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Money (changing cash, atm cards, etc...) and outlets

 
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bownehouse



Joined: 18 Jan 2011
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:19 pm    Post subject: Money (changing cash, atm cards, etc...) and outlets Reply with quote

Good afternoon!

I just wanted to confirm a few details about money in Santiago.

First, from what I've read I believe that I will be able to take out money from an ATM using a Visa Card from the United States (it's Citizens Bank). Is Redbanc the best ATM machine to use? Do you know what kind of charge is added on for using the machine?

I also have a bunch of cash because I had to empty my bank account in Ecuador and I'm wondering if it's better to put it into my Citizens Bank account now and make withdrawals periodically in Chile OR just bring the cash with me and change it at one of the casas de cambio. Which is smarter financially? Is the exchange rate cheaper if I'm using an ATM?

Lastly, where is the best place to change cash when I arrive? Is the airport a good place to do it or will they have a steep exchange rate? I will be in Santiago and I read that a good area is on Agustinas between Bandera and Ahumada. It'd be a lot easier to just do it at the airport but if I'm going to get ripped off I could try to find the latter.

And my final question is about the plugs in Santiago. My computer plug has 3 prongs on it. Two are flat (standard in the U.S.) and the third is round and thick. Do I need to bring an adapter to fit into sockets with just 2 slots?

Thank you all for your help!

Thanks : )
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Don Alan



Joined: 11 Dec 2004
Posts: 150
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would imagine that the charge and rate for exchange with a credit card will depend on the card or bank you are with so you should read the terms and conditions. It won't any difference which ATM you use.

With regard to exchanging cash, yes there are several places in that part of downtown Santiago and I would think you would get a better exchange than at the airport. But be careful...make sure you have the money securely put away before you leave the casa de cambio. Also if anyone approaches you on the street offering exchange...and saying they will take you to a place...never go with them.

Don't know about US plugs but I would imagine you will need an adaptor.
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sakakisins



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 16
Location: CL

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an Australian bank account i use in Chile. It's just a regulary savings account and you can use it wherever you see the cirrus/plus logo on an ATM nevermind what bank they're owned by. It should be the same for you.
Redbank is just the name of a system implemented here (use ATM's, use your cards to pay at supermarket (bank account cards not credit cards, etc.)

Bank cards are usually cheaper than getting people to transfer money to you from abroad through the bank, but actually making exchanges through the bank is moderately more expensive through banks than through a "casa de cambio" at least for me. Always check on-line before changing with one of these anyways as exchange rates shouldn't vary more than 10 pesos from what you see on the internet (i use www.xe.com/ucc/full.php).

I definitely agree with Don Alan --> NEVER GO WITH SOMEONE THAT OFFERS YOU CHEAPER EXCHANGE ON THE STREET! EVEN WITHIN THE CASA DE CAMBIO! Only make your transactions at the counter even if the person "seems to work there"... Especially in Santiago.

You'll probably need an adapter. Whenever i buy something on-line from ebay usa i usually have to use on .They only cost around $300 pesos at any electronics store and really aren't hard to find in Chile . The Chilean plugs are 2 or 3 round pins straight in a line. I don't think voltage is different though, you only need the right plug adapter.

hope this helps.
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karynr



Joined: 03 Mar 2010
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YOUR card might not work at every single ATM. I had this problem often in Chile while I was living there (for two years), but then realized which ATM's I could use. They needed to have the same logo on them that the back of my card had. Perhaps this will happen to you. Perhaps not. If it does, don't worry; just try another ATM.

I usually just got money out of the ATM which I think is way easier than going to a casa de cambio. The exchange rate seemed inline with google.
I'd get the max. amount every other week or so and not have to worry about it for a while. Just be careful when carrying large amounts of money. I'd recommend going straight back to where you're staying and stash it away.

A young kid followed me for almost an hour from the ATM one night. At the time, I didn't think anything was that strange, but my chilean boyfriend realized what was up, and we lost him. On other occasions I haven't been so lucky. Pick-pocketed/ robbed three times in two years. It's not fun.
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Don Alan



Joined: 11 Dec 2004
Posts: 150
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, caution is important, the opportunity makes the crime. Go to ATMs always during the day and with another person.
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anna_82



Joined: 28 Feb 2011
Posts: 6
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

first of all, you have to check with your bank. Most US banks charge a 3% foreign transaction fee to take out money, as well as possible ATM fees. Also, the ATM fee in chile is pretty steep - usually about $5 per transaction. I recommend keeping the cash and exchanging it at an exchange house. You will get a slightly lower exchange rate, but you'll save overall on fees. Near the pedro de valdivia metro there are several, but you can find them throughout the city. And as others have said, definitely dont go with anyone on the street to exchange money!

For the plug, you'll definitely need an adapter. Chile uses european style plugs, with two or three round prongs. also, the voltage is 220, so double check your electronics before you plug them in. computers are usually ok.
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