There is not much more frustrating than having to pay to get access to your own money. Free withdrawals are therefore always a pleasure enjoyed all the more while traveling, an act that sadly usually means you are emptying your bank account faster than the time it took Rey to master the force (I know… That fast, right? It can’t be!!).
Anyway, from my travels in most of South America, here are the places to stop by and get your cash out free of charge (on the local bank’s side that is). For the cheapest access to your money while traveling, check this other article on the best banking services and techniques out there to avoid paying too many fees.
Sadly, the banking system in Argentina is real bad, super state-controlled and over-regulated to avoid capital flows out if the country. Even locals get hammered with fees so there is no avoiding it for foreigners. You’ll find Redlink ATMs and especially the ones from Banco Nacional de Argentina to be cheaper than the other Banelco ones. Expect to pay 6-8 euros a withdrawal still with a limit on how much you can take out (about 2000 pesos – about 90 euros in April 2018). Best exchange some cash here tbh.
Similar to Argentina in so many ways, withdrawals here suffer the same fate. You do get a slightly smaller fee but still too much for my taste. Exchanging money (dollars or euros) is still your best and cheapest option here.
Bradesco bank is your friend!
Scotiabank is your friend (but not a friend you’ll always find easily…)
Banco Mercantil de Santa Cruz rocks your boat! You can get dollars there too.
BBVA will do the job just right!
BCP is your Best Choice in Peru! 😉
Now it is worth noting that I have had feedback that depending on the card or depending on your bank, other ATMs might work free of charge for you. My experience is based on using Mastercard with N26 or Revolut banks, new online services, super cheap for traveling that do not belong to any international banking alliances. I therefore assume nobody should have a different experience in the banks I mentioned but some might have more flexibility to go somewhere else. I also did not try all the banks out there so feel free to give it a go when you can’t find the ones I mentioned.
Happy travels, long live opportunities to spend money where it makes us happy!