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Money in South America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Money in South America

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11. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

Okay, I'm throwing in my 2 cents worth too...

I agree with both Derek (Piecar) and Niels (bentivogli) about the use of traveler's cheques. Though our travel experiences are not as impressive as theirs (nor Sam's for that matter), we have run into several situations where traveler's cheques were of no use whatsoever. As an example - while in Panama City - it took 2 hours, 4 cab rides, 12 banks and our last $20 just to find out that no one would take our traveler's cheques. We ended up taking a cash advance on a credit card at 20% interest - YIKES!!! ( We also had problems with TCs in Ireland.)

Banks are notorious for changing the traveler's cheques they will accept. One day it can be American Express, another day Visa - depends on the perks the banks get from the companies. Businesses, such as hotels, stores, etc. will only accept the TCs their bank honors at that time, if they accept them at all. This is not as uncommon as one may think either. A debit card would have saved us quite a bit of hassle at the time and the route I will be taking when we get to adventure out again. Always have a certain amount of real cash on hand for those "cash only" situations. As Derek has commented, do not wait until you are down to your last dime to restock you cash flow. (Had we had a debit card - instead of traveler's cheques - we wouldn't have been down to our last $20 in PC.)

On a Moderator's note: the bickering about who is a "pedestrian" traveler and who is not - doesn't matter. Return this thread to it's topic and leave it at that. I know everyone can agree to disagree in a friendly manner - so...

12. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 7y

Banks are notorious for changing the traveler's cheques they will accept. One day it can be American Express, another day Visa - depends on the perks the banks get from the companies

That is utter nonsense and shows a somewhat incomplete understanding of international banking-(that's being polite about it).

I note that none of the other posters here have shared their voluminous knowledge about how to extract anything more than the daily maximum amount of cash (generally a paltry amount) from any developing country's banking system.

13. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 7y

Quoting SamSalmon

I note that none of the other posters here have shared their voluminous knowledge about how to extract anything more than the daily maximum amount of cash

That's because the OP's question wasn't about that. If you feel a need to prove yourself right or more knowledgeable, please start a new thread for that.

14. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 7y

Quoting bentivogli

Quoting SamSalmon

I note that none of the other posters here have shared their voluminous knowledge about how to extract anything more than the daily maximum amount of cash

That's because the OP's question wasn't about that. If you feel a need to prove yourself right or more knowledgeable, please start a new thread for that.

The thread is about Money in South America-as per the subject line.

15. Posted by findemundo (Full Member 127 posts) 7y

A note about notifying a bank re: using credit/debit cards out of country.
Most companies offer the option to let them know the countries you'll be, and when, so they can see if a card is being used where it's supposed to be. That way it won't be "shut off" due to potential fraudulent use.

Re: cash. I stuffed 5 $20USD bills in the "rain cover" pouch of my main backpack. They were so deep down there that unless someone had loads of time or simply stole the entire pack, they weren't going to find it. Never lost the money and, there was a time when I needed some cash in a hurry.

16. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 7y

Quoting findemundo

A note about notifying a bank re: using credit/debit cards out of country.
Most companies offer the option to let them know the countries you'll be, and when, so they can see if a card is being used where it's supposed to be. That way it won't be "shut off" due to potential fraudulent use....

Excellent point and I found Mastercard to be much easier to deal with than Visa.

When I went to Colombia Visa wanted me to phone a special number every time I was to use the card-I told them they had NFC and to shove it.

17. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

Forget Travellers cheques. I live in Brasil and most banks dont accept it. Credit cards is all u need to withdraw money. Plain and certainly SIMPLE

18. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 7y

Seems like an easy rout of the TCs. The days of Karl Malden are past...I liked that big Lug

Post 19 was removed by a moderator
20. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 7y

Seems to me more like people flaunting their ignorance.