Currency in Argentina

Currency in Argentina

The Travel Money Guide to Currency in Argentina

Argentina, home to the tango and smokey grills, fútbol (soccer), and the vast Andes ranges, it's a favourite location in South America. You mostly pay cash, so it's a good idea to learn everything you can about the local currency and payment options before you go.

The official currency of Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS). It's best to have small denominations of Argentine Peso to spend in Argentina. If you can't buy some before your trip, the next best options are US Dollars (USD), Euros (EUR) or Brazilian Reals (BRL). You can easily exchange these foreign currencies at currency exchanges and banks.

Want to learn more about the Argentine Peso and how to get your hands on it for the best value? Read on to find out:

What Currency is Used in Argentina?

The official currency in Argentina is the Peso (ARS).

In Argentina, locals use Argentine Peso, which has the international code ARS and the symbol $. The peso is subdivided into centavos, worth 1/100 of a peso.

The Argentine Peso has 6 coin denominations: 5, 10, 25, 50, and one and two pesos.

Argentine banknotes have 9 denominations: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 pesos.

What is the currency of Argentina

The national currency of Argentina is the Argentine Peso.

The term 'Peso,' meaning 'weight,' originates from Spain. The peso form a part of the national currencies in most South American countries. It replaced the Argentine Austral to increase stability after experiencing hyperinflation.

 

Can I change my Australian Dollars in Argentina?

It is difficult to exchange Australian Dollars (AUD), even in the capital city of Buenos Ares. Banc Nationale at the airport, Recoleta Mall or possibly a few other Cambios (money exchangers) on the street might exchange AUD to ARS, but most places do not and if you can, you end up paying a less favourable rate.

 

Should I take US dollars to Argentina instead?

Yes, most money changers will exchange US dollars (USD). It can be tricky to buy Argentinian Peso in Australia before you leave, because there is little supply so getting US dollars is a good alternative.

How to Buy Argentine Peso Before You Go

There’s a certain reassurance that comes with stepping off the plane (or cruise ship) already cashed up with Argentine Peso.

Buying Argentine Peso before you leave Australian shores might be convenient, but cash supplies can be tricky to get because it isn't a common currency. It all depends on where you get your Argentine Peso in Australia. There are 3 main options:

  • Buy ARS online and have it delivered or collect it in-store
  • Swap Argentine peso for Australia dollar from a money changer
  • Buy Argentine peso at your home airport

Try S Money or a similar online currency exchange store to get rates that reflect the comparisons you see on XE or Google.

If you choose online delivery or in-store pickup, check the processing time. Some exchange companies with online options suggest you allow between two and five days to process currency.

Prefer in-store currency exchange? Head to the CBD of your nearest city for the most competitive exchange rates; suburban bureau de change outlets tend to have poorer rates and fees.

Currency exchange counters in Australia’s airports are infamous for their atrocious exchange rates. Avoid them if you can.

AUD to ARS

AUD
*Wholesale exchange rate updated

How to Exchange Currency in Argentina

Places like Buenos Aires and Mendoza receive great numbers of tourists, so there are facilities to cater to money exchanges. Beyond these major destinations, it’s best to get cash before you venture into remote territory.

ATMs with Argentine Peso (ARS)

ATMs

ATMs are widely available, but you may be charged more at ATMs outside of Buenos Aires. Local banks with a green Link sign are cheaper to withdraw cash from, but have lower limits than the Banelco ATMs, with a red B sign.

Most ATMs have low withdrawal limits (ARS1,000-4,000), meaning you can rack up overseas ATM withdrawals and currency conversions with your bank. To reduce your fees, withdraw just the right amount of money you’ll need for the duration of your trip.

At times ATM’s can run out of money especially on long weekends and holidays. Places like El Calafate and El Chaltén in Patagonia quickly run out of cash in high season.

Don’t forget: Let your bank know you’re travelling! If they detect a foreign transaction, but aren’t aware you’re overseas, they could end up freezing your card.

Currency Exchange in Argentina

You won’t have any problem changing US dollars (USD) or Euros (EUR) cash. Avoid bringing other currencies as it is often hard to get changed at worst exchange rates.

There are plenty of cuevas or casas de cambio (currency exchange places) in the airport Ministro Pistarini Ezeiza or Aeroparque, but you’ll get a far better rate in the city centre along Florida and Lavalle.

We recommend you bring $100 or €100 notes in pristine condition, some places don’t accept torn or folded money. Bring your ID.

Argentina is home to illegal money changers, who supposedly offer a more attractive exchange rate or the “blue dollar rate.” Choosing proper currency exchanges over the illegal route is safer, you won’t receive counterfeit money this way.

Currency Exchange in Argentina
Travellers Cheques in Argentina

Travellers Cheques

Not worth the bother! Travellers cheques are so outdated, very few banks even accept them any more.

Using Your Bank Card in Argentina

Most Argentine businesses are well set up to receive card payments. But before you use your bank card willy-nilly, it’s worth reading up on the fees and charges you might incur.

Debit Cards

You’ll probably want a debit card if you plan to withdraw money from an ATM. While you may also be able to pay with a debit card in some businesses in the major destinations, you might discover some hefty fees on your account summary.

Depending on your bank, you could be hit with fees for foreign ATM withdrawals or currency conversions. But some banks are better than others; we recommend checking out ING, Revolut, and TransferWise, all of which have travel-friendly debit cards that waive these charges.

Credit card in Argentina
Debit card in Argentina

Credit Cards

Credit cards can come with some enticing perks, including added security, loyalty programs, and even free travel insurance.

But are they worth it?

Major local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, airline offices, and department stores, accept credit cards. But you might have to pay a surcharge.

Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted. You may also be able to use your American Express card, though local ATMs won’t accept them.

Just be aware of additional charges you may incur for foreign transactions. These could include:

  • International transaction fees
  • High exchange rate margins
  • ATM fees
  • Potential ‘cash advance fees’ if you use an ATM

If you still prefer credit cards over any other payment, consider going with a company that offers cards that waive certain travel fees. Bankwest Platinum and 28 Degrees both have travel-friendly cards.

Prepaid Travel Cards

The biggest advantages of prepaid travel cards are that you can lock in a favourable exchange rate. You also get a handy back-up card.

Just remember that while they are convenient, you could end up paying a long list of hidden fees. Many travel cards still impose:

  • Currency conversion fees
  • Uncompetitive exchange rates
  • International ATM withdrawal fees
  • Initial load fees
  • Reload fees
  • Inactivity fees
Prepaid Travel Card in Argentina

Track the best time to buy Argentine Peso

We match the currency exchange rate with the rate shown on Google or Xe. In real time.

This means you never pay over-inflated rates and can be 100% positive you are getting the most competitive rate for currency exchange.

  • Check out the daily rates:

Not ready to buy yet?
You can get a free rate tracker!