I’ve been traveling around South America the last couple of weeks and used my Starling card lots! In Argentina I was mainly in Buenos Aires. Below is a summary of how I found it:
- Lots of places take card, and the places that did had no issue accepting my Starling card
- Most places had what I assume is offline card machines as friends with pre-paid travel cards (from the USA and Australia) were usually declined
- Several places (including Carrefour!) keyed in my card number and CVV and made online payments at the till.
- I had to sign every single receipt (even if I had used my PIN).
- Most places asked to see an ID and added the ‘document number’ to the receipt. Supposedly this is for fraud prevention purposes, but if anyone has further information I’m very curious. Some places were stricter than others, and didn’t want to accept my drivers licence as ID.
- Some places and taxis only take cash still, so it was generally good to have cash on hand
- Queues for ATMs were crazy long, and often one of several machines could be used for withdrawals.
- Generally speaking it cost $175 (pesos) to withdraw cash (~£7) and you could get maximum $3000. It was nice to know that Starling didn’t add any further fees on to this!
- When using my card the machine often asked whether it was a “checking” or “savings” account. While I generally said checking and it went through fine, some places I had to say savings for it to work. I could find no consistency here.
- Also, especially at restaurants, the waiter would often take your card away to process the payment. For our US friends they would bring back a receipt to sign, but generally needed a PIN for my card. I found it sped up the process a bit if I up-front told them that the card required a PIN.