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Chile, Argentina, Uruguay - best way to pay

Chile, Argentina, Uruguay - best way to pay

Old Mar 5, 18, 5:22 pm
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Chile, Argentina, Uruguay - best way to pay

First time to South America. We are still confused what the best way is to pay in these countries. We read that for Argentina and Chile it is cash, Uruguay debit cards. That means, we are either travelling with a large sum of US Dollars/Euros or we use ATM machines. We are concerned about the high surcharges at ATM machines, machines running out of money. Any advise is appreciated.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 2:48 pm
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In my experience traveling in those countries, there were very few times I couldn't use a credit card.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Budapest View Post
First time to South America. We are still confused what the best way is to pay in these countries. We read that for Argentina and Chile it is cash, Uruguay debit cards. That means, we are either travelling with a large sum of US Dollars/Euros or we use ATM machines. We are concerned about the high surcharges at ATM machines, machines running out of money. Any advise is appreciated.
Chile (at least in the cities) CC's are accepted most everywhere. Keep smaller $ bills for incidental purchases at small vendors.
Argentina - Many places have their "CCs temporarily suspended" signs up for years. Even if there's a CC logo sticker in the window, ask if the place takes CCs before you eat, etc. Many will, some won't. (Most places won't want your USD$ unless they are excellent condition $100s.)
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Old Mar 6, 18, 8:07 pm
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In Chile. do understand that "cash" refers to Chilean pesos as USD is not accepted for payment except at perhaps tour agencies who deal with foreigners who primarily use USD and even if someplace outside that description accepts USD, it will be at a very bad rate.

Chile ATMs or Casa de Cambio (not the one at the airport) are the best ways to get cash CLP.

There is a thread regarding Chile ATMs if you search and look.
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Old Mar 7, 18, 7:25 am
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There's a thread about ATMs in Argentina on the Argentine forum.

In Buenos Aires most places will take cards, but shall offer a discount (usually 10%) if you pay cash. In the provinces, except for touristic places (El Calafate, Bariloche, Iguazú), cash is always king. And by cash I mean Argentine pesos - US dollars are either not accepted or they will exchange them at a pretty bad rate. In my experience, euros are quite useless in South America.

Bear in mind hotels in Argentina won't charge you the 21% VAT if you are a foreign resident paying with a foreign credit card. I think the same applies in Chile (I can't remember whether it was zero VAT or a reduced rate there), and in Uruguay if you travel before April (they only have it in summer months there).

Last edited by Marambio; Mar 7, 18 at 7:32 am
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Old Mar 7, 18, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by Marambio View Post
I think the same applies in Chile (I can't remember whether it was zero VAT or a reduced rate there)
0 VAT.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 6:13 am
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In MVD or touristy areas such as Punta del Este or Colonia never had any problem paying with either CC or debit card neither in hotels nor restaurants nor larger shops or supermarkets. However, Uruguay is quite rural outside these areas, so things could be different if you are out in the countryside.

Just be aware that ATM cash withdrawal limits in Uruguay tend to be pretty low (at least for foreign cards), so if you try to withdraw e.g. USD 300 equivalent in Uruguayan pesos, chances are that this won’t get through.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 7:13 am
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Cash from exchanged US dollars (not at qirports) the best deal, but obviously other issues about carrying a lot of cash. Then debit cards. Always a risk to use credit cards.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 1:56 pm
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Unless your credit card does charges you horrendous fees for foreign currency payments, it's probably the best choice in Chile. Of course some places don't accept credit cards (e.g. Centropuerto bus from SCL into downtown Santiago).
Hotels sometimes charge non-residents (e.g. foreign tourists) in USD because that way they do not need to pay 19% VAT. Credit cards are pretty common in Chile.
ATMs usually charge hefty fees (see separate thread).
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Old Apr 14, 18, 12:20 pm
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The days where Cash gave your huge returns in Argentina are now over, given the Peso has floated. Depending on where you stay and what types of establishments you will visit, most places will accept plastic. It is true that some merchants and service places may offer a discount if you pay in cash, but this is a case by case thing. As an example, its more likely to find places that will not take plastic in San Telmo vs. Palermo o Recoleta.
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Old May 3, 18, 3:42 pm
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In Uruguay if you use cash you won't benefit from VAT reductions for foreign tourists in for instance restaurants. In the past these reductions have been quite high (approximately 20%) but were reduced to "only" 9% on May 1st.
If you pay with VISA, the VAT is reduced when you pay, with MasterCard you get the VAT reduction credited to your account after 2-3 days. This was this past January.

The withdrawal limits I saw at ATMs were 5000 UYU (now 173 USD) or 300 USD (same ATM). Had no problem withdrawing 3*5000 UYU. I can't remember how much the Uruguayan bank took so it cannot have been that much.
All stores that accept cards must do so regardless of the total amount, so I used very little cash.
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Old Apr 19, 19, 12:10 pm
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I have just returned from a week in MVD.If you pay in resaurants/cafes with a credit card, you get a 17.5% discount.YES, they don't want cash.
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Old Apr 19, 19, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by yulmichael View Post
I have just returned from a week in MVD.If you pay in resaurants/cafes with a credit card, you get a 17.5% discount.YES, they don't want cash.
Michael
Yes this is the Uruguayan government's way of returning VAT to the non resident visitor. If you use cash you dont get this benefit
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Old Aug 21, 19, 3:12 pm
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Had no problem with CC in all the mentioned locations including Rio.
Spent several days in BA no problem and tour guides in several locations asked for US dollars only.
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Old Aug 28, 19, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by David Beach View Post
Cash from exchanged US dollars (not at qirports) the best deal, but obviously other issues about carrying a lot of cash. Then debit cards. Always a risk to use credit cards.
What's the risk with using a credit card? In many places, credit cards have much better consumer protections than debit cards......and of course a fraudulent transaction can't drain your bank account and cause fees on autopay arrangements.
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