Banking in BA


Aug 7, 2006
This may be a silly question, but I am curious what expats do about banking in BA. I know I could use an ATM just about anywhere, but how do you make deposits? Will Argentine banks allow you to open an account if you are simply there on a tourist visa? Any help or advice would be appreciated...
Clare, I believe they use ATMs, Credit Cards, Travellers cheques or generate their own income here... but in some previous post in this Forum this topic has been covered I believe (check the Expat life forums section within the "All Forums" )- anything related to banking and such.
Hi Clare,
I found this info on the net, I hope it may help. Also, in order to save you some research time I pasted a link to a business directory for expatriates where you can find BA banks with headquaters abroad.
How to open a bank account in Argentina
There are no general guidelines for opening a bank account in
Argentina. Every bank appears to have its own requirements for
opening an account.

Opening a savings account (cuenta de ahorros) or current (US:
checking) account (cuenta corriente) also tends to make a difference
as to what is required. The best advice is contact several different
banks and ask them.

We spoke to several banks in Buenos Aires, and besides the necessity
to show a valid passport and proof of domicile, requirements varied
from minimum deposits of AR$ 1,000 to employment contracts ranging
from 6 months to 1 year.

As an example, Banco La Nación has the following requirements for
foreigners to open an account:

Bring your original Identification Document and a copy
Proof of domicile (gas bill, telephone bill, etc.)
Your CUIL (Código Único de Identificación Laboral)/ CUIT (Código
Único de Identificación Tributaria) / CDI (Carnet de Identidad)\
CUIL is a number given to every employee upon starting to work for
an employer. CUIT is a personal number you need to pay taxes. CDI is
your Identification Card number.
Initial deposit. To open an account in pesos, this should be at
least AR$10. For a dollar account, the initial deposit is US$ 500.
Annual maintenance costs of the account are AR$ 6 for a peso
account, and US$ 2 for a dollar account. The costs include a Maestro
debit card.
AccountsIn Argentina bank accounts can be opened in Argentina pesos
(AR$) and in US Dollars (US$). The costs of these accounts usually
vary. Another distinction is opening a savings account and current
(US: checking) account. A current account is used for daily
payments, whereas a savings account is used to save money.
I read some of the posts about ATM's/Banking and did not find the answer to my question but I could've missed it somewhere. My question is: Can you go inside a bank and have them draw money off of your ATM/Debit Card in order to receive cash? I have done this in other countries when I needed to draw large amounts that were refused by the ATM machine. I said I would be in BsAs today but it's actually tomorrow. I'm from Oklahoma, USA, and will be visiting my sister, and niece, who married an Argentine some years ago. I'll be taking college courses online while there partly to stay busy, and also to finish my B.A. I got an apartment through "4rentArgentina" in Palermo supposedly with high-speed internet.
I believe you can withdraw money from the cashier when is a larger amount than the one allowed by the ATM. Although you should take on account that they can charge you to do this operation (when you use the cashier (human being) instead the machine and you should make sure your account in the argentina branch is set to accept such operation... you know how tricky the banks are. I think other option is change checks at an exchange office but I ma not sure about the charges... hope it may help. :)
"Gearjammer" said:
My question is: Can you go inside a bank and have them draw money off of your ATM/Debit Card in order to receive cash?
I don't think you can do it. I doubt that cashiers will be so cooperative.
You may try to call your bank and increase limit for ATM withdrawals.
There is also American Express office on Plaza San Martin and you can cash travellers checks there (up to 5 grands per month).
Something that I find is often overlooked regarding banking in Argentina, (or almost anywhere, for that matter), is American Express.

Igor's on target regarding ATM's and not being able to use your credit card to withdraw funds directly from a bank except for daily ATM withdrawals. However, you can use your ATM/credit card to pay bills at a local bank. They just won't hand you a cash withdrawal.

As for American Express, sadly many of the services it was once famous for have been discontinued. For example, you once could have your personal mail forwarded to an AmEx Office anywhere in the world for up to six months as long as you had the original green AmEx card. But no longer. And almost all ATM's in Argentina will not accept your American Express card to withdraw funds, (some do, but not all). But one thing you can still do at the local AmEx offices with a green AmEx card is cash a personal cheque written on your local bank, regardless of your nationality and origin of your home bank. The green AmEx card usually doesn't have a limit, (possibly $100,000 U$S). Anyway, my card has never had a limit. To write a personal cheque, (if you brought along your cheque book), all you do is go to their offices on Arenales (approximately 400 Arenales, it's the mainfloor entrance to the large building on the corner across from Plaza San Martin). Go downstairs to the cashier lines. Present your passport and credit card, which they will need to photocopy, then stand in another line with all of the other international tourists to wait and talk with a cashier. You present your passport, credit card/passport photocopy, green AmEx card, (their Platinum card works, too), and write out a check to American Express. I've never had a cashier balk at the amount for which I've written a personal cheque.

If you ask for Pesos, there is no fee for cashing the cheque. If you request Euros or U$S Dollars, they will charge you a small commission. They are open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM Monday through Friday. The assistants who maintain order and keep everyone in line speak relatively good English, but from personal experience their French tends to be much better. They also have personnel who speak practically all other languages.

According to American Express Centurion Bank, the American Express Bank and offices in Buenos Aires make up the second largest branch in the world. The largest is in Chicago. Although there are other businesses leasing office space, AmEx owns the building. I find this interesting only because American Express started in Paris after WWI as a means for American Expats to easily receive and convert cash sent to them from the USA.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you don't have the original green AmEx card or a platinum card, you will not be able to cash a check. A Delta Skymiles American Express Card, for example, will not work, nor will any of the newer card products offered by AmEx.

Also, for those who never thought about it before, you can open a personal savings and chequing account with Centurion Bank through an Ameriprise representative. Ameriprise is what American Express now calls its individual brokers, (usually private CPA firms working as Ameriprise reps), scattered across the world. There is an initial, small commission to open a bank account. But the benefits are, in my opinion, worth it. For example, on this expat web site there is a great deal of advice about what to do and what not to do when buying real estate in Argentina. If you have a Centurion American Express bank account, (not just a credit card), you have free access to all the professional services necessary to buy property in whatever country you are in, especially Argentina. They won't underwrite a mortgage, but they will help you with the purchase of property, and even though most sellers prefer cash, I've yet to have a cashier's cheque from AmEx turned down.

I'm certain this all sounds WAY patrician, especially from a "jingoist" Canadian like me. But money is money and it's obvious the majority of folks reading this site are from English-speaking countries. If you're from Spain, La CAIXA is the way to go. But I haven't noticed too many expats from Spain posting to this site.

Good luck and hang on to your wallets,

Thanks for all the info. This should be helpful. I don´t know what the limit on my ATM card is but I´ve experienced different limits in different countries. I brought enough cash for my first two months rent so I guess if I had to I could just withdrawal each day until I get the amount for November and December. I don´t have an Amex card and didn´t think to get traveller´´s checks. Thanks for the locations of the more cooperative ATM´s.
I hope to make it to the next dinner. Right now I´´m getting adjusted and have a load of coursework to do, and visiting my sister´´s family. Her husband has a bank account here so I guess they didn´t have to deal with the same issue. Thanks again for your help.