AP

Shock for visitors hoping for new Argentine exchange rate

Nov 8, 2022, 9:11 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 12:08 pm

FILE - A man checks rates at a money exchange house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 14, 2022. The ...

FILE - A man checks rates at a money exchange house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 14, 2022. The government implemented a new regulation on Nov. 4, 2022 allowing visitors using credit and debit cards to obtain a more favorable exchange rate through financial markets that will give them far more pesos than the official rate. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Visitors to Argentina are still not receiving a more favorable exchange rate when paying with credit and debit cards days after the new measure was announced last week, although officials insist it is only a matter of time until it is implemented.

Joel Roossin found out the hard way.

Roossin, 68, arrived in Buenos Aires last week from Seattle with two friends to spend a month in Argentina’s capital learning Spanish and sightseeing.

On Friday, he went out to lunch and put it on his credit card after reading about the new regulation announced a day earlier that would allow visitors using credit and debit cards to get more pesos than the usual official rate gives.

The measure was a recognition that most tourists have stopped using electronic payments so they can exchange their dollars at a more favorable rate on the black market — known here as the “blue dollar.”

When Roossin saw his credit card statement, he quickly realized his 4,400-peso lunch was converted at the official rate of 157 pesos per dollar, rather than around 290.

Roossin got on the phone with his bank and talked to numerous people and also called Mastercard but had no luck.

“No one knew anything about it,” he said.

Fernando Bernini, 34, had a similar experience when he traveled over the weekend with some friends from Uruguay. Whenever Bernini paid with his Visa debit card issued in Uruguay, he quickly realized the conversions were being done at the usual official rate.

Bernini, a project manager, also called his bank and said the people there were unaware of any new regulation.

“On Friday I called Itau Uruguay and at first they just told me nonsense,” Benini said, adding that the bank directed his inquiry to Visa.

A high-ranking Central Bank official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak on the record, said such problems were due to companies adjusting to the change.

“The norm allows credit card operators from abroad the possibility to (offer a better rate), not the obligation,” the official said. “They have to adapt their systems to be able to do that and I imagine it will take a few days.”

He predicted the new rate was likely to be applied by the end of this week because “if they don’t do it, they’ll lose business.”

On Wednesday, the official exchange rate was at 159 pesos per dollar while the rate that foreign credit card companies can use for their foreign clients was 293.

Credit card and payment processing companies directed all inquiries to the chamber of credit card companies, which did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“My gut feeling is the US banking system either isn’t aware of it or doesn’t know what to do with it,” said Roossin, who is retired from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a Treasury Department agency.

Roossin said the bad experience with his payment won’t ruin his trip because he brought enough cash to last the month and had used the card just as an experiment.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful city,” Roossin said. “It’s one of the few cities that I’ve been to in the world where you don’t feel like it has been overrun by tourists.”

For now though, Roossin has a clear piece of advice for anyone thinking about visiting Argentina: “Leave your credit card at home and bring cash.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

3 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

3 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

3 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

4 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

4 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

7 days ago

Shock for visitors hoping for new Argentine exchange rate