The Argentinian Tourist Dollar - Save Money off EVERYTHING?

Saw this elsewhere and thought this might interest people. In a nutshell, the Argentinian government have introduced a tourist peso exchange rate, designed to encourage tourists to spend in AR$ rather than USD. Except the scheme isn’t limited to physical purchases in ARG, so people outside of ARG have been setting AR$ as their preferred payment currency in PayPal and using it to get huge reductions in the cost of anything they buy, anywhere. Detail (copied from another site) below.

Of course, the jury is out on the legality/morality of taking advantage of this loophole, so caveat emptor.

Until recently, payments made in Argentina with foreign credit cards were changed at the official dollar exchange rate, which is AR$185.75 to the dollar at the time of writing. But on November 4, Argentina’s central bank launched a preferential exchange rate for foreign tourists.

Known as the “foreign tourist dollar”, it means payments made on foreign credit cards use the “MEP” (“Electronic Payment Market”) dollar exchange rate, which is currently AR$331.79 to the dollar. In other words, if you’re paying by card, your dollars go 78% further than before. (Source)

Visa evens shows this tourist rate on its official exchange rate calculator: Exchange Rate Calculator | Visa

Someone on Germany’s Hotukdeals, Mydealz, found a way to exploit it. First, by purchasing 100€ Amazon gift cards via MTCGame.com and paying in Pesos via Visa for 60€. Off 40 percent. He posted his findings on Mydealz.

Others chipped in and found that you can make use of this Peso discount whenever a web shop allows for Paypal payments (so pretty much everywhere): add Visa card to PayPal, changed currency to Peso, use this visa card via PP on checkout.

End of the story: people are buying EVERYTHING with Pesos right now. iPhones that usually cost 900 Euros for 600€, for instance.

The Mydealz thread stands at 81 pages full of comments, as of now. Within two days.

No words from Visa, PayPal etc. as of now. MTCgame has started blocking PP payments.

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There’s an update

Unfortunately, PayPal is currently no longer possible! However, you can still shop cheaply in any online shop that offers ARS as the currency – so it’s still possible to shop cheaply via VISA
MTCgame has Amazon gift cards £100 for £70 on a fee free visa card.

The UK-Argentine relationship is on shaky ground at the best of times, this can only end well.

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It’s the Germans wot started it! :innocent:

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Payments keep failing with two different Visa cards, one credit and one debit :tired_face:

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@AlanDoe :eyes:

Ah shame
I haven’t tried.

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Unfortunately, it is currently no longer possible via PayPal! However, you can still shop cheaply in any online shop where ARS is offered as the currency – So it is still possible to shop cheaply via VISA //mydealz_angel

It’s not a particularly nice thing to do though… you’ll essentially exploiting a country that already has currency difficulties.

When you buy a discounted iPhone - who is ultimately picking up the cost. Likely the Argentinian taxpayer.

Which is why I won’t be taking advantage of it.

While the Argentine governments are traditionally incompetent thieves, they also (sometimes) know how to raise more money. They wouldn’t do this to lose money or spend public money they don’t have.

My view on it is they are doing it to increase the intake of foreign currency into the country (as every time you use foreign cards you are essentially selling USD, GBP etc. to the Argentine govt and getting pesos in exchange). They are counting on using that extra foreign currency as reserves, to gain extra interest, to re-invest, to pay for imports, etc, being stronger than their own currency.
While they have not been capable of restraining their own currency ever since it was unpegged from the US Dollar, it might make sense for them to attract some foreign currency which they can at least then use directly to pay for things, rather than use their own ever-devaluing currency.

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