1. Posted by TrekSouth (Budding Member 32 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Ill be in Ecuador/Peru/Chile for the next 5 months. What is the best way to handle the money situation? I have a debit card, is this a viable option in SA?

2. Posted by El Boot (Full Member 106 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Im in a similar situation...

Im going to bring two debit cards and a credit card and im going to set it up so that i can switch funds between them...

3. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I would bring a debit and at least one credit card.

When i travelled in South America, I had a VISA and a Mastercard and then two debit cards for my separate banks. That system worked a treat. In some towns and villages your options are limited so it's good to be covered from all angles.

There are ATMS in most urban centres in Peru and Bolivia so you should be fine. I'd recommend always having $100 emergency money stashed as well....just in case you get in a tight spot.

Chile is fine unless you're heading off into the Patagonian wilderness or something

Hope that helps! :)

4. Posted by sdaltrey (Budding Member 68 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

You can use a debit card in most towns and cities. Obviously nothing will be found in smaller towns off the beaten track. I have a visa and a Cirrus/maestro. I found that the cirrus/maestro worked everywhere except for Nicaragua where my visa came to the rescue.

When you withdraw cash from an ATM just make sure that you select the correct option between say pesos and dollars. I arrived in Peru, went to the cash machine typed 100 and it gave me a useless 100 dollar bill. I then changed this in a fake (now i know) change shop and recieved half of my cash in fake notes. I´m not trying to scare you, it´s generally OK to change money in these places or even with street changers. It´s just that at the border you are at more risk because you arrive with no idea what a Peruvian peso looks like and they can take advantage of this.

Try to change a few notes with other backpackers who are travelling in the opposite direction that have some left over money so you already have some cash at the border town.