ATMs in Argentina – Can I Use My Australian Debit & Credit Cards In Argentina?

ATMs in Argentina

As you explore the vibrant streets of Argentina, it’s highly likely that you’ll want to sample some of the incredible street food or grab some souvenirs to remember your trip. But what happens when you run out of cash? Can you use ATMs in Argentina with your Australian debit or credit card?

At Crown Currency Exchange, we believe that your holiday should be as stress-free as possible. So, today, we’re going to be looking at everything you need to know about ATMs in Argentina. From understanding the Argentine banking system to ATM fees and everything in between, we’ll ensure you feel fully prepared before deciding whether you should withdraw cash while you’re in this amazing country.

Can I Withdraw Money from ATMs in Argentina?

Withdraw Money from ATMs in Argentina

In Argentina, you’ll find two common types of ATMs: Bank-Owned ATMs and Network ATMs, and each can be used to withdraw cash but each also comes with certain limitations.

Bank-Owned ATMs, as their name suggests, are owned and operated by specific Argentine banks and, as such, are usually located near or inside bank branches. However, most of these ATMs only accept debit cards that have been issued by the respective bank, which means it’s quite unlikely you’ll be able to withdraw money with your Australian card.

Network ATMs are part of interbank networks, and these allow you to withdraw Argentine Pesos using any bank card. They’re quite easy to spot, with the majority being provided by Banelco and Red Link, and they are widely available in both major cities and urban areas.

So, should you find you’ve run out of cash while in Argentina and you need to withdraw more, it would be best to use a Network ATM. But are there any differences between Argentine and Australian ATMs you need to know about before you do?

Differences Between Argentine and Australian ATMs

To answer the above, yes, there are a couple of important differences to keep in mind before you use an ATM to withdraw cash in Argentina.

The first of these is the language, as Argentine ATM screens will display instructions in Spanish. Depending on the ATM provider, there may be a menu that allows you to select the operating language before you start, but if not, you’ll need to be fairly confident in Spanish to navigate your options.

It’s also important to note that some ATMs may charge withdrawal fees for transactions conducted by foreign banks. We’ll explore these fees in more detail next, but it’s worth noting if you’d rather avoid having to pay to withdraw Pesos.

What Are the ATM Fees and Charges in Argentina?

ATM Fees and Charges in Argentina

This is one of the most important things you need to know before withdrawing money in Argentina – the fees are incredibly high. In fact, Argentina is well-known for allowing people using foreign banks to only withdraw a small amount each day and pay for the privilege.

But how much exactly does it cost to withdraw money in Argentina? You can expect to pay an average of $15 AUD per transaction. This is just for taking money out, and some other ATM functions also come with an expensive transaction fee.

For instance, in addition to the ATM fees for withdrawing cash, you may also be charged a “currency conversion fee”. The amount you’ll be charged varies depending on the ATM service provider, but it’s usually a percentage of the transaction amount.

Some ATMs may even charge you simply for a balance inquiry, and while it will be lower than withdrawal fees, it is still an extra expense you’ll need to keep in mind before inserting any of your debit cards.

Top Tip: As you can see, Argentina is a pretty expensive country when it comes to using their ATMs as a foreign visitor. As such, it’s best to make sure you have plenty of cash on you before your trip. Head to Crown Currency Exchange for the best rates on AUD to ARS.

Safety and Security Tips for Using ATMs in Argentina

Should you find that you have no choice but to use an ATM in Argentina, there are some safety and security rules you should follow in the same way you would if you were using an ATM at home.

Choose Wisely

One of the most important things you can do before using an ATM in Argentina is to make sure you choose one that is located in a well-lit, populated area, such as a shopping centre or busy street, as having so many people around will likely deter any thieves.

You should also make sure that your chosen ATM has a secure, well-maintained card reader and keypad. Avoid any ATMs with visibly damaged or tampered components, as this can indicate potential security risks.

Stay Alert

Even if you’re using an ATM in a well-lit, busy location, you need to remain alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Look out for any individuals or activity that you feel is suspicious and trust your instincts, and if anything feels off, look for a different ATM or return at a different time.

Protect Your PIN

Just as you would when using an ATM in Australia, make sure you shield your PIN from view when entering it into the keypad. You should also avoid writing it down anywhere or sharing it with anyone.

Check for Skimming Devices

Before you insert your card into the ATM, take a moment to inspect the card reader for any attached devices, and if there are any, do not use it. This could be a card skimming device that could access your banking information and leave you at risk of fraud.

Beware of Shoulder Surfing

It’s also important to be cautious of anyone standing close to you or watching over your shoulder while you’re using the ATM. Don’t be afraid to ask people to give you some space, and stand close to the ATM, positioning your body so you’re blocking the view to both the keypad and the screen.

Monitor Your Account Activity

Once you’ve completed your transaction, it’s important to monitor your account activity to look for any suspicious or unauthorised payments. If you do spot any, report them to your bank immediately and follow their instruction on what to do next.

What Should You Do if Your Card is Lost or Stolen in Argentina?

In the event that you think your card has been stolen or you have lost it, the first thing you need to do is contact your bank or credit card company and inform them. From there, they will be able to freeze the card and inform you what to do next, including whether or not they believe you need to file a police report.

Exchanging Money in Argentina

Exchanging Money in Argentina

We always advise that it’s best to exchange money before you head to your destination, as this will guarantee you the best possible rates and, ultimately, keep more money in your pocket.

However, should you find that you need to exchange Australian Dollars for Argentine Pesos while you’re away, it’s important to make sure you go to the best possible places.

Official Exchange Offices

Known throughout Argentina as “Casas de Cambio”, these are the official exchange offices authorised by the government to conduct currency exchange transactions. You’ll find these offices in most tourist areas and airports, but it is worth noting that while they do offer a secure and reliable way to exchange money, they may have high fees compared to some other options.

Banks

Most banks in Argentina offer currency exchange services, and you don’t have to be a customer of that bank to use them, either. You’ll often find competitive exchange rates at banks, but there are some extra things you’ll need to provide as a non-customer, such as identification of proof of residency.

The Blue Market

You’ll likely also come across something called “The Blue Market” when looking to exchange money in Argentina. This is an informal exchange market for foreign currency and is conducted outside of the official banking system, which means it can offer more favourable rates.

However, while using The Blue Market sounds appealing because it is unregulated, there can be a risk of scams or counterfeit money. As such, it is best to use either banks or Casas de Cambio.

Should You Take Cash to Argentina?

Argentina Cash

You need to be organised when you’re travelling, regardless of where you’re headed, and one of the best ways of staying prepared and saving money is by taking cash with you to Argentina.

However, it’s really important that you consider certain risks of carrying cash with you.

For example, you should plan ahead and think about how much you want to take out each day. Consider your food, travel, and activity expenses, then add an extra 10%-20% on top for emergencies. The rest of your cash can be left in your hotel room’s safe or within a hidden compartment in your luggage.

It’s also a good idea to carry payment cards with you as well as cash, even if you don’t plan on using them. Life can be pretty unpredictable, after all, and knowing that you can withdraw cash or use your card to pay for goods or services in lieu of cash offers extra peace of mind.

Planning Tips For Your Trip to Argentina

Planning Tips For Your Trip to Argentina

As with all travel, when you’re travelling to Argentina, it’s a good idea to plan ahead as much as you can. Creating a travel itinerary doesn’t only give you something to look forward to each day but also makes it much easier to work out how much cash you should take with you for the entire trip.

Work Out Your Daily Budget

Whether you’re staying for a week or a month, sit down and work out how much you think you’ll need to spend each day. Factor in your food expenses, activities, and travel (such as taxis and public transportation) in line with what you’d like to do throughout your trip.

By doing this, you can exchange the right amount of money before you head to Argentina and make sure you’re only taking the right amount with you each day, leaving the rest securely locked away in your hotel.

Make Sure You Have Local Currency Cash for on Arrival

Another reason why you should make sure you exchange your Australian Dollars for Argentine Pesos before you travel is so you’re prepared as soon as you step off the plane. This will make it much easier to pay for a taxi to your accommodation, tip your driver and hotel staff, and go exploring straight away without having to find the right money first!

Have the Numbers of Your Local Embassy

Preparing for a trip isn’t only about the fun things, and while nobody wants something like losing their passport to happen, there are no guarantees! So, make sure you have the details of the Australian Embassy in Argentina to hand for any emergencies.

Travellers Insurance

While this isn’t the most glamorous thing to think about when planning a trip to Argentina, it’s also a very good idea to take out a travel insurance policy before you leave, as this will cover you for medical emergencies, lost luggage, or transportation costs should your flights get cancelled.

Get the Best Exchange Rates on Argentine Pesos at Crown Currency

When it comes to using ATMs in Argentina, there are some very important things to keep in mind, including the fact that the withdrawal fees are incredibly high, and you’re only able to withdraw a small amount each day. Don’t be tempted to use your cards to pay unless absolutely necessary, as banks and credit card companies will charge expensive International Transaction Fees.

With this in mind, it’s definitely best to take cash with you instead of relying on ATMs. Visit Crown Currency Exchange at one of our many locations today, and you’ll find the best rates on AUD to ARS with no commission fees or hidden costs. Most importantly, you’ll also get the peace of mind that you’ll be able to travel through Argentina as you planned without worrying about your bank account taking the hit of hefty fees!

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