The Central Bank prohibited credit cards from selling tickets, hotels or any other tourist service abroad in installments as of tomorrow, according to a determination made today by the entity’s board of directors. For this reason, all services contracted abroad that are paid by credit card must be settled in a single payment or financed with the rate of 43% set for the “minimum payment” of the summaries.
The resolution prohibits the application of fees for the payment of tourist services both to card issuers directly and through digital platforms or travel agencies, as established by communication A7407 of the entity.
“Establish, effective as of 11.26.21, that financial and non-financial entities that issue credit cards They must not finance in installments the purchases made by credit cards of their clients – human and legal persons – of tickets abroad and other tourist services abroad (such as accommodation, car rental, etc.). either carried out directly with the service provider or indirectly, through a travel and / or tourism agency, web platforms or other intermediaries “, said the rule of the Central known today.
The timing of the measure is not accidental. Tomorrow is “Black Friday”, the traditional day of discounts of all kinds in the United States, which, as usual, has an Argentine version that includes tourist packages. For this reason, many travel wholesalers and digital platforms that offer tickets and hotels had launched multiple offers, including many of up to 12 interest-free installments. The opening of borders around the world made foresee a strong day of sales of tickets abroad, as Infobae pointed out.
“The acquisition of airline tickets to abroad can be financed with a credit card at a rate of 43%, according to a provision of the BCRA,” they said from the Central. This rate is the maximum rate for the minimum payment, set by the Central Bank for unpaid credit card balances up to $ 200,000 per card. That amount, taking the price of the “solidarity dollar” (the retail exchange rate with the 65% tax burden), is equivalent to USD 1,140, a moderate figure for hiring a trip abroad. The amount of $ 200,000 was disposed of in January of this year, it was not updated and since then an inflation of 41.8% has accumulated.
If the balance to be financed in the summary is greater than $ 200,000, there is no cap on the interest rate that the card can charge, so financing will be very expensive. In this way, tourist services abroad will have this particular inhibition not to be sold in installments and the only way of financing they will have will be that provided by the credit card itself, something that consumers usually avoid.
A source from the Central Bank suggested that “the banks will surely offer financing lines for these tickets, such as a personal loan.” The cost of this financing, in certain banks, can be even higher.
At the same time, the BCRA clarified that “plane tickets to the national territory can be financed with a credit card within the Now 12 programs promoted by the national government.”
Reserves at risk
The reasons that led the BCRA to take this measure are more than evident: the need to discourage dollars from leaving the country. Even within the wide sample of exchange restrictions that Argentina has registered in the last 20 years, prohibiting the sale of a ticket abroad in installments represents an extreme measure of which there was no precedent and that reflects the fears of the Central Bank regarding its Bookings.
Having an exchange gap between the official dollar and the free or “blue” dollar greater than 100% has its most negative side in tourism. Of all the economic activities it is the least convenient in terms of exchange balance. And both ways. When Argentines travel abroad and use their credit card, they pay a “subsidized” dollar, at the official price plus taxes, which can even be partially recovered.
On the contrary, when foreigners come to Argentina, they do not always enter their dollars through the formal circuit: knowing that they will get $ 200 pesos for every dollar if they exchange it in a store or in their hotel, why would they waste the opportunity paying with their card and receiving only $ 100?
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