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Warning. ATM problems in Argentina.

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Warning. ATM problems in Argentina.

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Argentina
1. Posted by sdaltrey (Budding Member 68 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

For the past few weeks I´ve had a nightmare trying to get cash from Argentine ATMs. I´ve been living here for a few years and with my UK maestro, o Visa debit cards I could withdraw 1000s of pesos.

Then a few weeks back my visa card refuses to work. Sometimes it says the pin is wrong and or just says the card or account isn´t valid on that network. With the maestro/cirrus card it tells me that I have passed my daily limit and that the maximum that I can withdraw is the grand sum of AR$0. great! But if I try to take out $300 it gives me the cash. Wahey!

After searching a bit on the net forums this seems to be a problem dating back to July or August. The network called Banelco has put a limit of AR$300 on it´s ATM. It seems the same for the Link network too. Dunno why my visa card doesn´t work.

Has anyone else experienced this problem in Argentina? How did you get around it? Does your visa debit card work?



2. Posted by Marula (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

There is a ridiculous law in Argentina that was passed to "prevent" money laundering, or that's what the people at the bank told me once.
I'm an Argentine citizen with an account in pesos with an Argentine bank, so my situation might be slightly different. In my case, I went to the bank and upgraded that "limit" to a maximum of AR$2000 per day. Now, my roomies have had trouble with their own banks, and apparently they can't solve it from abroad. If your bank has an office here, it might be possible to do the same as I did. I haven't tried calling Banelco...
Please keep us posted about this, if you find a solution.


3. Posted by juanka (Inactive 48 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

There is NOT ATM problems.

As a local, I will explain the reason of the changes in ATM.

the reduction of limits is because some robbers began to attack
people when they go into the ATM boxes and to force them
to take out all money of their accounts.

Now you can take more money, but you must repeat your extraction
(of course robbers don't have time to wait...). This was a good idea
of the banks because 'in name of your safety"they earn more money
with your 2 or 3 transactions.

At least the change was good, because eliminated the robbers actions,
that was the REAL PROBLEM, not te limit of extractions.

The thing is not new. I receive and lodge foreigners for 15 years and
this began a couple of years ago. So I instruct my guests about this,
and I tell them "If you need more money, go to the bank cash and
they will give all money you need in just 1 transaction".

There is limit per day, as Marula says, but this is another question

What sounds extrange is that Steve (who says he is
been living here few YEARS) doesn't know all these things...
or even he didn't try to ask to any person inside the bank...
Should be nice to read from Steve of you the good things
of my country that make to him to stay longer as you say.

I don't undertand some people who enjoy all the many good things
my couintry brings, but just tell others what they think are bad things.

Juan Carlos
your traverhelper in BA

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

4. Posted by sdaltrey (Budding Member 68 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Sorry to dis Argentina Juan Carlos, I was just trying to warn other travellers of the difficulties of using the ATMs and to see if there is a solution.

I asked in the HBSC bank today and they told me a different story that banelco had put a limit on foreign transactions. Your explanation doesn´t explain why my Argentine friends with accounts here can get say AR$1000 out of an ATM. Or is the idea aimed at only tourists?

Actually I was just chatting with the cashier in the carneceria (nice asado tonight!!) and she said, like you, that I should withdraw cash over the counter. I´ll give that a try. Sorry for my ignorance but I come from the UK where I haven´t entered inside a bank in 15 years. Everything is done via the ATM, internet or post. Also the queues inside banks are usually quite large!

Argentina is a wicked country. I love the place. Travelled all over it and made many new friends in my new home here.



5. Posted by sdaltrey (Budding Member 68 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I've just tried getting cash from the counter inside two banks. They say that they cannot give me a cash advance on my visa or maestro/cirrus card. To obtain cash from my UK account they say I must make several ATM withdraws of a maximum AR$320 per transaction. Fair enough but I'm worried that my UK bank will think that the card is stolen with so many extractions in one day.

Has anyone been able to get a cash advance on their foriegn debit card in an argentine bank?
If so which bank?

I tried these banks with no success: Banco de Tierra del Fuego and Banco Frances.



6. Posted by loubylou (Respected Member 664 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Quoting sdaltrey

I'm worried that my UK bank will think that the card is stolen with so many extractions in one day


Not directly related to Argentina, but we have similar problems here in Asia where the banks limit us to a similar amount withdrawal. You are right in thinking your bank may restrict your card. A couple of weeks ago my card had a restriction put on it because I got 3 lots of £50 out of the same bank machine. I had to call my bank in the UK to get them to lift the restriction.

The only thing I can suggest you do is to call your bank in the UK and explain the withdrawal allowance there and ask them not to restrict the card for 'unusual activity' as they call it. I'm sure your bank will understand and make sure your cards are ok to use.

We know how frustrating it can be and this is probably the only way around it as all banks in the same country tend to have the same policies. The only other thing is to find a Citibank or HSBC (I can't remember from memory how common they are in Argentina) and see if they have a similar policy as some foreign owned banks have higher withdrawal limits on their ATM's.


7. Posted by bassirl (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hmm, I wonder whether "juanka" is Irish or British with a slightly wicked sense of humour, or whether he is a genuine Argentine unaware of the unfortunate pronunciation ...

Anyway, my 2 euro cent.

I also, on Maestro and Mastercard, can only get ARG$300 a transaction and can generally then manage 7 transactions with a single visit (costing €24,50 in charges therefore :( (So much juanka for the kind Argentine banks trying to save us from thieves - all it does is make us obvious targets!

But - eureka - my Visa can manage ARG$600 per transaction and 5 transactions per visit (so a mere €12.50 in charges).

This took some trial and error to work out - for some bizarre reason if you choose ARG$500 on the first attempt you can then only manage ARG$400 the next time.

I did successfully open an account (Banco Itaú). It then turned out to be illegal to transfer my own money to it as I am non-resident. Putting in cash the cashier had seen me taking of the cash machine with my Visa card was no problem, though how this differs from from a "transfer" - except by being less traceable and infinitely more open to misuse - is beyond me.

If anyone can shed light on the actual rules - the banks don't appear to know them themselves - please do post them.

8. Posted by fadriazola (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I am afraid this is the case in Argentina. There are a few atm's where you can take out 500 pesos still but it doesn't seem to be consitent. I normaly find that getting out 320 is the norm. You can take this out 7 times. It depends on your english bank how much you are charged. I am still trying to get to the bottom of this however I think it u have a post office card you are not charged and also some other banks. Hope that helps. F