for visitors.

Eastbay1K Feb 10, 20 9:50 am


Originally Posted by HIDDY (Post 32023987)
We're taking about foreign visitors especially first time ones to the country, not Argentines....the locals are the ones who got us into this mess in the first place. :D

Exacto. For many / most international travelers, the concepts of (1) traveling with and relying on cash, and (2) having to go through a non-official route to get it, are the issues. Also, the wads of cash that one must walk around with are a bit "unreasonable" again ... Until the new Nestor, Hugo and Fidel notes are printed (and who knows how much they'll be worth once coming into circulation).

Flying Machine Feb 10, 20 9:58 am


Originally Posted by Eastbay1K (Post 32055102)
Exacto. For many / most international travelers, the concepts of (1) traveling with and relying on cash, and (2) having to go through a non-official route to get it, are the issues. Also, the wads of cash that one must walk around with are a bit "unreasonable" again ... Until the new Nestor, Hugo and Fidel notes are printed (and who knows how much they'll be worth once coming into circulation).

I actually disagree, most flyers whom travel internationally are somewhat savvy these days. Especially Flyertalkers! Isnít that what Flyertalk is all about. There are Cuevas in every neighborhood, even the posh ones. For me I know several and itís not that hard to dip in there and just cash a $100 dollar bill or several at a time. Wasnít there a post a while back that people were stating that blue makes sense once again. When the margins are low I totally understand, but itís something to look into.

Eastbay1K Feb 10, 20 1:31 pm


Originally Posted by Flying Machine (Post 32055148)
I actually disagree, most flyers whom travel internationally are somewhat savvy these days. Especially Flyertalkers! Isnít that what Flyertalk is all about. There are Cuevas in every neighborhood, even the posh ones. For me I know several and itís not that hard to dip in there and just cash a $100 dollar bill or several at a time. Wasnít there a post a while back that people were stating that blue makes sense once again. When the margins are low I totally understand, but itís something to look into.

Oh, Blue makes sense, and I further sense it will be another 4 years or so before I visit another ATM in La Patria. save some urgent situation, but being savvy and being chronically inconvenienced by currency matters are different things. Compound this with the fact that the US$ gets you more, so our Ä and £ and other friends first need to buy their $ to then bring to La Arg to change into AR$ for "maximum value."

abeyro Feb 13, 20 10:58 am

My recent visit to BA beg Feb 2020.
Easy and safe exchange at Florida at 73 pesos per USD.
Then a huge bife de lomo at London Steak House at Florida 800 pesos.
Then a bottle of Malbec there at 390 pesos.
Then a taxi from there to Plaza Dorrego (San Telmo) for 215 pesos (the driver received 250 pesos and thanked profoudly).
Who says it's not a bargain (for the time being, at least)? :-)

My previous visit, 2 years ago: the exchange rate at Florida was 17 pesos/$ and the prices in pesos were half of those quoted above.

Gaucho100K Feb 13, 20 6:25 pm

Please allow me to Congratulate you on your positive "attitude" with your review and how you seem to have enjoyed your trip. Its all too often that I have to read about folks that come down and spend a very relevant (if not all) amount of their time and energy trying to squeeze out each and every last peso out of their hard currency, are constantly crunching numbers and benchmarking what costs more here or there..... its hard to understand how these folks can have a good time while on "vacation". I think your approach to relax, look more at the positives rather than the negatives is the guaranteed way to have a GREAT trip and create memorable moments that will last a life-time.

Please let me know next time you are in EZE, I would be most happy to treat you to a bottle of a nice small production Malbec.

Cheers,
Alex / Gaucho100K


Originally Posted by abeyro (Post 32068052)
My recent visit to BA beg Feb 2020.
Easy and safe exchange at Florida at 73 pesos per USD.
Then a huge bife de lomo at London Steak House at Florida 800 pesos.
Then a bottle of Malbec there at 390 pesos.
Then a taxi from there to Plaza Dorrego (San Telmo) for 215 pesos (the driver received 250 pesos and thanked profoudly).
Who says it's not a bargain (for the time being, at least)? :-)

My previous visit, 2 years ago: the exchange rate at Florida was 17 pesos/$ and the prices in pesos were half of those quoted above.


abeyro Oct 31, 21 6:29 am

I have been lagging in thanking you for your kind offer of Malbec. Sorry about that but you know the reason.
I hoped the corona vaccination cards would give a way to return to normalcy but apparently it's NOT going to happen soon.
Nth wave of pandemia in Europe and airtickets skyrocketing...
Will I ever be able to be in the beloved Buenos again?

Gaucho100K Oct 31, 21 3:03 pm

Borders are re-opening on November 1st for fully vaccinated tourists from (most) destinations. Please check the other threads for more information.

CLEguy Oct 31, 21 3:51 pm

I'm not strictly concerned with overall costs while visiting Argentina (in January, knock wood), but I am wondering how I should approach my strategy for using cash or credit cards in-country. How might I think about this? Bring USD in or use ATM? Use USD or convert to ARS? Where? How much? Thoughts appreciated.

Gaucho100K Oct 31, 21 6:53 pm

No credit cards for the forseeable future.... they are widely accepted, but the exchange rate will not be good. There are talks about a special virtual bank account for tourists that needs to be funded with wired funds... but still havent seen the fine print and all the details. This system will probably give visitors a better exchange rate, but the system may not be for everybody due to the hassles etc. Best bet it to come down with USD Cash (in very good condition) and get the best exchange rate.

I will post more details as available.....

Flying Machine Oct 31, 21 9:42 pm

Current Blue Rate for reference
 
193,50
Compra
197,50
Venta

malagajohn Nov 1, 21 9:25 am

Come down with some cash and use the services of Western Union to top up as you need

Credit cards from outside the country use the official rate which is not good for the user

ATMs also use the official rate apart from the crazy charges - ok , I know some people get charges refunded but the rates are only good for the government.

The talk in the street is that the special virtual bank account mentioned by Gaucho100K will exchange at 180 to the dollar - But as he says the detail is nowhere to be seen and likely to be a hassle if you are on a 2 week vacation.

Flying Machine Nov 1, 21 9:29 am


Originally Posted by malagajohn (Post 33692438)
Come down with some cash and use the services of Western Union to top up as you need

Credit cards from outside the country use the official rate which is not good for the user

ATMs also use the official rate apart from the crazy charges - ok , I know some people get charges refunded but the rates are only good for the government.

The talk in the street is that the special virtual bank account mentioned by Gaucho100K will exchange at 180 to the dollar - But as he says the detail is nowhere to be seen and likely to be a hassle if you are on a 2 week vacation.

Western Union works incredibly well. You could even use your credit card in the US to pay for the transaction. Friends of mine send money to their family monthly. No hassle for pick up or anything as it goes directly into the Argentine bank account of the beneficiary .Rates pretty much mimics the Blue Rate

If you send it for pick up at a western union location in Buenos Aires you just have to make sure that they have available cash on hand.

CLEguy Nov 1, 21 9:35 am

This all sounds like an incredible hassle! This trip is going to be fun but enormously annoying.

Flying Machine Nov 1, 21 9:47 am


Originally Posted by CLEguy (Post 33692465)
This all sounds like an incredible hassle! This trip is going to be fun but enormously annoying.

Not at all annoying. Itíll actually be a fun experience. People on the board are going to direct you to a spot or two where you can cash crisp $100 bills into the Blue Rate. Keep in mind the Blue Rate gives you about 100% more buying power over the national rate

malagajohn Nov 1, 21 10:14 am

Just checked on the WU site a few moments ago - They are paying out at 202 today.

The only thing is that it seems that US residents are paying higher fees than Europeans.

Why?

Not sure..

Talking to a financial friend to see if he can explain why WU are paying above 200.

Eastbay1K Nov 1, 21 11:09 am


Originally Posted by malagajohn (Post 33692582)
Just checked on the WU site a few moments ago - They are paying out at 202 today.

The only thing is that it seems that US residents are paying higher fees than Europeans.

Why?

Not sure..

Talking to a financial friend to see if he can explain why WU are paying above 200.

WU probably has cash in Argentina that is fairly worthless and unable to get out of the country in any meaningful manner. The cash that "we" pay for our AR$ never enters Argentina.

And that is my speculation.

CLEguy Nov 1, 21 12:40 pm


Originally Posted by Flying Machine (Post 33692512)
Not at all annoying. Itíll actually be a fun experience. People on the board are going to direct you to a spot or two where you can cash crisp $100 bills into the Blue Rate. Keep in mind the Blue Rate gives you about 100% more buying power over the national rate

Ha, I hope so. I'd love to know some spots in BA or Mendoza (near the PH in each) where one might do that.


Originally Posted by malagajohn (Post 33692582)
Just checked on the WU site a few moments ago - They are paying out at 202 today.

The only thing is that it seems that US residents are paying higher fees than Europeans.

Why?

Not sure..

Talking to a financial friend to see if he can explain why WU are paying above 200.

WU site just now shows 207...


Originally Posted by Eastbay1K (Post 33692721)
WU probably has cash in Argentina that is fairly worthless and unable to get out of the country in any meaningful manner. The cash that "we" pay for our AR$ never enters Argentina.

And that is my speculation.

What is "the cash that 'we' pay" in this context?


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