Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

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audeo13
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Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by audeo13 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:53 pm

Hi guys, I'm looking for some advice/recommendations regarding buying Canadian $$ in Santiago. We got super lucky at the casino, woohoo! However, I contacted our bank in Canada and the exchange rate is absolute shit for exchanging chilean money out there. On the other hand, if we buy canadian funds here, we get a WAAAAY better exchange rate. So while I'm not one to travel with cash, Jesus, the amount of money you lose wiring funds to Canada and getting screwed on the exchange rate would buy me half of a little beater to drive around until I get settled and start working.

So that being said, going to one of these places and selling a few million pesos makes super nervous. I called the AFEX location at the airport (which seemed safer to deal with) and they said they're happy to reserve any and all Canadian funds from here until when I leave (next week), but there's no guarantee that they will get it all together. So I may have to go to a couple different locations if I actually decide to go this route.

Does anyone have any suggestions pertaining to this?
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zer0nz
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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by zer0nz » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:21 pm

i have brought large sums at the casas de cambio in providencia without problems.... just dont draw attention to your self...

you could call your chilean bank who MIGHT help... if you have one....

alto las condes has 2 casa de cambios.. but doubt they will have canadian....

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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by eeuunikkeiexpat » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:34 pm

zer0nz wrote:i have brought large sums at the casas de cambio in providencia without problems.... just dont draw attention to your self...
It's not just onlookers, the employee at the cambio may be working in concert with accomplices who will relieve you of your burden after you leave. So please do be careful.
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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by nwdiver » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:36 pm

audeo13 wrote:Hi guys, I'm looking for some advice/recommendations regarding buying Canadian $$ in Santiago. We got super lucky at the casino, woohoo! However, I contacted our bank in Canada and the exchange rate is absolute shit for exchanging chilean money out there. On the other hand, if we buy canadian funds here, we get a WAAAAY better exchange rate. So while I'm not one to travel with cash, Jesus, the amount of money you lose wiring funds to Canada and getting screwed on the exchange rate would buy me half of a little beater to drive around until I get settled and start working.

So that being said, going to one of these places and selling a few million pesos makes super nervous. I called the AFEX location at the airport (which seemed safer to deal with) and they said they're happy to reserve any and all Canadian funds from here until when I leave (next week), but there's no guarantee that they will get it all together. So I may have to go to a couple different locations if I actually decide to go this route.

Does anyone have any suggestions pertaining to this?

The US and Canadian dollar are equal these days, USD easier to find and easily used in Canada.

I tried to change the new Canadian hundreds in several places this summer, people just look at them and end up staring through the window in them before handing them back with a smile, I’ll leave them with my son when I head north the end of the month.
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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by El Chupacabra » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:31 pm

I have changed a shit load of cash (large amounts) in the past, never had a problem. Although I have always just exchanged for American dollars and then deposited directly into my Canadian account back home. Don't do it at the airport as their exchange rates are worse. It doesn’t matter that it's AFEX or (insert choice of cambio) the one at the airport always had worse rates. The are tons in Las Condes/providencia area.

Just out of curiosity, has anyone here ever been robbed after exchanging money at a cambio in Chile?
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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by audeo13 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:35 pm

nwdiver wrote:The US and Canadian dollar are equal these days, USD easier to find and easily used in Canada.

I tried to change the new Canadian hundreds in several places this summer, people just look at them and end up staring through the window in them before handing them back with a smile, I’ll leave them with my son when I head north the end of the month.
Uh, well I don't know too many places in Canada where I'm just going to show up and pay with American funds and not get screwed on the exchange which is the whole point of this enquiry. And if I exchange again in Canada, I'm getting dinged twice on the exchange rate. At that point I may as well just wire it.

See the problem is, and those of you who feel the pain of banking in Chile will at least appreciate this aspect of the flip side: the emphasis placed on providing customer service to banking clients in Canada is so great, that they make a point of hiring very friendly, very helpful, VERY STUPID customer service reps to handle client enquiries. As long as they're friendly, eager and presentable, they're in. Half of them respond with "Uh, I'm not sure we accept Chilean Pesos" or "What do you mean exchange rate?". So far I've called a few banks and have gotten shitty rates across the board, except for my main branch in calgary who was actually more or less on par with the XE rate for the day. Hence the confusion. Who has the right rate? Since they're the only ones that have mentioned that reasonable rate, I'm really not sure what to make of it, hence my frustration and contemplation of just showing up with Canadian cash. The exchange rate here in Chile is still better regardless.

Anyhow, any further suggestions/experiences regarding using exchange houses here to buy Canadian funds would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by eeuunikkeiexpat » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:41 pm

My previous landlord's nephew was robbed in Centro. He had just received a wire sent from the States to buy a car and when leaving the exchange house had a gun stuck to his side. He is 100% sure it was the employee who tipped off the robbers.

On TripAdvisor a while back, there was one poster who claimed they were given counterfeit pesos when exchanging at AFEX at SCL.

Me, almost eleven years using ATMs in Chile, have never used an exchange house or been robbed (yet).
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the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by audeo13 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:44 pm

El Chupacabra wrote:I have changed a shit load of cash (large amounts) in the past, never had a problem. Although I have always just exchanged for American dollars and then deposited directly into my Canadian account back home. Don't do it at the airport as their exchange rates are worse. It doesn’t matter that it's AFEX or (insert choice of cambio) the one at the airport always had worse rates. The are tons in Las Condes/providencia area.
Really? Interesting. The rate the fellow at the airport gave me was better than a couple of the houses I called in Providencia were offering. It was worse than other Afex locations though, because apparently they don't all have the same rates even though it's the same chain. Airport rate was better than the rate offered in San Antonio where they said they didn't have that much on hand and would have to order it which they're willing to do. I don't know that I want to let them know a few days ahead of time when I'm going to show up with a ton of cash though - seems like a recipe for trouble - and that's essentially what I'd be doing if I ordered it there.
El Chupacabra wrote:Just out of curiosity, has anyone here ever been robbed after exchanging money at a cambio in Chile?
Yes, would love to hear any stories as well.
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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by audeo13 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:50 pm

eeuunikkeiexpat wrote:My previous landlord's nephew was robbed in Centro. He had just received a wire sent from the States to buy a car and when leaving the exchange house had a gun stuck to his side. He is 100% sure it was the employee who tipped off the robbers.
This is what worries me. We were thinking of just having my cousin drive us around Santiago and wait out front of the exchange houses for us, while we go in, buy and get the hell outta there.
eeuunikkeiexpat wrote:On TripAdvisor a while back, there was one poster who claimed they were given counterfeit pesos when exchanging at AFEX at SCL.
That was a brief worry but the boyfriend is an ex-bank teller from Canada, so he's accustomed to checking out the cash thoroughly and knows what to look for.
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Re: Buying Canadian Dollars in Santiago

Post by nwdiver » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:41 pm

audeo13 wrote:
nwdiver wrote:The US and Canadian dollar are equal these days, USD easier to find and easily used in Canada.

I tried to change the new Canadian hundreds in several places this summer, people just look at them and end up staring through the window in them before handing them back with a smile, I’ll leave them with my son when I head north the end of the month.
Uh, well I don't know too many places in Canada where I'm just going to show up and pay with American funds and not get screwed on the exchange which is the whole point of this enquiry. And if I exchange again in Canada, I'm getting dinged twice on the exchange rate. At that point I may as well just wire it.

See the problem is, and those of you who feel the pain of banking in Chile will at least appreciate this aspect of the flip side: the emphasis placed on providing customer service to banking clients in Canada is so great, that they make a point of hiring very friendly, very helpful, VERY STUPID customer service reps to handle client enquiries. As long as they're friendly, eager and presentable, they're in. Half of them respond with "Uh, I'm not sure we accept Chilean Pesos" or "What do you mean exchange rate?". So far I've called a few banks and have gotten shitty rates across the board, except for my main branch in calgary who was actually more or less on par with the XE rate for the day. Hence the confusion. Who has the right rate? Since they're the only ones that have mentioned that reasonable rate, I'm really not sure what to make of it, hence my frustration and contemplation of just showing up with Canadian cash. The exchange rate here in Chile is still better regardless.

Anyhow, any further suggestions/experiences regarding using exchange houses here to buy Canadian funds would be much appreciated. Thanks.



I only wire USD to USD accounts from Canada to Chile and Chile to Canada as many banks clear through the US and its converted to USD so the conversion looks horrible and the Canadian Banks say well we have to as we don’t deal in CP. So its USD accounts all round for me.
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