Given the lack of dollars, the Central Bank in November prohibited credit cards from selling tickets abroad in installments. As a consequence of this measure that aims to preserve reserves in a context of scarcity, consumption with credit cards in dollars in December fell by 22.3% compared to the previous month, according to a report by First Capital Group.
The balance in December 2021 for credit cards in dollars was USD 146 million, while in November it had reached USD 188 million. This is the lowest balance since September 2021, when it reached $ 132 million.
It should be noted that the monetary authority prohibited credit cards from selling tickets, hotels or any other tourist service abroad in installments as of November, according to a determination made by the entity’s board of directors. For this reason, all services contracted abroad that are paid by credit card they must be settled in a single payment or financed with the 43% rate set for the “minimum payment” of the abstracts.
Likewise, 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 A 7407 of the entity.
However, consumption with credit cards in pesos closed 2021 with a year-on-year increase of 58.7%, although with an irregular monthly behavior.
“In December, the influence that the provision that prohibited the use of fees for tourist services in dollars has had is appreciated, in addition, the worsening of infections put an unexpected brake on travel between countries and consequently the operations in foreign currency with cards decrease. credit ”, analyzed Guillermo Barbero, partner of First Capital Group.
The reasons that led the BCRA to make such a decision regarding consumption in dollars with a card are more than evident: the need to discourage dollars from leaving the country and thus continue to weaken its reserves, given the uncertainty generated by the delayed agreement with the IMF. 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 greater than 100% between the official dollar and the free dollar or “blue” has its most negative side in tourism. Of all the economic activities, it is the least convenient in terms of the 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.
Meanwhile, the financial consultancy highlighted that consumer financing through credit cards in pesos closed 2021 with a year-on-year increase of 38.1%, well below inflation for the year, placing this financing option in fourth place preferably, after pledge, personal and commercial loans.
If you look at December in particular, credit card operations registered a balance of $ 1,264,625, which means an increase of 3.2% compared to the end of last month, about $ 38,766 million above November, and also below the expected inflation, being the fifth consecutive month with a positive variation in nominal terms.
“We are faced with a particularly weak December for the public’s indebtedness with plastic money, the limitations and difficulties to use quotas in tourist services, prevented an expansion of this segment despite the greater volume reached by Christmas purchases,” said Barbero.