Lurking at the ATM

Unlike many other countries, an expat without a national ID number — which here is called a DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad) — will have a very hard time opening a bank account in Argentina. (You cannot get a DNI without having some sort of resident visa.)

I have read tales online of a few rare expats who have managed to open a bank account without the DNI, but it appears to be exceedingly difficult. We considered trying to go that route, but the funny thing is, even if you can swing an account, everyone tells you not to put any money in the Argentinian bank because the government could seize the money and devalue it at any moment, a la 2001 (“the crisis,” as it is called here). We decided not to bother.

Most expats here without a DNI just lurk by the ATM machine, gathering cash every day and hoarding it to pay for rent and other bills.

It works like this: a) You can take out about 600 pesos per transaction at an ATM machine; and, b) You can only take out the equivalent of $US 500 per day total from all ATM transactions in a 24 hour period (about 1,680 pesos by today’s exchange rate).

Cash economy baby.

3 Responses to “Lurking at the ATM”

  1. Barbara

    The blue ATM in CitiBank lets you withdraw at whatever your US limit is ($500 per day or $1000 per day, depending on your US bank). Only the blue one, though.

    If you have a CDI (a sort of tax ID number that you have to get before you purchase property here; not hard to get, relatively speaking), you should be able to open a bank account at HSBC with your passport and CDI. However, if you are just here for a short time, why would you want to bother?

  2. Michele

    Thanks for the tip on the blue ATM!

  3. Blake

    If it you choose other amount at any ATM you should be able to withdraw 420 pesos at a time.

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