South America-money

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean South America-money

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1. Posted by c-chan (Budding Member 5 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi, im going to be travelling around south america from april (hopefully teaching english at some point), im just wondering about money. Do i take travellers cheques, american dollars or local currency???? Please help!

2. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

browse the forum; it's all there. Basically, a combination of debit card, credit card and, for emergencies, Traveller's cheques, suits most travellers' purposes.

3. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi C-Chan,

I didnt bother with travellers cheques as they seemed like hassle to me.
I brought two credit cards - one Mastercard, one Visa. You'll find that in some places only one is accepted, so it's handy to have both.

I also brought two debit cards from different Irish banks. Both had cirrus functions. These came in very handy when I found myself in places that didnt accept credit cards at all! or when a credit card was robbed. I split these cards up and kept them in seperate places for safety.

Re cash, I kept $100 and about 50euros emergency money stashed in my pack at all times. On my person, i carried local currency, usually enough for a day or two.

I found this system worked really well. :)


4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

^ Seems about right, though I would try and get PLUS cards instead of CIRRUS, as my roommate has CIRRUS and tends to run into problems a lot withdrawing money, whereas my PLUS network cards never have issued.

Travellers cheques are, in my opinion, pointless.

5. Posted by c-chan (Budding Member 5 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Oh dear......have no credit card-lived abroad for too long and came back to discover i 'no longer existed' in the bank's my only choice is cash & trav cheques though i dont fancy carrying a years worth around with me...does anybody have any experience of opening a bank account in brazil?? hmmm...... or has anybody had to use western union and got their money wired out to them?.............thanks

6. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Western union works well, but is WAY too expensive for regular use. I'd strongly recommend going through the hassle of (re-)opening a bank account in your country of (formal) residence; anywhere else will probably be more trouble than that.

7. Posted by Kitesh (Budding Member 7 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hey C-Chan...

I'm currently living in Argentina (Buenos Aires), I can tell you that Cirrus works perfectly well here, and that withdrawing cash from ATM's is a piece of piss...
Dollars are accepted here, but not widely used (although some travel guides would beg to differ). As everyone else said, don't bother with travellers cheques... bag of shite.
I wouldn't set up a bank account anywhere in South America, the fact remains that corruption is wonderfully ripe in this continent, and sometimes banks like to take your money without asking...

Good luck


8. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Kit's remark re the reliability of SA banks used to be true back in 2000 and 2001, but not anymore. Outside of Bolivia and Venezuela, I'd open a bank account anywhere in SA; only, they won't let you very easily...

9. Posted by CanadaKid (Full Member 71 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Travellers cheques are an option, but when I was there I found exchanging them was usually more trouble then it was worth. American dollars and Euros are fine, even in the not so-toursity places I always saw lots of places to exchange them. I mostly used a PLUS bank card and Visa, which were fine with some american money and couple travellers cheques just in case. The only country that I found money to be difficult with cards was Venezula, as almost all the bank machines say that they accept foreign cards, but won't let you withdraw money without your cedula (venezuelan ID number).