Holiday in South America - What do do about money?

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by Kommandant33, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. Kommandant33

    Kommandant33 Member

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    Hey all,

    We are going to South America for a bit of a holiday - Peru, Argentina and Chile - so we will be dealing with 3 different currencies.

    As we are going with our young daughter and taking my older mother, we will be on tours/hotels for pretty much the whole time - so most expenses are covered before we go.

    What would be the best way for every day money? Most travel cards can't be loaded up with South American moneys - if we get a card with USD, we will be hit with another conversion fee when we change it to local currency.

    We will be going over with about AU$600 cash in local currencies.

    Should we just get a credit card for all purchases?

    Any advice will be much appreciated!
     
  2. bart5986

    bart5986 Member

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    I would get an ING bank card and just withdraw the money I needed each day, no fees at all, they even pay for the ATM fee.

    Worked well when I was in Colombia
     
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  3. doug81

    doug81 Member

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    Citibank account and use ATM's or use as credit/debit card - don't use travel cards. Argentina you'll get better rates if you can use cash and find 'blue' currency, but might get scammed so ATM's are pretty safe. Can confirm is good for Chile & Argentina, haven't been to Peru but shouldn't be an issue...
     
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  4. frizzl

    frizzl Member

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    Can confirm, all three of those will be fine to use as you said.

    If you can get a card like ING or Citibank with no fees, that's the way to go. I'm in Chile at the moment and ATM fees are about $10 a pop plus the exchange fees...
     
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  5. bart5986

    bart5986 Member

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    No idea why you would do this when ING exists....
     
  6. Smoothie

    Smoothie Member

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    When i was in Peru I used the Citibank card. worked no problems - no fees, just like using a card here in Aus.
     
  7. doug81

    doug81 Member

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    Citibank spot rates are very competitive - there's a bunch of 'no fee' options out there that end up with a 2-3% spread on the exchange rates so you end up losing out. Not sure if this is the case with ING, but have used the Citibank option for a few years now and haven't had issues. Also, Citibank ATM's exist in many of the countries I've been to - not as sure about ING
     
  8. bart5986

    bart5986 Member

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    You should have a look into ING.

    Great currency conversion rate
    No foreign fee/currency conversion fee
    The problem with citibank is you have to use a citibank atm
    ING can use 100% of ATMs in the world unless they specifically block foreign cards.
    With citibank you have to pay huge fees if you use a non citibank ATM
    With ING they pay for your fees, even if all the ATM's charge $6.50 AUD per transaction (like in Colombia)
    And the app is a lot better, very easy to move money around so you only withdraw what you choose, skimmers have no power over your card with this method.

    I also think its a lot safer, I would withdraw just what I needed from the ATM and then if something came up I would withdraw more from the wide range of ATM's as you can use any you like.

    If I had citibank I would have to either withdraw 3x the amount and hold it with me, and then travel to the citibank ATM each day which is a waste of time and money. or withdraw 20x the amount and hold way too much cash with me...

    ING beats other cards by miles.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  9. doug81

    doug81 Member

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    Awesome info mate, much appreciated! Didn't realise it was that good - will have to check out switching as the Citibank ATM's can be a pain to find at times...
     
  10. doug81

    doug81 Member

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    OK so as I'm here in Chile I thought I'd post an update.
    Lesson 1 - get an ING account! Citibank is no longer in Chile (apart from a partnership with a local bank that doesn't recognise citi global so you pay regular fees) so you need an account that covers the fees and has a good spot rate.
    ATM fees are insane in Chile as all ATM's in the country are operated by Redbanc - imagine if the private ATM's in the pubs that charge for withdrawals and limit funds withdrawn had a total monopoly and you get the idea.
    ~$400 is the maximum per withdrawal, and fees per withdrawal are up to $13, with $10 being a common fee (and it's a flat fee, not a percentage). I found one that's only $5 (ONLY!!!) so if you end up over here and don't have an option to get your fees back then look for Banco BICE. Their ATM in central Santiago is inside the branch which closes at 2pm, and the only other one I've seen is in Providencia but I think that's 24hrs.
    I'll have my Chilean banks account and funds soon so it's short-lived pain, but if you need a fair bit of money or will be here a while then see if you can qualify for the ING account as it will save you quite a bit!
     
  11. insular

    insular Member

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    beware argentina has very low withdrawal limits and very high fees. i recommend maybe changing cash instead from another country. or using credit card wherever possible (in restaurants etc.)

    the only time i avoided ATM fees altogether was in colombia because they have actual citibank ATMs (eg. one at bogota airport that wasn't worked)

    i think i might need to get an ING account as well that totally refunds fees. but sometimes they ATMs bundle the fees into the withdrawal amount so i'm not sure how that works then.
     
  12. bart5986

    bart5986 Member

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    I went to many different ATM's in Colombia and never had an issue with refunds.
     

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