The President of the BCRA, Miguel Pesce, and the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Matías Lammens, meet with bank and tourism chambers to implement accounts for tourists. This measure adopted by the BCRA enables foreign tourists to obtain a full banking package, which includes electronic means of payment, among other products. It is also expected to boost the private sector, which can now offer this service.
During the event, Pesce highlighted the advantages of the measure. “Last Thursday, the BCRA adopted a resolution authorizing financial institutions to open accounts for foreign tourists who visit Argentina. This way foreign tourists will not need to use cash,” and he added: “It is envisaged that they have access to electronic means of payment on their mobile phone or with a card.” Pesce also underlined the role of chambers and the private initiative for the implementation of these accounts.
In turn, Lammens highlighted the importance of the BCRA's resolution. “The measure being implemented by the BCRA is very important. We have high expectations about potential receptive tourism. Argentina has an extraordinary possibility in this respect. We believe that 200,000 tourists may be arriving in Argentina in November and December,” he said, and then concluded: “We hope that all banks will join us.”
Representatives of the following associations attended the meeting: Association of Banks in Argentina (ABA), Association of Argentine Banks (ADEBA), Association of Specialized Banks (ABE), and Association of Public and Private Banks of the Argentine Republic (ABAPPRA). On the side of the tourism sector, members from the Argentine Chamber of Tourism (CAT), the Federation of Hotel and Gastronomy Enterprises of Argentina (FEHGRA), the Association of Tourism Hotels in Argentina (AHT), the Argentine Association of Organizers and Suppliers of Exhibitions, Congresses, Events and Convention Bureaus (AOCA), and the Association of Hotels, Restaurants, and Coffee Shops (AHRCC) were also present. The BCRA was represented by Sergio Woyecheszen, BCRA Vice President, and Agustín Torcassi, General Manager.
Banking Package for Tourists
On October 28, the BCRA simplified the mechanisms for foreign tourists visiting Argentina to open a bimonetary savings account, having access to financial services and electronic means of payment on transparent and secure basis. These are temporary accounts—to be automatically closed—that allow tourists to use their mobile phone to access the electronic payment system available in Argentina, including the interoperable quick response (QR) code, thus avoiding the use of cash.
In addition, this account will allow tourists to benefit from discounts offered on local cards and to obtain a value added tax (VAT) refund. Another advantage is greater formality.
Tourists may make payments in pesos in shops in Argentina—on a debit card or through a bank app—and withdraw cash in pesos. These accounts may also be used to carry out currency exchange transactions. The measure, adopted by the Board of the BCRA, is aimed at foreign tourists who have a bank account in their country of origin, which must be in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to avoid money laundering. That account will be the only one authorized for transferring foreign currency to the local account.
November 3, 2021.