Chances are your cash supply will run low during your adventure in Peru and you’ll find yourself face-to-face with an ATM, a task that’s not as daunting as you may think. In this blog post, we share everything you need to know about using ATM’s in Peru, from where you can count on finding one to bank fees and Peru exchange rates, as well as a few safety tips we recommend you follow.
Where to Find an ATM in Peru
A good rule of thumb when hunting for an ATM in Peru is to head to the nearest plaza, or central square. There, you’ll likely find banks, pharmacies, and shops that have ATM’s inside. If you’re still not finding one, ask a local for directions to the nearest cajero automático. Most towns in Peru, even the smaller ones, have at least one ATM, but if your Peru tour takes you to one of the more rural communities, you’ll want to make sure you have enough cash before heading there.
Cards Typically Accepted by ATMs in Peru
The most widely accepted card at ATM’s in Peru is Visa, but you’ll sometimes find Cirrus/Mastercard are accepted as well. GlobalNet is one of the ATM’s in Peru that accepts nearly all cards, including American Express, PLUS, and Diners Club.
Fees and Exchange Rates
There are several fees attached to using ATM’s in Peru. The first is the exchange rate, the fee to convert the amount withdrawn from your home currency to Peru’s local currency. There’s no way to avoid it, but you can minimize its impact on your wallet by choosing to do the entire transaction in the local currency rather than your home currency. The second fee is your home bank’s fee. This fee is one that your home bank charges you for using an ATM abroad. It’s typically a per transaction fixed fee or a percentage of the withdrawal amount. Talk to your bank in advance of your Peru trip to find out what ATM fees you can expect. The third fee is the Peruvian bank’s fee. Nearly all ATM’s in Peru will charge a fee for the transaction. Expect to pay anywhere from $4 to $10 USD per withdrawal, with the most expensive withdrawal fees occurring at ATM’s in airports, hotels, and in smaller or more touristy towns.
ATM’s in Peru tend to have withdrawal limits either per transaction or per day. Typically, the per transaction maximum is anywhere from S/ 400 to S/ 700. If you need more cash than the per transaction limit, simply re-insert your card into the same ATM and repeat the process. If you’ve met the per day maximum at a specific bank and need more cash, just use another bank’s ATM.
How to Use ATM’s in Peru
Fortunately, most ATM’s in Peru offer an option to do the transaction in English (or Inglés). The option should appear as soon as you insert your ATM card and pin. Typically, the machine will ask for a 4-digit pin. If yours happens to be longer, it’s best to contact your bank in advance of your trip to Peru to discuss what pin you’ll need to enter. Sometimes, you’ll also have the option to withdraw cash in either Peruvian soles or US dollars. As we mentioned before, it’s best to keep ATM transactions to the local currency. Expect to receive denominations of S/ 100 or, if you’re lucky, S/ 50 and S/ 20 notes.
Safety Tips for Using ATM’s in Peru
Though you shouldn’t bump into any problems when using ATM’s in Peru, there are a few ways you can help to minimize the risk. They are:
- Stick to ATM’s that are located within a bank or inside of a place of business, rather than outside on the street.
- Try to avoid visiting ATM’s at night or in secluded areas, or be especially cautious if you do.
Avoid any ATM’s that appear to have been tampered with or that have any suspicious-looking devices attached to them, especially around the card slot.