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Stop press! (near) Dolar Blue rate with USD transfers into Argentina!

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So I have just achieved the supposedly unachievable!

First, the background...

If you don't know that you could get a 40% discount on your entire holiday in Argentina, then you have to plan your life better and do some research before your departure. Enough has been said on many a website on the fact that hard USD cash can be converted easily in the "Dolar Blue" market for pesos at a much better (circa 40%) rate than the official rate.

But it has also been said that once you're in Argentina, you're stuffed. All credit card payments or transfers are supposedly done at the official rate.

Well, I'm glad to report that I found and tested an alternative which gives you near enough the Blue Dollar rate earlier today, obtaining a rate of 8.99 pesos per USD (on a day when the unofficial rate was trading at 9.90 and the official rate was trading at 5.89).

I don't know how or why this worked, and frankly I don't care, but I do see it as a boon to Argentinean tourism and it would be amiss of me not to share it with the world. So here's how...

First off, unfortunately, it only works if you have access to a US account. I'm from GB, but luckily I had a helpful friend (who will remain nameless, but who's an angel in my books for helping us out at short notice) in the US who could transfer money from her US account to the service I describe below.

All she needed to do was sign up to www.xoom.com and transfer funds from her US account, through Xoom, specifying ]MORE[ as the dispensing agent (www.moreargentina.com.ar). You can also call ]MORE[ on Teléfono (11) 4811-5532 / 3296 / 7301 / 8077 / 3637 y 4813-1665.

In Salta, they were located at 666 Espana, at Western Union (but be sure not to use Western Union as the dispensing agent, who would only dispense pesos at the official rate). My friend was able to view the rate prior to the transfer, and it also showed the amount of USD transferred and the amount of pesos received.

Be warned that:

- ]MORE[ only has agents from BsAs and north from there (apparently not in Bariloche).

- Western Union has a daily limit for withdrawals of AR$15,000.

- Western Union has an approval limit over and above which withdrawals has to be referred to head-office...and certainly US$815 / AR$7,305 qualified...not a problem if you're withdrawing cash before 6pm (when the Western Union BsAs office closes) but a problem if you found the Western Union office in Salta closed for their "siesta" between 13:00 and 17:00 and showed up after 18:00 (they close at 20:00) when the BsAs office is closed. So we had to wait until the next morning when Western Union opened again at 08:30. But the withdrawal went smoothly and we managed to save around 35% on cash in the process.

- Xoom charged around US$25 for an US$815 transfer and also take a cut in the rate (8.99 vs 9.90 unofficial, but still materially better than the 5.89 official).

I'm sure many would frown on the principles of exchanging USD at near enough the unofficial rate, but in my view, if that helps tourism in a fantastic country with leadership enforcing poor economic policies, then hey, everyone (except CFK, perhaps) is a winner!

Hope that helps a little...

The Herminator :-P

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