Cheaper dollars: how much do you save if you buy online from a stock exchange, fintech or branch of a bank?
For several decades, the country has ruled on an unwritten principle according to which Argentines "make their usual transactions in pesos but save in dollars."
The official statistics are more than eloquent in this regard. In particular, regarding the monthly purchases made by "ordinary citizens" and the balances of deposits in bank accounts, without counting the amounts saved in the "mattress".
While this trend continues over time, the truth is that the way to buy and sell foreign currency changed radically.
It is not necessary to be very memorable to remember the pitfalls that had to be overcome to make dollars during the currency exchange period, between November 2011 and December 2015, period in which the "blue" was the star of the market.
Later, with the liberalization of operations, access to the market began to be simplified. Added to this, there was the incorporation of new technologies by the hand of the fintech, in a race in which banks and exchange houses were forced to accept a new challenge.
Thus, in a short time it went from the classic "change, change" of the trees of Florida Street to operate through Home Banking and applications available for smartphones.
In this new context, much more competitive, the great beneficiaries are ordinary Argentines, since the emergence of this new 100% digital segment emerged a new modality that, in general, includes:
- Sale prices of dollars below the average
- Purchase prices above the average
- Greater hour availability to operate
- Fee-free deposit accounts
Why can they offer these advantages? The answer is simple: from lower operating expenses and from a much more efficient technology. The appearance of fintech is not accidental, since it is a market that moves monthly about US $ 1.500 million, with an average per operation that is around $ 1,400.
Speaking in money
In practice, the price difference between fintech and banks is due to the fact that, based on a much lower cost structure, the commission of these brokers is reduced from 5% to less than 2%.
That is why resorting to these digital companies as intermediaries in the exchange market results in a saving that individuals and families must size according to the frequency and volume of their transactions.
All this, in addition, without moving from their homes and being able to operate all day, turning from home banking to the broker's account and then buying foreign currency and returning the dollars to the bank.
If you consider the fintech that are published on the BCRA website:
- The difference between the quotation and the market average is around 70 cents per unit for the sale
- In the case of the purchase there is greater volatility, since the gap in favor of fintech ranges from $ 0.40 to $ 1.10 per unit
As an example:
- Who acquires $ 100 per month as usual, so far this year will have accumulated about $ 15 more precisely for the difference in quotation
- In the opposite direction, the one that was forced to sell $ 100 per month, will have an amount of $ 550 higher than an operation performed in a bank
How to operate with fintech
In most cases, the requirements are minimal and for all these companies the operation is similar and quite simple. In several, to open the account, which is 100% online, only require personal data and a selfie with the ID in hand, highlight from BullExchange.
In the case of Balanz Capital, player of relevance in the market, the process of opening an account is without papers, although it requires biometric identification. Once this requirement has been fulfilled and after the agreement to operate, the pesos can be transferred from any account, the exchange operation can be carried out and the dollars can be sent back to the foreign currency savings account held by the client in any entity.
It is clear that whoever chooses this option must comply with the requirements of the Financial Information Unit (UIF), which vary according to the amounts:
- The person who operates up to $ 200,000 per year will only have to inform their personal data, including CUIT and nationality
- If it rises to $ 800,000, you must add a photo of the ID
- From that level you must add documentation that proves the origin of the funds
Daniel Vicen de Balanz, says to iProUP: "We have the best market price and now you can buy and sell dollars 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through our app". The executive adds that the company allows its clients to save an average 2.5%, if their contribution is compared with that of banks or exchange houses.
"The statistics indicate that, since April, Balanz has offered the best prices in place, exceeding the bank offers (including the Nation), on average $ 0.65 in favor of the customer at both ends," he says.
"The volume operated daily is around one million dollars," says Vicen, adding: "Since we started as exchange agents, we are the only ones in this activity included in the Central Bank's quotes page."
"Our goal is to provide a service in a country where buying dollars historically has been a way to save, so our competitive strategy focuses on providing the opportunity to do so at a cheaper price," adds Vicen.
"Experience tells us that the retailer wants to see the tickets or at least have them credited on the spot in their bank account, so the transactions are 'in a mirror': the money comes out of a peso account, the transaction is carried out of purchase and, if requested, the dollars are transferred to your account in that currency, "says the executive.
"One of our main advantages is that we work with the 7 X 24 modality, that is, we are always open, taking into account the price of the last closing", completes the Balanz executive.
Another relevant competitor is Bull MarketBrokers, which also developed a similar solution: Bull Exchage. This company also registers its prices on the Central Bank's website and, since its appearance, shows growth in excess of two digits per month in the number of new accounts, users and operations.
In this case, the premise is to offer the lowest spread (difference between purchase and sale) in the market. The slogan is "always cheaper than the selling point of Banco Nación".
"The idea is that anyone can open an account and buy or sell dollars in just 5 minutes, at the best price on the market," says Ramiro Marra, director of the firm, to iProup.
"The first five or six days of the month are twice as many operations as the rest, since that is when the public comes out to require tickets," says the executive, who adds that a distinctive aspect of his company is automatic accreditation.
"You send money and it automatically arrives in your account, without giving more details about the transfer, you do not need any proof, it's credited from the CBU and CUIL numbers," Marra adds.
Meanwhile, IB Cambio, which together with the previous ones is listed daily on the BCRA online board, boasts of being the first fully digital exchange agency. It operates exclusively by bank transfer and with crediting periods of 24 to 48 hours in a fully automated way.
From the company explain why it works from 10.45 to 17.00 on business days: "We hardly expand it much in the short term, since outside of these hours we have no reference to wholesale prices".
On the other hand, Cambio Posadas sources, which is another company that sells 24x7 dollars, affirm that "the public is looking for a better price than the one given by its head bank".
The company shows as an attribute to be the first entity to have a normative manual for delivery operations, to develop an app to access the free exchange market and to offer a foreign currency exchange service through the Internet.
Another player, although with different characteristics from the previous ones, is Druber, who calls himself the "Uber of the dollar".
"Our mission is to connect people with access to banking and unbanked, with fair financial services through technology, facilitating personal and professional development, anywhere, anytime, in a fast, simple and reliable way", say iProUP from the company .
In practice, drubers are operators registered and authorized by the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic to operate in the Single Market and Free of changes, such as agents and exchange houses, travel agencies, etc.
In this case the "cash pickup" was incorporated, where customers can see the quotes and branches from a map inside Druber, close the operation from the app and look for the tickets in a change house.
You can also mention the case of TiendaDólar, a virtual exchange house that already makes about 11,000 monthly transactions. According to Martín Nagelberg, CTO of the company, "the system is very simple: we combine supply and demand like any marketplace". In this case, the user of this platform achieves a difference in his favor of up to $ 1 in both the buying and selling variant, with respect to banks.
The advantage of this platform over fintech is that "they have higher legal requirements to register users, they ask for more forms, an app, wait to validate the DNI and other issues, while our onboarding is immediate."
In the case of TiendaDólar, the user must have a savings account in pesos and another in dollars of which he / she is the owner or co-owner. Once this requirement has been met, it is now possible to open a free account on the web to which the weights for the purchase of the long-awaited green tickets are transferred.
Transactions in local currency, savings in foreign currency, a well Argentine custom that will take many years to disappear. If it ever happens.