If you are a foreign student studying Spanish in Buenos Aires, be aware that the ATM withdrawal fee for your foreign debit cards has recently been raised by local banks to 15,50 pesos (approximately $4 USD) per transaction. This fee will apply to anyone who withdraws money from a foreign account at a local ATM.
This increase comes after the transaction fee for foreigners was established in Argentina in July 2009, and does not include the international transaction fee (usually a charge of 1% of your withdrawal amount) charged by the majority of banks across the globe to their own customers. Similar to the reasoning behind charging residents from certain countries a reciprocity fee to enter the country, Argentine companies, such as Banelco and Link, have tried to justify the fee increase, saying it is comparable to the transaction fees that have been charged at banks and ATMs across the globe for years.
The best option for students studying Spanish in Buenos Aires is to withdraw larger amounts of money from ATMs, therefore avoiding paying the 15,50 transaction fee for small withdrawals. Many banks allow withdrawals of up to 1,000 pesos at a time. If you are studying Spanish in Argentina for a semester or longer, many foreigners living in Buenos Aires suggest opening an account with Charles Schwab, as they return all transaction fees charged to customers abroad at the end of each month’s billing cycle. Many Expats have also reported that Citibank locations in Buenos Aires do not charge this transaction fee to their own customers, but still charge the standard international transaction fee.
While the cost of living in Buenos Aires is more affordable for many students than the cost of living in their home countries, it is important for students to be aware of various fees, such as this ATM withdrawal fee, incurred by foreigners when traveling abroad!