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What Currency?

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Going to Brazil and Argentina later this year and I understand their currencies aren't readily available outside their own countries. Need advice or experiences on getting local currency, is it better to use UK or Spanish bank card in local ATM, or to take hard cash to convert when we arrive. Which would be best Euros, sterling or dollars? I have read that sometimes shops etc will take dollars and give change in local currency.

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No problem obtaining either currency in the UK through the likes of M&S or Travelex, but not as many other outlets as more-mainstream currencies. 

If you're based in Spain I can't advise.

 

There are currency exchange bureaux in the main cities like Buenos Aires and Rio, but rates are variable - using a bank card in ATMs  will probably give you a better rate.

I don't see a difference between Brit or Spanish bank cards, but is either of them fee-free for foreign currency ?

 

Best value and most flexible by far is to pay by credit card, using a card that's fee-free for purchases in a foreign currency. Capital One, Halifax Clarity, Post Office credit cards, or (for members only) Nationwide Flex. There are others too.

Well worth getting a card that doesn't charge an exchange fee for purchases abroad, and for your ship-board account if it's not a sterling ship.

 

Beware when using a card for purchases........

You'll probably be asked whether you'd like your card to be charged in its currency "for your convenience"

DECLINE any such offer - outlets set their own exchange rates and your card issuer will always give a better exchange rate, so always have the card charged in local currency, same as on the bill.

Same applies on the ship if ship's currency isn't sterling (or in your case, euros) - DECLINE their offer to convert, leave it in ship's currency.

Some outlets now go one step further - they set their POS machine to automatically charge in the card's currency, so always check the charge shown on the machine before inserting your card and if it's not local currency ask them to change it back to local currency & check that it's the same amount as the bill.

 

It's worth taking some back-up cash pounds, but you'll need to change them cos they're not accepted virtually anywhere.

 

If you have US dollars, they are accepted in a lot of places but usually at a poor exchange rate. Do check their acceptability before committing if you don't have local money.

 

Yes, pay in US dollars & get change in local currency is quite common in the Caribbean in shops that deal mainly with local customers. But in outlets that deal mainly with tourists you'll get your change in US dollars.

I don't know about change when using USD in South America.

 

I see you've already found the South America forum, you're likely to get more replies there. :classic_smile:

 

JB  :classic_smile:

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quote< No problem obtaining either currency in the UK through the likes of M&S or Travelex, but not as many other outlets as more-mainstream currencies.  ...snip) Thanks JB. Do you know if  M&S at HedgeEnd have currency exchange, or is there a closer one to Portsmouh?  Thanks for the info

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Hedge End certainly does - I go that way frequently, so it's convenient for me.

And also, according to their website, Chichester - but neither of their Portsmouth stores.

 

But it's very possible that if you go to Hedge End or Chi on-spec they won't carry those less-common currencies in stock.  

And be aware that they may have the same policy as Sainsbury & Tesco -  if you order on-line the rates are better than if you buy in-store.

So to be sure of availability and to get those better rates, do as we do - order on-line to click-and-collect from the most convenient store.  And if you go down that route you may find that one of the Portsmouth stores is amongst the click-and-collect options. 

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

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9 hours ago, John Bull said:

snip <....And be aware that they may have the same policy as Sainsbury & Tesco -  if you order on-line the rates are better than if you buy in-store. So to be sure of availability and to get those better rates, do as we do - order on-line to click-and-collect from the most convenient store.  And if you go down that route you may find that one of the Portsmouth stores is amongst the click-and-collect options. >

 

Thanks JB I didn't know Sainsbury and Tesco sold currency...we haven't lived in UK for many years. But OH visits annually, so could pick up some money next time he's over

 

 

 

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We tend to use the mastercard for larger purchases and a debit card (both without fees and charges) for ATM cash withdrawals for some local cash in the appropriate currency. Most tour operators will take credit card or US cash.

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I mentioned getting those currencies from "the likes of M&S and Travelex" because they list both currencies, but that those currencies weren't available from most of the usual sources.

Tesco & Sainsbury list Brazilian, but not Argentinian.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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Needed to pre order Argentinian and Chillean currency at M & S in January 2018. They said about a week but had phone call within two days to say it was there, ready and waiting. Thought we'd manage Uruguayian visit using US dollars but rates were dreadful, so ended up exchanging at a street kiosk in Montvideo...not good rate but better than shops/ cafés.  Can't help with Brazilian currency I am afraid.

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