Best currency for Peru/Brazil/Argentina....
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Oct 23, 2012 4:40 PM Last Post By: ban_janti_return
Oct 21, 2012 1:40 PM
I am off to South America next week and am after some advice as to the best way to sort currency for a multi-country holiday. We are spending 8 days in Peru and 8 days in Brazil, with a day trip into Argentina inbetween (Iguassu....) - what would be the best way to handle the currency side of things? I was thinking of just taking USD's and credit/debit cards, and then changing to Sol/Reals/Pesos once I am in each country - would you all generally concur with this, or instead change up to these currencies in the UK before leaving?
Oct 21, 2012 1:48 PM
1Yes,taking USD's and credit/debit cards, and then changing to Sol/Reals/Pesos once I am in each country and make sure you use up your local currency (especially Argentine Pesos) before leaving.If one day in Argentina, just use US currency.
Oct 21, 2012 1:49 PM
Oct 21, 2012 4:24 PM
3Fx fee free is best for Brazil and Peru, specially in Brazil you get screwed hard time exchanging cash, rates are very poor compared to MC / Visa table.
In Argentina USD is king, take preferable enough to sustain your trip.
Official rate is just 4.5 and rates o 6 on black market are not uncommon, there is also xoom service that is getting you close to 6 - commission and it's perfectly safe and legal.
Oct 21, 2012 5:14 PM
4It's really hard to give you the best option, as you'll incur fees either way:
1) If you buy USD at home to then change to local currency, you're incurring two lots of currency exchange fees.
2) If you use the ATMS to withdraw local currency directly, you'll get hit with fees from your own bank (you need to check how much - with Australian cards about AU$5 per transaction, plus approx 2% foreign currency exchange fees). So if you do use ATMs, make sure you get as much cash out as you can out at once.
I'm pretty sure most exchange houses will exchange pounds as well as US$ - can someone confirm that? If so, you can just take pounds, and a small amount of USD in case of emergencies - maybe $100 in $20's.
Oct 21, 2012 6:35 PM
Oct 21, 2012 10:30 PM
6We used the Travelex Cash Passports instead of standard debit cards and they worked a treat. Loaded them up with USD and withdrew as necessary.
Just a word of advice, not all banks in Argentina and Brazil accept all international credit cards. In Argentina try Citibank for the best rates, but since you're only going into Iguazu, there's one immediately upon entering the park which works well. Although that said, they'll happily take USD and give you a rate better than what you'll get from the ATM.
In Brazil, go for the bigger name banks, i.e., HSBC or Citibank because the local Brazilian banks just didn't accept our cards.
Oct 21, 2012 10:49 PM
Oct 22, 2012 12:14 AM
8Lets see - its safer than carrying your own bank cards. If you lose them, as long as you contact the call centre, your money is safe and you can get replacement cash within a matter of hours.
Sure you can get your bank cards cancelled with equal speed, but I don't know of any British bank that will wire across money to you.
Secondly, Travelex offer fairly competitive rates out here and it costs the same regardless of buying cash or plastic. Also, you don't always get South American currencies in the UK and even if you do, quantities can be limited. So cash isn't that much of an advantage. Especially as OP is only spending a day in Argentina which is the only place where USD cash exchange rates are that much better than the official rates.
And finally, not all UK banks allow interest free withdrawals overseas. Between me and my girlfriend we had cards from four different banks and only one of them allow free withdrawals overseas, but even that one allowed only a certain limit per day which combined with the local withdrawal fees in Argentina made in uneconomic to use.
So that's the point and it isn't necessarily poor advice.
Oct 22, 2012 12:21 AM
Oct 22, 2012 2:23 AM
10Hey Ban Janti - we do have a fee free card in Australia - 28 Degrees MasterCard - which of course I have.
With any other card it's about $5 per withdrawal.
Oct 22, 2012 8:10 AM
Nonsense, you can set the limit low or keep the money on unlinked savings account
Tavelex offers rip-off rates, good rates are no fee MC / Visa table rates, have you bother to check actually how much you pay extra compared to official conversion?
Of course not, that's why you need to open account with the one that offers it, doh?
Anything between cash is uneconomical to use in Argentina those days because you get official exchange rate, not the black market one.
#10 - I know about MasterCard credit, I was referring to debit cards, sorry I wasn't clear enough ;-)
Oct 22, 2012 10:12 AM
Regardless of how much money you leave in your debit card, the principle that the bank won't wire across money to you remains the same. Just because you have £100 and not £1000 in the account makes no difference here.
Have you purchased foreign currency in the UK recently? Do you know what rates OP's bank will charge him to withdraw cash in South America? Do you know how different that is to what Travelex or any other prepaid card will charge?
Have you noticed that OP is travelling next week, and if he doesn't have a travel friendly bank, that doesn't leave him with enough time to sort out a new bank account. Even if it did, I'm pretty sure not everybody would want to put up with the hassle of opening a new bank account just over 2 weeks of travel.
Mate, just because I'm offeings an alternative viewpoint to yours, and one that has worked out for me in my own experience 6 months ago, doesn't mean I'm peddling rubbish advice.
Edited by: cheshireindian
Oct 22, 2012 2:17 PM
I don't need any money wired, I have access to them by backup cards. I never travel with one
OP doesn't need to purchase any currency, he just needs fx fee free debit card and conversion will be done on Mc / Visa table, similar to rates found on xe.com
For buying USD there are several options, like eg hifx.co.uk
Opening a new bank account is a matter of half an hour, I've lived in UK and I know that
It's not personal, I'm just arguing for the OPs benefit. My option is simply better
Oct 22, 2012 10:39 PM
14Understood that its not personal, and like I said in an immediate follow up post, I'm not necessarily endorsing Travelex as there are plenty of other similar service providers. My liking of Travelex stems from their "happy hour" deals which they tend to do every so often where the exchange rate they provide you blows everything out of the water.
But I retain my opinion that once you calculate all factors, unless you have a specialist forex UK debit or credit card, a prepaid card is the best bet.
To reinforce, I've looked up on Money Saving Expert and that is pretty much true. Also, you can open a new bank account in half an hour; heck it takes 10 minutes, but it takes a week for your card to get to you.
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