How to get some money in Buenos Aires in 4 lessons (or in 2 days in my case ;) ?

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March 30th 2014
Published: March 30th 2014
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The start of my journey in Argentina was quite difficult because of money issues. At the bus station, there were indeed only 2 ATMs at the bus station from the same bank and none of them were working. So, the girl at the tourist information advised me to go near the Sheraton Hotel, where there were other ATMs. Well, I went there, but the ATMs were telling me “sorry, we cannot proceed with this operation”… The problem was: I had no money and needed at least money to pay the metro to get to my host. So, I went back to the bus station to exchange the few euros I had at an exchange counter. Well, when I arrived there, the girl told me that as it was holiday- thing that I didn’t know until that moment- it wasn’t possible to exchange at the bus station and that I would have to go to one street, where there was a possible black-market exchange. I was tired of walking back and forth to the street, so I decided to try to pay at a restaurant to have breakfast and to get some change in the local currency. Well, it worked 😉 But, it was only 7€ so I will need to find another solution to get some more money very soon.

As it was holiday, banks were closed today, so I will have to wait for tomorrow to get some money.

So the next day, I woke up early to take care of this money issue as quickly as possible. The problem is that Argentinians are not as early as I am, so the bank wasn’t opened at 8am but only at 10am. I had to wait then. I went back to the bank a bit after 10am and of course there was a long queue there already to get to the counter. So, I waited for 20-30 minutes in line and then I could finally get to the counter. There, when I showed my Visa credit card, the girl told me that they were not allowed to give money from credit cards. I asked her where it would be working, she told me that she didn’t know… The problem is that my Mastercard got copied in Brazil –I definitely love this country…-, so I only had my Visa credit card to withdraw money. However, it seems that it’s not possible to do it in the ATMs here and neither at the counter. So, my question was where to go to get money??

Well, at that time, I thought about Western Union. I never used that service until now but I knew we could transfer money that well internationally. I checked on the website and I tried to create myself an account to transfer money. Unfortunately, I couldn’t create it as after 20 times, they were still telling me that the security code –the code to check that you are not a machine- wasn’t right. So, I decided to go to a Western Union point in the center to ask them to transfer money directly from my account. When I went there, the woman at the counter told me that it was impossible and that I had to get a transfer number. It was either possible online or calling an expensive number. So, I went to my host and tried again to create an account on Western Union. I finally created the account but I had a problem, while transferring the money so it didn’t get transferred but Western Union considered it was transferred so my daily limit of transfer was exceeded on this card… I tried to use my other card, but there is a checking operation with my German number, which doesn’t exist anymore… -I asked my bank to delete this option, but they refused…-. So, I got helped by my family, who at 5.20pm –Western Union is closing at 6pm- managed to transfer me the money. So, I went back to the counter but on the way there I realized that I didn’t have my passport with me and that they would probably not accept to give me money without it… Anyway, as I said it was minutes before closing so getting back home to get my passport wasn’t an option. So, I tried to convince the woman at the counter to give me money with only my passport copy. Obviously, it didn’t work out but the woman was nice enough –I told her I had only 1€ left for the evening, so I really needed money- to indicate me a Western Union, which was closing later. So, in a hurry, I went back home, took my passport, went back to the center running and I arrived at Western Union counter 5 minutes before closing! There, I finally got my money! I felt as if I was rich when after 2 days with less than 10€ on me, I got my money <span>J To celebrate having money again, I treated myself with a brownie 😉

By the way, I am now in Chile, while writing this post and I could withdraw some money with my credit card yesterday and I was so happy when I heard the sound of the bills, meaning that I will have no problem in this country!!

So, lesson number 1: It’s true, when they tell you that it’s better to travel with a visa and a Mastercard, in case one isn’t working somewhere

Lesson number 2: try to not get your card copied…
Lesson number 3: never forget your passport, when you want to do something like exchanging, transferring or getting money
Lesson number 4: if you are travelling for a small time, take enough cash with you as the exchange rate in the street is better than the one, you will get from your bank or from Western Union


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