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Argentina / Chile: How to Withdraw Money and Avoid Bank Fees?

This article proposes you to use the Azimo solution to withdraw money in Argentina / Chile with reduced fees. If you wish to test this service at no cost and get 10 € free, it’s here.

If you are planning to travel to Argentina or Chile, you will soon realize that Argentina or Chile isn’t exactly a cheap country. The cost of living is very expensive compared to other Latin American countries, especially with the high inflation there.

It is also important to know that in Argentina it is very important to have cash, as there are very few places where you can pay by credit card.

And that’s where it gets complicated: it’s not easy to get cash… and it’s expensive!

Traditionally, you have two ways to get cash

1/ Withdrawing money from a cash machine

You will be faced with three problems:

  • Many dispensers are empty. It may seem moody for Europeans like us, but it isn’t always easy to find an ATM with money available, especially in small towns.
  • Local banks will charge you a flat fee for each withdrawal, even if you have an international card that doesn’t charge you any fees.
  • Withdrawals are usually limited to 4000 Argentine pesos (less than €65!).

In other words, in addition to the difficulty of finding a functional distributor, you will have to pay between 5 and 15% in fees! When you withdraw the equivalent of €100, you will be debited between €105 and €110 from your account.

As an example, here are some withdrawals we made in Argentina :

  • Withdrawal of 4000 pesos with 223 pesos of expenses (5% of expenses)
  • Withdrawal of 2000 pesos with 330 pesos of expenses (16% of expenses!)
  • Withdrawal of 8000 pesos with 400 pesos of expenses (5% of expenses)

2/ Having US dollars

If you have the possibility to come with a stock of US dollars, this is the best solution. Argentines are fond of dollars (which, unlike the Argentine peso, isn’t devalued)

In some hotels and restaurants, you will even get discounts if you pay in dollars. It will also be easy to change dollars into pesos at an exchange office or even on the black market on the street

However, be careful with your dollars, exchange offices may refuse them if they are too folded.

If you have dollars, then you should not have any problem but it isn’t necessarily obvious to have enough dollars if you come for several months or if you have already been around the world for 6 months.

You can withdraw dollars in neighboring countries for a 2-3% fee:

  • in Bolivia, in a bank (e.g. BCP), payment via an Eftpos terminal
  • in Uruguay, directly to the distributor, 500$ max for 3$ fee

3/ The Azimo solution (for Argentina)

To test Azimo free of charge during your first transfer and benefit from 10 € free of charge, you can click on this link.

Azimo is a service that offers to transfer money around the world in a secure way with reduced fees.

Traditionally, it is used to send money to someone else but nothing prevents you from sending money to yourself 🙂 And it’s interesting if you are in Argentina or Chile (more possible for Chile)

The principle is very simple: you send money in euros to Azimo (either by bank transfer or credit card). You can then withdraw cash in Argentine pesos from an Azimo partner in Argentina.

If you pay by credit card, you can even get the cash back within 30 minutes!

It is possible to recover cash through Azimo in Buenos Aires, Cordoba, La Plata, Mar Del Plata, Mendoza, Puerto Madryn and Rosario.

Choose the country. In the case of Argentina, only one currency (the Argentine Peso) and one withdrawal method is available.

Fill in your contact information (you will need to show your passport to get the money back).

Choose the city and the place where you want to collect the money.

And choose the amount you wish to transfer.

Azimo charges a fixed fee of €2.99 regardless of the amount. The proposed exchange rate is correct even if it isn’t the interbank rate. But it has nothing to do with the 5 to 10% that will be charged when you make a withdrawal at the distributor.

Once you have paid, Azimo sends you an email as soon as the money is ready. All you have to do is pick it up at the chosen address by presenting your passport.

To test Azimo free of charge during your first transfer and benefit from 10 € free of charge, you can click on this link.

4/ The Xoom solution (for Argentina and Chile)

EDIT JANUARY 2020 : The Xoom service is currently unreliable, we do not recommend it.

In July 2019, Paypal launched a competitor to Azimo: Xoom. Costs are slightly higher (approximately 1.2% for Azimo vs. 3.4% for Xoom).

With this referral link, you can benefit from 25 € free after your first transfer. Enough to offset the costs! To benefit from it, click here.

On the other hand, in Argentina for example, Xoom is available in 24 regions and cities compared to only 7 for Azimo! (more about Xoom here).

Buenos Aires; Capital Federal; Catamarca; Chaco; Chubut; Córdoba; Corrientes; Entre Ríos; Formosa; Jujuy; La Pampa; La Rioja; Mendoza; Misiones; Neuquén; Pacheco; Río Negro; Salta; San Juan; San Luis; Santa Cruz; Santa Fe; Santiago Del Estero; Tucumán

In Chile, Xoom is available in 16 regions and cities (compared to 0 for Azimo)

Antofagasta; Araucanía; Arica; Atacama; Aysén; Biobío; Coquimbo; Las Condes; Los Lagos; Maipu; Maule; O’Higgins; Rancagua; Santiago; Tarapaca; Valparaiso

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