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Money Issues: Exchange, ATMS, how to pesos, rates, dollars, and other argentine obsessions...

The best choice to travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, is once again, not to bring very big amount of cash (not more than U$S500/1.000 cash), and to extract pesos using ATM´s from your bank account as you need, or to use your credit card. In most cases you will get a reasonable commission from your bank and the exchange rate from that day. There is only one market price for the dollar, in the free market, which fluctuates freely, smoothly,  and today is around $14.5.

From 2011 to 2015, the Kirchner Government installed a foreign exchange control system, which tried to prevent all dollar transactions. These restrictions were completely removed by the current Government that was elected in December 2015.

At that time tourists were supposed to sell their dollars at an official rate which was 50% lower than (black) market price which was in theory not legal (many opted to sold them in the black market at market price). This luckily is a thing of the past.

When a tourist used to exchange dollars in a Bank, or Exchange Bureau, or to buy with credit card he was paid the dollar at the official rate, 50% less than the parallel market.

The new government elected in December 2015 has taken out all these restrictions to currency conversion, and now there is only one price for the dollar. So, now when you buy with your credit card, or take money from ATM, you are paid the market price for every dollar you spend/take out.

All of this is history, but I am telling you this, because you may receive recommendations from friends or acquaintances giving you advice in this respect (where to change, to whom, etc.), and this has become obsolete, as Argentina is becoming -apparently- economically a normal country.

So, there is no special advice or warning. You can exchange your money or get your money from ATM´s or banks as in any country you visit.

 Dollars are not accepted everywhere, but many stores, bars and restaurants may  unofficially accept them at the day rate.

Converting your pesos back to your currency should not be any as there is freedom to buy and sell currency. It was during the cepo. Let me know if you encounter any hassle.

Currency Exchange

The actual exchange rate of the argentine peso is floating around AR$14.50 argentine pesos per U.S. dollar. You can change your money in the numerous Bureaus Do Change ("Casas de Cambio" in Spanish) that sprawled in Buenos Aires after devaluation or many Banks also will change to non-customers. Most of the Bureau do change are located in San Martín St., Microcentro. But you can find also Bureaus in Districts like Recoleta.

They don't charge commission, and the spread between sell and buy rate is about 10 argentine cents. Now you can exchange your dollars in banks, but most of them have U$S 300 minimum limits for non clients. Banks, ATM´s and Exchange Bureaus will pay you the official exchange.

For an updated list of rates of the different Bureaus do change visit Dolarhoy.com. You also can find there the address of every Bureau, best & average rates, etc.

There are also, a lot of street exchange traders (people on the street offering to exchange dollars), they are called in Buenos Aires jargon "Arbolitos" (little trees). The activity to publicly offer exchange of currency is illegal for the seller.

Argentine Currency - The Peso.

The current monetary line in the Argentine Republic is the CONVERTIBLE PESO LINE (Executive Power Decree Number 2128 of October 10th 1991 and Article 12 of Convertibility Law Number 23-928 of March 27th 1991).

 The peso was convertible one to one with the dollar until February 2002, when by Decree 214/2002 this convertibility was broken. Now the peso floats in the open market. The convertible denomination sound as a joke nowadays, but it lasted 10 years.

In 2012 President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner issued a new 100 pesos bill, with Evita portrait in one face of the bill. This bill is not yet very common, but it is schedule to replace sometime the old 100 bill with Julio A. Roca. Both bill continue in force.

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To check how the bills look like visit Argentina Central Bank website: http://www.bcra.gob.ar/

All notes bearing that inscription, however, are still in circulation and valid as a means of payment.

Original note Date of issuance Denominación New design Date of issuance
  02/01/1992 $1 $1 coin 01/09/1994
2 pesos bill 06/01/1992 $2 2 pesos bill old 26/11/1997
5 pesos bill 03/01/1992 $5 5 pesos bill old 22/06/1998
10 pesos bill 03/01/1992 $10 10 pesos bill old 14/01/1998
20 pesos bill 06/01/1992 $20 20 pesos bill old 18/01/2000
50 pesos bill 02/01/1992 $50 50argentine pesos bill old 19/07/1999
100 pesos bill roca new 06/01/1992 $100 100 pesos bill roca old 03/12/1999
100 pesos evita bill   2013 $100 100evita bill reverse side