Banking questions

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  • Hi, I don’t arrive until June 1 but keep thinking about banks. I know I need to wait for my DNI yet my mind is restless on these questions;


    1. Is there such a thing as a ‘dollar account’ where I can deposit and withdraw dollars?

    2. I have been a Citibank business customer in the USA for 25 years yet no one at Citi can answer any questions about establishing either a personal or a business Citibank account in BA. Wire transfers originated in USA in dollars paid in BA in dollars?

    3. If you deposit dollars in a BA bank and withdraw in pesos, do they use standard exchange rate or Blue?

    4. I know what arbolistas are and have a connection to a good one through a business contact.

    5. If I have a peso bank account, why not use my bank card to make purchases? Instead of carrying a backpack full of 1,000 peso notes? If I exchange dollars for pesos with an arbolista, then deposit pesos, I would no longer be concerned with the exchange rate. Right?

    6. If a ‘dollar account’ is available to me, may I also have a peso account, say at a different bank?

    7. What about crypto currency? Do banks accept crypto deposits? Will they pay to a crypto wallet?

    8. Any value to taking the ferry to Uruguay and establishing a bank account there? Is that possible? Just in case the peso collapses entirely and they lock down the banks?

  • Hello FScott,


    banking in Argentina is very complicated and not as straightforward as in the US. I will try to reply to your many questions based on my limited knowledge.


    Many people have bank accounts in Uruguay for that very reason. In my experience at BRU bank, as soon as they hear the word "United States citizen/resident" they run away because of the FATCA requirements. I suppose that if you have contacts and come recommended, your experience will be different.

  •  If I exchange dollars for pesos with an arbolista, then deposit pesos, I would no longer be concerned with the exchange rate. Right?

    I can’t help with your more complicated questions, I’m afraid, but this is a simple one.


    You are right: if you exchange all your dollars at a cueva and deposit your pesos, you won’t need to pay further attention to the exchange rate, of course. But in the current situation of very rapidly changing dollar to peso exchange rates, you could be severely limiting the purchasing power of your dollars.

  • FScott , Western Union is your friend ....


    Currently on vacation in Florida .


    Trying not to convert prices into Pesos.....


    Will message you when I get back to Argentina.


    I can’t help with your more complicated questions, I’m afraid, but this is a simple one.


    You are right: if you exchange all your dollars at a cueva and deposit your pesos, you won’t need to pay further attention to the exchange rate, of course. But in the current situation of very rapidly changing dollar to peso exchange rates, you could be severely limiting the purchasing power of your dollars.

    You have to try and measure your immediate needs and change or transfer accordingly.


    Normally you could take a month long horizon , But now if you look beyond a week you could lose money.

  • We exchange $100-$200 depending on our needs for the week. Start of the month has several bills to pay, so we exchange also $300-400. We try to exchange with friends to meet halfway between the buy/sell rate on Ámbito Financero of the day. Our local cueva gives pretty bad rates, but it is safe, conveniently located one block from our apartment and always has money to exchange. Friends and acquaintances may not have pesos to exchange and it is always a pain to coordinate to meet to exchange money.


    FScott , you may want to read this article: https://buenosairesherald.com/…rency-exchange-violations


    Even if doesn't apply to you personally, it helps understand how terrible it is to live in a country with draconian monetary rules.

  • Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. This information is helpful and will quiet my mind a bit.


    I had not heard of Cuevas’s previously (caves?). I do have crypto so I will need to look for one near me in Recoleta.

    I was thinking to transfer dollars from the USA monthly to my crypto wallet then, cash what amount I needed to pesos, thereby avoiding bank transfers while keeping my funds "safe" in crypto. I do not trust banks nor fiat currency much in any country.


    I can’t help with your more complicated questions, I’m afraid, but this is a simple one.


    You are right: if you exchange all your dollars at a cueva and deposit your pesos, you won’t need to pay further attention to the exchange rate, of course. But in the current situation of very rapidly changing dollar to peso exchange rates, you could be severely limiting the purchasing power of your dollars.

    I am sitting here in Chicago and watching the blue rate daily on twitter ‘dólar blue hoy’ feeling like I am missing out on the opportunity of exchange at 460/480 and wishing I was there already! It seems to me that when you are ‘doubling’ your cash merely by exchange, the difference of 10% or so in the daily rate does not seem like much.

    I imagine that if I was there last week when the blue hit the 470’s, I would have probably rushed out to exchange a few thousand usd thinking that was near the top. Indeed, reading the Argentine news daily, it looks like they are ‘pulling all the levers’ they have to flatten the exchange rate (soy pricing, Monday’s payment due with the IMF and Washington DC negotiations, etc). My guess is the blue rate has seen the top and will settle back down to the low 400’s of even high 300’s.

    Argentina cracks as peso plunge raises risk of messy devaluation
    Argentina is moving closer to a breaking point as the government’s desperate measures fail to halt a plunge in the peso, raising the risk of a currency…
    www.batimes.com.ar


    What do you think?

    Edited once, last by FScott: Merged a post created by FScott into this post. ().


  • I am sitting here in Chicago and watching the blue rate daily on twitter ‘dólar blue hoy’ feeling like I am missing out on the opportunity of exchange at 460/480 and wishing I was there already! It seems to me that when you are ‘doubling’ your cash merely by exchange, the difference of 10% or so in the daily rate does not seem like much.

    I, too, felt like I was missing on the blue at 492 the other day, and I live in the centre of Buenos Aires. However, I found no place that would exchange at that rate. Everybody was holding onto their money, at least professional traders (including the cueva). You may get lucky if you have friends/acquaintances that get overwhelmed with worry and want to exchange their pesos fearing the worst has yet to come.

    However, professional traders will sit still until the turmoil is over, a.k.a. they will cover their a**.


    Lack of transparency is a big issue in this country, and not just when telling about politicians' misconduct. Where do the 490+ rate came from? Was it an actual number or just figures? There is more to it but th public never gets the full picture.


    Below is a historical comparison of the blue rate vs. MEP rate over the last 4 months. When the blue "jumps", the MEP doesn't follow suit.

    https://www.dolarito.ar/cotizaciones-historicas/mep




    Cotización histórica del dólar bolsa (mep)
    Evolución del dólar bolsa (mep). Revisá la cotización histórica del dólar bolsa (mep) desde Octubre del 2018. Gráficos de evolución del dólar bolsa (mep).
    www.dolarito.ar

  • The MEP and the CCL rates are the true grey market rates.


    The Blue rate is an invented rate that works normally but when it jumps up , we , the normal men and women in the street , will not get the chance of buying or selling at the inflated rate.


    You should all follow the dolarito.ar page thet serafina posted a while back.


    Thomas Hynes, an honest Irish money man is also a good source of info.

  • Thanks for sharing this. On Argentinian freelance groups, someone mentioned that Binance.US and Binance for Argentinian customers (residents) work differently. I am not sure about the differences as I never used the app. Do you have their card, FScott ? And I wonder what rate they would apply (if there is an exchange from crypto to ARS to process transactions).

  • Thanks for sharing this. On Argentinian freelance groups, someone mentioned that Binance.US and Binance for Argentinian customers (residents) work differently. I am not sure about the differences as I never used the app. Do you have their card, FScott ? And I wonder what rate they would apply (if there is an exchange from crypto to ARS to process transactions).

    Excellent question.

    Binance does not operate in the USA,it has something moe limited (because of regulations here) called Binance USA. I do not use it. I use Ledger and Coinbase.


    I can not register for the full version of Binance and request a card until I am physically in Argentenia and have my DNI in hand for verification of my account (KYC rules - know your customer rules).


    I just finished reading a great article on this topic;


    https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/bitcoin-dollarization-to-save-argentina