There are 20 replies in this Thread which was already clicked 348 times. The last Post () by Sarran1955.

Commonly applied exchange rate in everyday transactions

  • After 8 years here, I can't still grasp some issues of the local economy.

    I know that houses are priced in USD and the transaction is indeed in USD (usually using actual bills in a bag). I see that also some goods are priced in USD (like used Apple computers, cars etc.) but the transaction is ultimately carried out in pesos. However, it is my understanding that when buying from official channels, the conversion rate is the official one (this is why also prices in USD can be outrageously high), whereas on other markets (like a purchase between individuals) the blue exchange rate is applied.


    I have a situation where a close friend asked for some goods from abroad, for which I paid in Euros. Now that I am ready to deliver the goods, this person wants to pay in pesos at the official rate, which is HALF the parallel one. I don't want to compromise the relationship, it was my understanding that it was implicit that in informal transactions the blue rate is the one to apply.

    After all, if the goods were purchased directly abroad, using an Argentinian card, they would cost close to the blue price because of the various impuestos...


    Am I off on this matter? I repeat, I don't want to compromise the relationship with the only friend I made here. I know they also travel abroad and make purchase while there. I assume they pay using an Argentinian card, or maybe they exchange 200 USD per month and then spend the bills in the US?

    Anyway, I don't feel it is right to me if the exchange rate applied is half the actual value. I want to propose to get paid in USD, so that it is not my business whether they buy USD at 100 or 200.

    The amount is 65 USD, so I would still need to give a change in return.

  • I would insist on being paid in USD. They would or should have known this. There are no friends in financial transactions.

  • The unwritten rules are clear - they pay you in USD or in pesos at the Blue rate.


    They should be able to get 200 dollars from their bank each month and you give them change in USD or pesos, again at the blue arte.

  • I agree with Splinter and GJ, serafina , and would add that it is not you but your friend who is willing to compromise the relationship by not paying you what s/he should. You were thoughtful enough to serve as the purchaser, without also being expected to be the cueva as well.


    The difficulty, of course, is finding a way to be diplomatic about this, especially if you and the friend have different native languages. Nuance.

  • serafina The etiquette in my circle of friends is that if someone asks me to buy something for them and it costs - say - USD65, then they would pay me USD65. How they obtain the dollars and at what exchange rate is entirely a matter for themselves. Splinter It's not so much that there are no friends in financial transactions but that friends don't take advantage of friends in either direction.

  • serafina The etiquette in my circle of friends is that if someone asks me to buy something for them and it costs - say - USD65, then they would pay me USD65. How they obtain the dollars and at what exchange rate is entirely a matter for themselves. Splinter It's not so much that there are no friends in financial transactions but that friends don't take advantage of friends in either direction.

    That would be ideal. However, for such a small amount and considering that smaller bills are hardly exchangeable here (such as 5s and 10s, or any note that has no blue stripe like the newer 100s bills), I hardly doubt they can get exactly 65 USD. At most, they can get a 50 USD bill.

    It should be also taken into account that Paypal is strictly regulated here, and quite a novelty.


    I still have to find a nice way to ask for dollars:

    - they can send me USD 65 abroad, if they have access to them;

    - they can give me a USD 100 bill, and I can give them the change in ARS at the blue rate;

    - they can give me a USD 50 bill, and USD 15 at the blue rate.


    This is also why I prefer to buy/sell stuff with expats: the transactions can be carried out in a solid currency and often abroad. A while ago, I was very close to buying a used iMac from an expat who was leaving, for which I was going to pay abroad.

  • They are actually your neighbors, so Argentinian but not technically porteños. ;)


    I too find appalling that they even suggested to give me 7400 ARS and call it a day. Seriously?!

  • Good grief! It was pushy enough of them to have asked you to bring back such a large volume from abroad. They should be so grateful that they wouldn’t even THINK of taking advantage of you financially.

  • A quick ad on the Facebook ex-pat page? Does it have a sell-by date?

    They expire in Jan 2023. I will try to sell them in case my friend doesn't come to their senses.

    I am not eager to publish them on the internet because you aren't supposed to bring in pet food, let alone sell them.

  • If they're not used to travelling abroad or dealing in dollars then I can understand their naivety. If they're just trying to pull a fast one then I'd have no hesitation in telling them to cough up in dollars or euros.

  • No naivety. They know what the Blue rate is, they know it is not the official rate. Just doing basic math in their head would tell them they are ripping Serafina off.


    This is why I am wary of doing these kinds of things when I travel. I have done for family but am always clear about the exchange rate at that time.


    Without losing your friend, is there no way to explain this situation to them? Then if they disagree all bets are off and you may be friendless here again.

  • That would be ideal. However, for such a small amount and considering that smaller bills are hardly exchangeable here (such as 5s and 10s, or any note that has no blue stripe like the newer 100s bills), I hardly doubt they can get exactly 65 USD. At most, they can get a 50 USD bill.

    (snipped)

    Everybody's experience is different and I can only talk about the people that I know. There are ex-pats and Argentines wanting to convert dollars to pesos for whom only up-to-the-minute latest-issue Benjamins will do: for everybody else I know, a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. They have been giving and receiving dollars since they were children and an uncle sometime rustled up a ten-spot and told them to put it away with their savings. All the Argentines I know have a miscellany of notes in their collections: small bills, big bills, old bills, torn bills - a whole history of United States currency in one shoe-box under the bed. Not much good for the money-changers but absolutely fine when you want to spend a dollar. Provided you serafina are comfortable about receiving the sort of dollars that can be spent in any store in the USA or any airport lounge on the way there and you are not holding out for pristine hundreds, I really can't see your friend being unable to pay you $65.

  • I really can't see your friend being unable to pay you $65.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. This is reassuring. It also reinforces my disbelief for having being offered the official rate when any Argentinian is raised knowing that the dollar is king and the official rate is a delusional number set up for a poor make-believe economical exercise.