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change pounds in Brazil or UK?

change pounds in Brazil or UK?

Old Oct 21, 15, 4:28 am
  #1  
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change pounds in Brazil or UK?

Hello

I am traveling to Brazil this week. I was wondering if it is better to change money in the UK or in Brazil. What will give me the best rate? I am going to Rio de Janeiro.
Thinksamuel is offline  
Old Oct 21, 15, 4:51 am
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Your exchange rate will be slightly better if you change money in Rio.

Howsoever this rule usually does not apply if changing money at the airport or at your hotel.
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Old Oct 21, 15, 5:52 am
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You would do best at ATMs in Brazil. (However those at GIG are known to be compromised.) You can either change enough for a taxi at the airport exchange booth (not good rate) or take a pre-paid by credit card taxi, until you can find an ATM. There are also 'cambio' offices in Copacabana if you bring cash (dollars/euros preferred). Credit cards are widely accepted for hotels, restaurants, and even small purchases, but keep the card in sight at all times when paying, and carry it in a place secure from pickpockets.
Have a good trip.
VidaNaPraia is offline  
Old Oct 21, 15, 5:53 am
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You likely will get the best rate at an ATM, as the credit card companies set the rate for them, not the banks, but numerous past reports on here have indicated using the ATMs at the airports can be very risky.
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Old Oct 21, 15, 9:28 am
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Combination between ATMs and using your home credit card will be best. You can prepay for your regular yellow taxi inside the terminal from AeroTaxi or AeroCoop by using your credit card.

Bear in mind your foreign card will most likely be accepted at a "Banco 24h" ATM (at Santander, HSBC, and Citibank), but usually not at Itau, Bradesco, Banco do Brasil or Caixa.

Finally, you'll want to make most of your transactions by credit card anyway, except for taxis, and small items/drinks from street vendors which are usually cash only. It's not optimal walking around with wads of cash in Rio, from a security point of view, and certainly not displaying a fat gringo wallet as you get out of a cab in Lapa.
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Old Oct 21, 15, 10:17 am
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I've had a foreign debit card accepted at Banco do Brasil and Bradecsco ATMs, often the machines specifically marked as being used for foreign cards. Banco 24 is a large network of ATMs. Citibnk in Fortaleza uses them, for example.
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Old Oct 21, 15, 10:35 am
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Unless things have changed in the past year I also had no problem using foreign debit card at Bradesco and Banco do Brasil ATM's. I try to follow my own basic rules when using ATM in foreign country: during banking hours, daytime, preferably inside bank lobby and not free standing outside ATM, not using ATM inside convenience stores etc.
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Old Oct 24, 15, 6:56 am
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Originally Posted by VidaNaPraia View Post
There are also 'cambio' offices in Copacabana if you bring cash (dollars/euros preferred).
It does not make sense for him to bring Dollars or Euros. Do bring Pounds currency exchange offices will accept them without a problem.
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Old Oct 24, 15, 1:52 pm
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You will get hosed changing in the UK for sure but maybe not changing in brasil, depending how you do it.

i always take money out of hsbc ATMs in Ipanema or Leblon, they give me excellent rates (sometimes only shaving 1-2 centavos off the actual rate) and always work. I've had some serious problems at Brazilian bank, especially banco brasil, ATMs and as a result never ever use them anymore. I have been seeing some cambios in copa posting very good rates on their shop windows lately, like within 2 cents of the actual rates, but don't know if they tack on a "service fee" to make it a bad deal.
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Old Oct 25, 15, 9:42 am
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This also depends on how much money you will require. If you need several thousand reais at once then exchange cash at a local cambio (usually a travel agency). Definitely do some comparison shopping if you have the time. Large denomination bills get a better rate.

Bradesco ATM's give a maximum of 800 reais per transaction. (You can withdraw more than once in multiple transactions depending on your limit at home). Banco do Brasil ATM's give up to 1k per transaction. The HSBC limit was the lowest the last time I checked.

Cover the keypad when keying in your PIN or your card may be cloned.

Don't forget to advise your bank you will be in Brazil or the fraud department will shut down your card.

Also, if you put a little credit on skype you will be able to call the fraud department should your card be shut down.

Enjoy yourself
too2early is offline  
Old Dec 1, 15, 12:29 pm
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Going to Rio in 3 weeks from the US and was hoping to exchange USD to BRL at the airport. From reading this, guess that is not a good idea. We have already prepaid for our taxi. Of course, we would like to tip our driver but will not have any BRL. Should we ask our driver to stop at a safe ATM or do most accept USD as tips??

Then on to Buenos Aires.... same questions for Argentina.

Thanks
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Old Dec 1, 15, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by slhansen219 View Post
Should we ask our driver to stop at a safe ATM or do most accept USD as tips??

Then on to Buenos Aires.... same questions for Argentina.

Thanks
There is no tipping of taxis here, especially not on top of your already inflated pre-arranged taxi. Just go straight to your hotel then ask where the closest Citibank or hsbc is. And especially don't take money out of an atm in Argentina. Do some research and find out a safe place to exchange money at the blue market rate and you will literally get almost twice as many pesos back.
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Old Dec 1, 15, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Esmjb View Post
There is no tipping of taxis here, especially not on top of your already inflated pre-arranged taxi. Just go straight to your hotel then ask where the closest Citibank or hsbc is. And especially don't take money out of an atm in Argentina. Do some research and find out a safe place to exchange money at the blue market rate and you will literally get almost twice as many pesos back.
Are ATMs in Rio ok or just the banks?? I'm surprised the ATMs are so compromised in Buenos Aires! I just so used to traveling in Western Europe, never even gave that a thought!

We'll be staying at the JW Marriott in Rio and the a Sheraton in Buenos Aires. Hopefully they both can direct us to the nearest bank. If not, I guess we'll just exchange at the hotels. We'll probably only be exchanging a very small about, $100 ea location, as everything has been prepaid, so even the bad exchange rates won't be a big loss.

Thanks for your help!!
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Old Dec 2, 15, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by slhansen219 View Post
Are ATMs in Rio ok or just the banks?? I'm surprised the ATMs are so compromised in Buenos Aires!
Banks are plentiful in rio so I honestly have never tried to take cash out of an ATM that wasn't in a bank so why risk it?

As for buenos Aires, you misunderstood me. I never said ATMs there were compromised. I'm guessing you aren't aware that the official government rate of the peso is currently around 9.7 to 1. But the "blue market" rate is over 15. Even if you only change $100 at the blue rate that's still an extra 600 pesos in your pocket. I assume your hotel will know where a safe place to change your money is but otherwise do some research. I have heard many stores will give you that rate if you pay in dollars too but have not done it myself.
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Old Dec 2, 15, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by slhansen219 View Post
Are ATMs in Rio ok or just the banks?? I'm surprised the ATMs are so compromised in Buenos Aires! I just so used to traveling in Western Europe, never even gave that a thought!

We'll be staying at the JW Marriott in Rio and the a Sheraton in Buenos Aires. Hopefully they both can direct us to the nearest bank. If not, I guess we'll just exchange at the hotels. We'll probably only be exchanging a very small about, $100 ea location, as everything has been prepaid, so even the bad exchange rates won't be a big loss.

Thanks for your help!!
The ATMs at GIG airport in Rio are compromised (consistently over the last few years). You would probably get a better rate at one of the "casa de cambio" cash exchange shops than at the hotel. Or find an ATM in a bank lobby, usually fine, but ATMs may have a limit, especially at night.
What bad exchange rate? The dollar is very strong against the real right now.
Even so, you might want a bit more than U$100 if you'll be there more than a day with another person. Are your entrance tickets to the Cristo and Sugarloaf paid? All your drinks and meals? Aren't you going to enjoy some samba music at a club in Lapa at night? Are you planning to use credit cards for all that?
VidaNaPraia is offline  

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