EZE money changers - CAUTION

Discussion in 'Argentina' started by Gaucho, Feb 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Please BEWARE of the money changers that you will encounter at EZE in the luggage claim area. These are the first booths where you can change cash & sometimes travelers cheques and many new visitors are inclined to give them their business because of the convenience.

    THESE CHANGERS ARE CROOKS.... not because they will give you false notes, but because they will take you to the cleaners with the exchange rates. Please, avoid them like the plague. Its much better to use an ATM card at some of the cash dispensers or else go to the Banco Nacion or even Casa Piano once you leave the customs area.
     
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  2. Bay Pisco Shark
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    The crooked spread usually hovers around a 20% screwing from what a real bank or your ATM will give you.
     
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  3. neil
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    I agree that these guys are CROOKS! Really, it should be illegal for them to set up shop next to the baggage claim. A couple of my friends came to EZE and actually got counterfeit bills from that changer.
    1. There are plenty of ATM cards that offer rebates... and you'll usually get good exchange rates (I personally used Schwab.)
    2. Use real banks! Whenever you hear paper slapping hand and someone yelling, "Cambio!" run the other way.
     
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  4. SoFlyOn
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    After you exit the sterile area in Terminal A, turn right and head towards the Banco de la Nacion office if you want to exchange currency. They have the best exchange rate for selling pesos. They also will buy pesos, with a same-day international boarding pass and passport.
     
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  5. neil
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    This is where we advised all of our visitors to exchange money and never had any problems.
     
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  6. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Silver Member

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    Now, using a card with no forex fees, like Cap1 or Chase Priority Club, will you still get charged fees for getting money from the ATM? I'm trying to figure out the best way to do this, I don't want to carry a lot of cash but also don't want to get charged a bunch of ATM fees.
     
  7. SoFlyOn
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    Both the Banelco (VISA), and LINK (Mastercard) networks charge a US$4 fee per transaction at Argentine ATMs. The network operators limit transactions to ARS $1000 (or sometimes ARS $990), but you can do multiple consecutive transactions (and rack up the fees). If you have an account that reimburses for foreign ATM charges (such as Schwab in the US), that is your best bet.

    You can exchange US$ at retail banks (beginning in the late morning), but you will need to show your passport, have a valid tourist visa stamp, and in most cases be able to speak enough Castellano to communicate, since most of the bank tellers won't understand English. Your US$ bills will also need to be in very good condition.
     
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  8. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Silver Member

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    Do I really need much cash? I can use CC's pretty much everywhere, correct?
     
  9. SoFlyOn
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    Yes and No.

    Credit cards will be fine of course for hotel/travel agents etc., and for high(er) end restaurants - especially those that cater to tourists. However, many (and they are increasing) mid-level restaurants need to be paid in cash. I'm seeing more establishments that have "card transactions are suspended" posted in their windows. Even those eating establishments that do accept credit cards will often give you a better deal for cash (you'll see lunch specials advertised "en efectivo" which means the price in cash).

    You'll also need cash for taxis.
     
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  10. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Silver Member

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    Okay, good to know!
     
  11. sofasurfer
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    From my recent (earlier this month) experience, I'd also mention this: do not be freaked out that you can see the Banco de la Nacion office from where you get your bag x-rayed just before you leave the 'customs area' and all the windows within sight look closed! You will go through the automatic doors, and be in a little 'sterile area' which has a few stalls with remise (private cab) companies and rip-off currency exchange companies. GO THROUGH HERE, through the automatic doors, and the office is immediately around on the right.

    This may seem to be overstating what seem obvious to some, but after a long overnight flight in a middle seat in Y, I did have a little 'crisis of confidence' (even with my notes from useful threads - including many tips from Gaucho from a couple of fora ;))

    Another tip from my own recent experience: I used the same office to change my remaining Argentine Pesos into Chilean Pesos. It was only about $12 US - but this was all I needed for a 24 hour stopover in SCL. Apart from the airport bus, a couple of metro rides, and a Mote con huesillo in the park, I was able to use my credit cards for pretty much every other transaction. This was in stark contrast to my EZE experiences - as described above, quite a few places seemed unable to process credit card transactions even if they were set up to do so, for reasons that weren't clear to me. The rate seemed to be good from my ad hoc calculations. The ATM fees seemed to be ~$5 per transaction in SCL, and so were even less inviting than those in EZE!
     
  12. Bay Pisco Shark
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    In Chile, you might have noticed that you received an official receipt for almost every transaction, even if it was a small stub from one of those receipt books for the incidental purchases. In Argentina, you might have noticed that you did not. Read into that what you will. Once a merchant processes a credit card, there's no denying the transaction. I have every confidence that the only evidence of the milanesa sandwich and salad that I got "to go" about an hour ago was the little piece of paper (probably 1.5" x 1.5") that my order was scribbled on, that was crumpled up after she took my money. AND she was upset that I didn't have better change for her.
     
  13. Gaucho
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    The Dollar traded up one cent today... sell rates are AR$4.07
     
  14. Gargoyle
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    Not unique to EZE. The spread on exchange rates at ORD is also extreme, and I've seen similar terrible rates at other airports.
     
  15. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Yes, but at EZE you have a perfectly official bank right there that will give you the best rate going.
     
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  16. Gargoyle
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    I recall when I visited PRG 3 or 4 years ago the rates at the airport were actually better than at the exchange storefronts in town.
     
  17. Gaucho
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    I just wish that the Central Bank would yank the forex license of these crooks... they take so many unweary visitors to the cleaners.....
     
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  18. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Today, Global Exchange is $3.44 / $4.25. :eek: They used to buy your pesos back at a fair rate, but that spread has really gotten bad (%-wise even worse than January).
     
  19. Gaucho
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    AR$3.44 for each Dollar..... geez... seems like they have widened the spread even further !!!! :eek:
     
  20. Gaucho
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    I always find that putting real numbers to things like this give the real perspective... many folks are not "numbers people" so a little example will show the extent of how far these Global Crooks will rape you with their exchange "service"....

    Assume that a visitor wants to exchange US$500 upon arrival.....

    At Global Exchange, 500 Greenbacks gets you AR$1720 (Pesos) at their 3.44 theft rate.

    At the Banco Nacion or at a fair money changer, you will probably get AR$4.02 for each Dollar... which would turn your 500 bucks into AR$2010.

    The whopping difference of AR$290 is enough to pay for an excellent steak meal with wine at one of the top parrilas in Buenos Aires. Enough said.....
     
  21. Gaucho
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    Bumping this up... how does one request a thread be made a sticky...?
     
  22. Gaucho
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    Current market rate is AR$4.21 (sell), so expect to get at least AR$4.10 - 4.12 per Dollar at reputable exchange houses.
     
  23. Bay Pisco Shark
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    The ATMs should be giving out approximately $4,18 + whatever the bank fees are.
     
  24. Gaucho
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    Market moved up one additional cent.... AR$4.22 (sell) at market close today.
     

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