Travelling in Argentina – how to withdraw money with Western Union ?

Travelling in Argentina – how to withdraw money with Western Union ?

Article updated on 01.19.24

For several years now, Argentina has been going through an economic crisis that has caused a huge number of problems, including a drastic fall in the monetary rate. The locals are suffering enormously because their currency is undergoing endless deflation. They can’t travel, and the cost of living (food, rent, health, etc.) is extremely high.

Locals try to exchange their Argentine pesos for foreign currency, which is much more stable. Argentina has several exchange rates, including two main ones: the official rate and the Blue. The official exchange rate is used by Argentine companies and banks. The Blue exchange rate is the unofficial rate that allows foreign currencies to be exchanged at an advantageous rate.

To give you an example, the current rates in January 2024:

Official rate: 1 USD = 839 ARS

Blue rate: 1 USD = 1’225 ARS

As a tourist in Argentina, you can make huge savings by using the Blue rate. There are several ways of obtaining this rate:

  • Exchanging foreign currency at unofficial exchange offices
  • Payment by credit card
  • Withdraw with Western Union
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Exchange of foreign currency in Argentina

If you arrive in Argentina with euros or dollars, it’s a good idea to exchange your currency in the country. Don’t go to an official exchange office, which uses the official rate (not Blue).

Ask the locals or your hotel where you can exchange your money. When you walk down the street, you may hear the word Combio, which means exchange. In any case, the place will be unofficial because it’s not legal. You’ll feel like you’re in a scene from a movie.

Paying by credit card in Argentina

For large sums, you can use your VISA or MasterCard credit card. Make sure you do a test with a small amount to make sure your bank is using the Blue rate and not the official one.

Normally, VISA credit cards use the Blue rate directly. With MasterCard cards, they will credit you the difference between the two rates several days/weeks after the transaction.

This option is useful when you need to pay for shopping at the supermarket or at gas station.

Withdrawing money with Western Union in Argentina

In our opinion, this option with Western Union is the best because it really does offer the best rate. We advise you not to withdraw too much at a time because the rate is constantly changing. We suggest you withdraw between 200 and 500 euros maximum.

Here is a tutorial on how to use Western Union :

  1. Download the Western Union app.
  2. Create a Western Union account and verify your identity directly via the application
  3. Link your credit card to your account (the card where the money will be debited)
  4. Find a Western Union shop (there are many throughout the country). When you arrive at a shop, the first thing to do is ask the counter what the maximum amount you can withdraw is. You absolutely must do this, because in some places there is a limit because of the high demand for withdrawals and they don’t have enough cash.
  5. Open the Western Union application and make a transfer:

a. Go to the menu and select “Send money”

b. Enter the amount you wish to withdraw

c. Choose the “Pick-up at point of sale” option

d. Select the “Credit card” option. You will then see the current rate and Western Union charges.

e. Click on the “Next” button

f. Add a beneficiary who will be yourself (this step should only be done the first time, as the beneficiary will be registered for future transactions). Enter all your personal details (first and last name), the “reason for transaction” and the “source of funds”. Then click on the “Add” button.

g. Choose the credit card to make the payment

h. Accept the terms of service and click on “Submit”.

i. Add the code you received to your mobile phone of your country

j. The application will show you a summary of your transaction with an MTCN number.

k. Go to the Western Union office queue with :
– Your passport and a paper copy
– The MTCN number

In conclusion, the best option for paying in Argentina, in our opinion, is to use the Western Union application, which offers the most attractive Blue rate.

To sum up, what you need before going to a Western Union:

  • Internet access
  • Have a mobile phone with a SIM card from your country to receive a code on your phone
  • Download the Western Union application and create a WU account
  • Have your passport and, if possible, a paper copy.
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