BARRIO – Traveling to Argentina has just become even more enticing with Argentina’s government just launching a new tourist exchange rate, which will double your cash as you make purchases. As of last Friday, tourists who do not live in Argentina or do not have an Argentinian credit or debit card will be able to access a rate similar to the ‘Dolar MEP’ (Mercado Electrónico de Pagos) exchange rate, which almost equates to the illegal ‘Dolar Blue’ rate that tourists typically access for cash.
Gone are the days of asking your local friends to exchange a large amount of cash for you. You’re now able to do it yourself, just by making the purchase on your credit card.
Last week, the Dolar MEP rate was around 292 pesos per dollar, while the official rate was at 158 pesos per dollar. Exchanging by the MEP rate gets you almost double the pesos for your dollar as opposed to the official rate that is applied to overseas payment methods.
“Effectively the measure introduces an exchange rate 90 percent superior to the official one applying to all tourist expenses in the country, including excursions, meals and tourist packages,” wrote The Buenos Aires Times.
How Did The Exchange Rate Work Before?
If a tourist was paying for an expense on a credit or debit card, the cost of this would be converted to the official exchange rate, which was used by banks.
The Buenos Aires Times explains, if you were charged 10,000 pesos on your debit or credit card at the official exchange rate of 155 pesos, this would equate to US $64.30. Whereas if banks had access to the MEP exchange rate, this would be equivalent to US$34.24; saving you half of what you would have paid in US dollars.
This rate will apply to anything tourists are paying for on their credit cards, including hotel rooms, restaurants, tours, attractions, cinema tickets, etc.