Travel planning

Money in Argentina

As you’ve been doing your research for traveling to Argentina, you may have encountered terms like “blue dollar”, “black market exchange rate”, and “MEP rate”.  Cash? Cards? Confused?

The official exchange rate in Argentina is highly restricted, which has given way to a number of different exchange rates and created uncertainty about the best means of payment while traveling in the country. However, things have changed, and while exchanging cash is still an option, it’s now easier to make card payments at a favorable rate. Read on to learn more.


Argentina uses the $ sign to indicate the Argentine peso, so unless you see US$, the currency is indicated in Argentine pesos, not US dollars. 

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If you travel to Europe, our standard recommendation is easy as we usually suggest you use the ATM to obtain cash at the best available exchange rate. While credit card payments have been made more attractive while visiting Argentina, it might still be a good idea to additionally bring some cash to exchange, and we have some tips for you.

This is the unofficial exchange rate in Argentina, running parallel to the official rate. It is more favorable when exchanging US dollars and avoids any governmental regulation or fees. While it may sound strange to turn to the “black market” to exchange money, it is a good option to get more bang for your buck. Read more information in this helpful article: 

You can exchange an official exchange house but as you will see from the article above, that means you may lose ½ the value of the dollar compared to using the blue dollar rate.  

No matter if you are using the official rate or the blue dollar rate: If you’d like to exchange dollars for pesos, be sure to use only fresh, undamaged bills. Bills under $100 will not be accepted. If you wish to tip your South American Tour Leaders in US dollars, the same considerations apply! Read more on tipping.  

Be mindful on how much cash to bring and keep in mind that you may not be able to change pesos back to dollars at the end of your trip.   

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Credit cards 

This has always been possible but up until late 2022, any credit or bank card payments were subject to the official exchange rate, which was quite unfavorable compared to the Blue Dollar rate for exchanging US-dollars in cash.

Now a more favorable exchange rate, closer to the Blue Dollar rate exists, affording travelers the convenience of electronic payments.

The MEP, or Electronic Payment Market, is a preferential exchange rate mechanism for payments made with bank or credit cards. This now provides a convenient way to use credit cards as a tourist in Argentina without the uncertainty of which of the several exchange rates applies.

So far, the MEP applies to bank or credit card payments only and does not work for QR code payments and options like Apple Pay.  

We suggest you check with your credit card provider prior to your travel. 

Read more about this topic in this article by Bloomberg Linea.

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