When we travel we normally pay in cash where possible. Our foreign ATM fee free card makes this more than possible. The only challenge is when foreign ATM machines charge their own fee for taking cash out.
We’ve managed to find fee-free ATM’s in many countries, Chile has been our biggest challenge to date. So much so, that here, in this, an expensive country on this trip, we have resorted to using a credit card. It is, albeit a foreign currency fee-free credit card.
Using ATM’s in Chile is an expensive business. But we finally found a Chile ATM with no fees. They are few and far between, but here is our guide to fee-free ATMs in Chile – and the costs of all Chilean ATMs that do charge a fee.
Key Things to Know About Chile, ATMs and the Chilean Peso
- The Chilean currency is the peso.
- The Spanish word for ATM is Cajero Automatico – but most people will understand if you ask for ATM
- Chilean Peso notes come in denominations of 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, and 1,000.
- Chilean Peso coins come in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. There are some old and new coins in circulation. Vending machines and laundry machines will only accept new coins.
Banks with ATMs in Chile
ATMs are everywhere in Chile – if you find a bank on a map, then it’s 99% likely that it will have an ATM and they ALL (bar one) charge a fee for being used by international cards.
If you are a Santander customer, then you may be able to use ATMs in Chile without paying a fee, depending on the account that you hold. Our Santander account enables us to withdraw from worldwide Santander ATM’s with no fee. However, when we used a Santander ATM in Chile we were charged the fee. It was refunded to us when we complained via their online help.
Using your Cash Card or ATM Card the Most Cost Effective Way in Chile
There are two types of fees charged on the use of a foreign ATM card (whether it is credit or debit).
- The fees charged by your bank or card provider for taking cash out in a foreign currency. You have COMPLETE control over this. If your provider currently levies a charge on taking cash out of your account in a foreign currency then you should get a new account ASAP. It will save you a FORTUNE in fees. As UK residents we use Starling Bank and recommend their superb service.
- The fees charged by the foreign bank either because they levy a fee on non-in country cards or because they charge a fee to non-client cards. You have a MEASURE of control over this and that’s what this article is about – how to reduce the cost of using ATMs in Chile.
ATMs in Chile and ATM Fees
The main difference between all the ATMs in Chile is the amount of the fee that they charge you to take cash from their ATM. ATM fees in Chile are a flat fee regardless of how much you take out. So if you only want 10,000 pesos, then you will pay the SAME fee as if you wanted 200,000 pesos.
How to find an ATM in Chile
ATM’s everywhere in Chile. ATM’s in Chile are called “Cajero Automatico”. Or Cajero. You might see signs for Cajera too. If you’re asking for directions, then this phrase will help you.
¿Donde esta un cajero automatico?”
How to Use an ATM in Chile
Unless they are inside a bank, an airport or a shopping mall most Chilean ATMs are in a small self-contained room (where there’s likely to be air conditioning) with a door.
When you insert your card you will usually be asked for your PIN immediately.
- It is normal to leave your card in the machine for the duration of the transaction.
- Select the option for foreign card/Foreign currency. This is usually in the bottom left of the screen.
- When you have selected this, you will be offered a language selection. As our card is from England we have always been offered English or Spanish.
- Select the amount you wish to withdraw. All Chilean ATM’s limit your withdrawal to 200,000 pesos when using a foreign card.
- Always ask for a receipt.
- Always put your card and your money away, zipped back into your wallet and bag before leaving the ATM.
Fee Comparison of The Best ATMs to use in Chile
|Bank Name||Withdrawal amount for foreign cards||Fee per withdrawal|
|Banco Internacional||200,000||ZERO Fees|
|Banco Condell||200,000||5,000 pesos|
|Banco Security||200,000||5,000 pesos|
|Banco Consorcio||200,000||5,000 pesos|
|Banco Estado||200,000||5,500 pesos|
|Banco de Chile||200,000||6,500 pesos|
*Certain Santander Bank accounts provide fee free ATM withdrawals. Check your terms and conditions carefully.
The only fee-free ATM withdrawals in Chile for Foreign Cards
The only Chilean ATMs with no fees for foreign cards are the ATMs provided by Banco Internacional. You can find a list of their locations here. That is unless you have a Santander account, which provides for fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals from a specific Santander account. Or, of course, if you hold an account that allows you to get your ATM withdrawal fees repaid.
ATMS on Rapa Nui / Easter Island ATMs
If you’re travelling to Easter Island, then you’ll need to know that there are two ATMS on the Island, one is Banco Estado and the other is Banco Santander. Both are in the main town of Hanga Roa. The fees charged at Easter Island ATMS are the same as on the mainland. Many (most of) the restaurants accept credit cards on Rapa Nui with no extra charge and you can use your credit card at the super markets too.
Currency Exchanges in Chile
You’ll find currency exchanges in all major areas and even on the streets in border towns, but the exchange rate you get won’t be great, it does make an easy option for using up “end of country cash” or making sure you have a few notes in your hand as you walk into a new country.
If you have travelled to Chile from Bolivia and need to change your Bolivian currency to Chilean DO IT ASAP. If you’ve travelled from the Uyuni Salt Flats to San Pedro, then we recommend you find someone coming INTO Bolivia and attempt to change any left-over Bolivian currency with them. If you try to change your Bolivian currency in San Pedro de Atacama you will lose approximately 30% (yes, thirty per cent).
Additional Advice on Chilean ATMs and saving money in Chile
- We always travel with the XE currency converter app loaded on our smartphones, it’s a quick and easy way to understand costs in your home currency. You can download it here.
- Take a fee-free credit card with you. You can use a credit card to pay for virtually anything in Chile. Even a 1,500 peso empanada. Without fees.
- Looking to move money abroad or between currencies? We use Transferwise – the BEST and cheapest option – get your account here and sign up for a low fee Mastercard Debit card.
We hope this article on Chilean ATM costs helps with your budgeting and travel experiences in Chile. Let us know if your experience is different or if you have updates on the costs of cash withdrawals in Chile!