Our series moves to Argentina for a look at how credit cards are used in this vibrant South American nation.
Our series moves to Argentina for a look at how credit cards are used in this vibrant South American nation that’s best known for being the home of Eva Peron and world-class soccer teams.
Credit card circulation
There were 42.5 million credit cards (30 percent growth from 2010) and 22.8 milion debit cards (14.5 percent growth from 2010) in circulation in Argentina in 2011. The number of credit cards has almost doubled since 2008. (Euromonitor International).
Can’t use it everywhere
Frommers.com says card use is common in big cities, less so elsewhere. However, you may have a 10 percent to 20 percent surcharge when you buy with plastic. Also, you can’t use cards in many taxis or at most tourist sites, such as museums.
Like the rest of the economy, Argentina’s credit card industry recovered well from the nation’s near financial collapse in 2001-2002. However, the recent global financial crisis has hit hard, prompting some to predict another “economic disaster.”
The marketplace leader
Banco Santander is Argentina’s largest issuer of credit cards — US$1.9 billion in purchase volume — and debit cards — US$1.3 billion. (Nilson Report, April 2008)
Cards and crime
A ‘phishing’ hotspot
According to a report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, Argentina made it in the top 10 countries with the highest malware infection rates in the world in 2011, moving up from its number 13 position in 2010.
Official tourism site
Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay (map)
Population: 40.4 million (July 2008)
Area: 2,766,890 sq. km. or 1,068,302 sq. mi. (8th largest in the world)
GDP: $526.4 billion (2007 estimate)
Currency: Argentine Peso
Key exports: soybeans and derivatives, petroleum and gas, vehicles, corn, wheat
Key imports: machinery, motor vehicles, petroleum and natural gas, organic chemicals, plastics