Banking question

Delaluz26

Registered
Hi everyone,
Our friends and family here are telling us that we should open a bank account with Banco Frances so that we can pay for things like fridges and washer/driers in cuotas sin interes. My questions are the following: 1). Do I need to have a DNI to be on the account with my husband who has a DNI since he is a citizen? 2) What are your thoughts about paying with this kind of credit/debit card for big item purchases? 3).What are the benefits/risks? 4) Do those of you who use Western Union to bring money in have it direct deposited into your Argentine bank accounts or do you manually deposit after picking up the cash? 5) Since most Argentines I know also deeply distrust the banking system in general, what are your feelings/thoughts on this as expats?

Thanks!
 

Alfred_Arnold

Registered
Any reason why Banco Frances in particular?

My take on a selection of your questions:

2) A fridge will run you like 80,000 pesos. It's difficult to get 80,000 pesos credit. You may be able to fit a fridge on the card in cuotas, but you will likely not be able to purchase anything else on the card in cuotas while you are paying off this fridge, and will need to resort to other means to buy your other appliances, such as cash, debit card(s), or cbu transfers.
4) I do not think anybody manually deposits cash from Western Union into the bank, unless it is a small amount to pay for a service, such as through Pago Mis Cuentas built in to most/all banking apps. It is either directly deposited or it is picked up and stays in cash.
5) I support their sentiment.
 

Quilombo

Registered
These are based on my own experience/feelings, your mileage my vary:

1). Do I need to have a DNI to be on the account with my husband who has a DNI since he is a citizen?

Generally yes. Once you have a DNI, temporary or permanent, your husband can request the bank/credit card company
issue a second card in your name/DNI that is connected to his credit limit. I'm not sure what your reason(s) for not wanting
a DNI might be, but it makes life much easier having one here, and in the meantime, if you want a card so you don't have
to cary cash, get your husband to get a Naranja X, it's a free pre-paid visa that has the bonus of not printing the cardholder's
name on it, so that's what I used while Migraciones was processing my permanent residency/DNI.

2) What are your thoughts about paying with this kind of credit/debit card for big item purchases?

Interest free cuotas are great, they basically make things discounted due to inflation/devaluation. Let me give you an example:
I bought a printer for 12K ARS this month at 12 cuotas, 1K a month, interest free. If I paid cash/debit at the time it would cost
$60 USD, however, each month, my cuota payment remains the same, but decreases in dollars due to inflation/devaluation.
Cuota 1 was $5.00 USD, cuota 1 will be $4.76 USD or so, etc.

Even if you can't get a high credit limit (something I'm dealing with), you can still make as many purchases as posible with credit
cards, and then before the 10th (or your due date) send the money from your USD account abroad to save due to inflation/devaluation.
i.e. you buy a BigMac combo for $590 ARS today on credit ($2.95 USD) and you go to pay in a month's time and $590 only ends
up being $2.80, or less.

3).What are the benefits/risks?

Only benefits provided you aren't committing tax evasion; AFIP has access to your monthly consumption made via debit/credit/transferias.
You can view the info that they have on you via your Clave Fiscal account.

4) Do those of you who use Western Union to bring money in have it direct deposited into your Argentine bank accounts or do you manually deposit after picking up the cash?

I chose to adhere to the letter, not the spirit of BCRA regulations, and send it to my husband's bank account here instead of my own, but
most people here send it to themselves without issue. The only reason I can think of wanting to get it in cash is if it's a weekend or holiday.
The BCRA and AFIP know either way as direct deposit and cash pickups are linked to your CUIT/L, and given the fact $1,000 ARS, the
largest bank note is only worth $5.00, and shrinking, I'd prefer to not have bricks of cash on me.

5) Since most Argentines I know also deeply distrust the banking system in general, what are your feelings/thoughts on this as expats?

I don't trust them, but we need them more than ever due to inflation/refusal to print higher denominations and e-commerce. I send money from abroad as we need it, and I don't have more than a couple hundred dollars worth of pesos on us at a time, whether in the house or the bank. In terms of savings, there's no reason why you should put money in a plaza fijo, the rates are 37% and inflation is going to be around 60% so you're just going to lose there, and when it comes to dollars, well, most people have a horror story about the Corralito but even if that didn't happen, I wouldn't trust the shysters that run banks here with my dollars even if they were offering 10% interest.

Hope this helps answer some questions for you!
 

Brian_is_here

Registered
The DNI is important, i wasn't able to be added to my wife's bank account until then.

Cuotas sin interes over like months is free money.

Argentine Customer support is garbage.

I'd love to have bought my fridge with pesos. But i bought mine when Macri was around and Blue=Official so i just used my USA credit card for the points.

I'm waiting for the day for Blue=Official again.
 

Delaluz26

Registered
These are based on my own experience/feelings, your mileage my vary:

1). Do I need to have a DNI to be on the account with my husband who has a DNI since he is a citizen?

Generally yes. Once you have a DNI, temporary or permanent, your husband can request the bank/credit card company
issue a second card in your name/DNI that is connected to his credit limit. I'm not sure what your reason(s) for not wanting
a DNI might be, but it makes life much easier having one here, and in the meantime, if you want a card so you don't have
to cary cash, get your husband to get a Naranja X, it's a free pre-paid visa that has the bonus of not printing the cardholder's
name on it, so that's what I used while Migraciones was processing my permanent residency/DNI.

2) What are your thoughts about paying with this kind of credit/debit card for big item purchases?

Interest free cuotas are great, they basically make things discounted due to inflation/devaluation. Let me give you an example:
I bought a printer for 12K ARS this month at 12 cuotas, 1K a month, interest free. If I paid cash/debit at the time it would cost
$60 USD, however, each month, my cuota payment remains the same, but decreases in dollars due to inflation/devaluation.
Cuota 1 was $5.00 USD, cuota 1 will be $4.76 USD or so, etc.

Even if you can't get a high credit limit (something I'm dealing with), you can still make as many purchases as posible with credit
cards, and then before the 10th (or your due date) send the money from your USD account abroad to save due to inflation/devaluation.
i.e. you buy a BigMac combo for $590 ARS today on credit ($2.95 USD) and you go to pay in a month's time and $590 only ends
up being $2.80, or less.

3).What are the benefits/risks?

Only benefits provided you aren't committing tax evasion; AFIP has access to your monthly consumption made via debit/credit/transferias.
You can view the info that they have on you via your Clave Fiscal account.

4) Do those of you who use Western Union to bring money in have it direct deposited into your Argentine bank accounts or do you manually deposit after picking up the cash?

I chose to adhere to the letter, not the spirit of BCRA regulations, and send it to my husband's bank account here instead of my own, but
most people here send it to themselves without issue. The only reason I can think of wanting to get it in cash is if it's a weekend or holiday.
The BCRA and AFIP know either way as direct deposit and cash pickups are linked to your CUIT/L, and given the fact $1,000 ARS, the
largest bank note is only worth $5.00, and shrinking, I'd prefer to not have bricks of cash on me.

5) Since most Argentines I know also deeply distrust the banking system in general, what are your feelings/thoughts on this as expats?

I don't trust them, but we need them more than ever due to inflation/refusal to print higher denominations and e-commerce. I send money from abroad as we need it, and I don't have more than a couple hundred dollars worth of pesos on us at a time, whether in the house or the bank. In terms of savings, there's no reason why you should put money in a plaza fijo, the rates are 37% and inflation is going to be around 60% so you're just going to lose there, and when it comes to dollars, well, most people have a horror story about the Corralito but even if that didn't happen, I wouldn't trust the shysters that run banks here with my dollars even if they were offering 10% interest.

Hope this helps answer some questions for you!
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your thorough analysis and experience. So just to clarify, if I use Western Union to direct deposit into our Argentine account, we will still get the blue dollar rate, correct? And then we can use our argentine bank debit card to pay for the electrodomesticos that we are about to need to purchase for our apartment? Also, if we have no credit history in Argentina I am assuming that it will be hard for us to qualify for credit especially if all our income is earned abroad? Or does owning cars/homes help? It still seems better to transfer money this way for these purchases. I knew it would be complicated dealing with basic things like buying stuff here and bringing in dollars but not this complicated;)
 

Delaluz26

Registered
Any reason why Banco Frances in particular?

My take on a selection of your questions:

2) A fridge will run you like 80,000 pesos. It's difficult to get 80,000 pesos credit. You may be able to fit a fridge on the card in cuotas, but you will likely not be able to purchase anything else on the card in cuotas while you are paying off this fridge, and will need to resort to other means to buy your other appliances, such as cash, debit card(s), or cbu transfers.
4) I do not think anybody manually deposits cash from Western Union into the bank, unless it is a small amount to pay for a service, such as through Pago Mis Cuentas built in to most/all banking apps. It is either directly deposited or it is picked up and stays in cash.
5) I support their sentiment.
No reason except a couple people mentioned Banco Frances here but it's probably just where they happen to bank. And I'll ask you the same question if I direct deposit to an Argentine bank account from WU is it pesificado? Or do I still get the WU blue rate?
 

Quilombo

Registered
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your thorough analysis and experience. So just to clarify, if I use Western Union to direct deposit into our Argentine account, we will still get the blue dollar rate, correct? And then we can use our argentine bank debit card to pay for the electrodomesticos that we are about to need to purchase for our apartment? Also, if we have no credit history in Argentina I am assuming that it will be hard for us to qualify for credit especially if all our income is earned abroad? Or does owning cars/homes help? It still seems better to transfer money this way for these purchases. I knew it would be complicated dealing with basic things like buying stuff here and bringing in dollars but not this complicated;)
No problem, I'm always happy to help as much as I can, I know it was a learning curve for myself as well :)

I will preface my responses by saying that I'm not an accountant nor lawyer, and will try to give you my opinion plus what you're officially supposed to do, I promise it will be as clear as mud afterwards haha.

If I use Western Union to direct deposit into our Argentine account, we will still get the blue dollar rate, correct?

You will receive what's called the CCL (previously it was the CCL libre, but this is changing, I'll explain in a second), minus a couple percentage points WU keeps for themselves as profit. It's lately been well above the blue, by around 8%, but earlier this year it was well below, so it's important to remember it can vary, but it's usually close to the blue exchange rate, and it's what most people on BA Expats use.

The CCL Libre was the market determined exchange rate for USD to ARS based on the resale price of dual listed securities, i.e. stocks, ADRs, bonds, etc. that are traded on both the NYSE and Merval and send by brokers between the two countries. Previously, it was much higher than the regular CCL exchange rate you see when checking dolar hoy because the BCRA would buy bonds and ADRs to maintain a target rate, while the CCL libre's value was determined by what a private seller/buyer was willing to pay (and had different regulatory requirements/rules). However, since the election, the BCRA have stopped intervening in the CCL (because it can't afford to piss away precious dollars on such foolishness), letting a sort of "CCL devaluation" occur to eliminate the gap between the CCL Libre and CCL itself. As of Sunday, November 21st, the official exchange rate is $100.51, the blue is $198.50, the CCL is $214.74, and WU is $211.95. I predict on Tuesday it will go up, and the CCL libre will more or less disappear as it went from a $186 sell rate before the election to a $220.03 sell rate today.

And then we can use our argentine bank debit card to pay for the electrodomesticos that we are about to need to purchase for our apartment?

Yes, but it's important to remember that debit cards have low limits here (mine has a max daily spend of 100K or less than $500 USD for example) and all transactions made via debit/credit/transferias, etc. are visible to AFIP, and just like if you're spending money you're not reporting an income for in the US, AFIP here, like the IRS, will want to talk to you, along with your bank and AGIP or provincial tax authority.

That being said, if the dollars you are pesifying via Western Union are from savings, passive income, or labor performed prior to Argentina becoming your country of tax residency, or you will only be spending less than 6 months a year here, then you might just need to make a declaration of assets/networth/etc, again, I'm not an accountant nor a lawyer, but I believe this is what some of the retired folks on here have done.

Some people here have been sending money via WU monthly for years and never had an issue with AFIP or their bank, but like everything else here, your mileage could greatly vary.

Now, if you or your husband are working remotely abroad as a digital nomad/freelancer/or employee, and you will be living here for 6 months of the year or more, officially Argentina will become your country of tax residency, and you will be required to pesify your dollars via the MULC at the official exchange rate, issue factura category E for the export of services (I believe in CABA at least you don't need to pay Ingresos Brutos for exporting services, but this could be different in other provinces), register as a monotributista, contract an obra social, pay your monotax/ANSES contributions monthly, and pay ganacias if you make over a certain threshold, and possibly even charge IVA.

Do the tens of thousands of Argentines working remotely in dollars or euros follow the MULC regulations and such? No, few, if any do. The people that tend to get caught are the ones that get greedy and pay no taxes, or are foolish and make a very clear paper trail. I've read first hand accounts from these people, they're basically locked out of the financial system for violating KYC regulations, doing something like turning their dollars in to crypto, sending it from abroad to their account here, and then selling it on an AFIP registered exchange for pesos only to have their bank accounts, MercadoPago, etc. ask where they're getting their money from then banned/locked out for failing to reply or not providing acceptable proof of how they legally acquired the money. The last 2 stories I read of this were never charged, but they were put on a money laundering watch list by the BCRA, which is punishment in the sense that no financial institution is going to want to lend to them or deal with them.

I say this not to scare you, but to let you know what the law is (more or less), the reality, and what happens if you chose to flout it.

Also, if we have no credit history in Argentina I am assuming that it will be hard for us to qualify for credit especially if all our income is earned abroad?

Yes and no, I had no credit history and Santander gave me a credit card, not a great limit, but I can build a good Veraz history with them for the future. Also, this is why I went in to detail about whether you're working remotely or not. Lots of people do this like I said, and have access to credit. If you are doing this/plan on doing this, and are not going to be rentistas/retired, I strongly encourage you to speak with an accountant who will help you navigate the pros and cons of different approaches to AFIP, as well as advise you on compliance.

Or does owning cars/homes help?

Do you own vehicles/homes here? If so, potentially; I would again speak with an accountant and then your account manager at your bank, they will help you and your husband identify the requirements to access credit, keeping in mind that you should follow your accountant's advise as to what exactly to disclose to bank.
 

MorganF

Registered
I have a similar question that maybe @Alfred_Arnold or someone may be able to help me with: I have a BBVA credit card with a 95k limit. I have a bunch of purposes on it, in quotas, which is about $15k/month in quotas. But now I only have ~$40k/month disponible to spend (in general, not limited to quotas). Is it common for banks in Arg, when you have payments in quotas, to decrease your limit overall?

Thanks!
morgan
 

Quilombo

Registered
I have a similar question that maybe @Alfred_Arnold or someone may be able to help me with: I have a BBVA credit card with a 95k limit. I have a bunch of purposes on it, in quotas, which is about $15k/month in quotas. But now I only have ~$40k/month disponible to spend (in general, not limited to quotas). Is it common for banks in Arg, when you have payments in quotas, to decrease your limit overall?

Thanks!
morgan
Your limit will go down for payments available both in cuotas and immediate payments, but it should be equal to the amount of cuotas, for example, if your credit limit is 95K and you have 15K a month in cuotas, your limit for immediate payments should be 80K. There were a bunch of articles earlier this year about banks unilaterally lowering the availability of higher credit limits in cuotas, but I haven't heard of this. I'd reach out to your account manager and see what's going on.
 
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