UY Pesos, Dollars or Plastic? We use all three.
I don’t know why, but our US banks won’t allow us to pull out more than $2,000 UYU at a time. So it’s easier for us to pull ou U$S300 and saves us two $58 UYU transaction fee at the ATM.
We typically take our US dollars to a Cambio (see pic below) to exchange them for UY pesos so that we get the best rate of exchange.
Unfortunately the Cambios aren’t open on Sundays, so occasionally we’ll be stuck with US dollars and no simple way to exchange them for UY pesos.
Then I buy a coke at the market across the street with a U$S 100 bill and get the change in UY Pesos (but don’t expect many of the stores to do that for you until you’ve established yourself as a regular customer).
Most places will accept US dollars, but if you hand them a hundred dollar bill, they’ll usually look at you like you are crazy… Very few places could break it (U$S 100 is about $2312 UY pesos).
However, if you walk into some stores, like electronics stores, you’ll see everything is priced in US dollars rather than UY pesos. I guess paying U$S 1500 sounds better than $34,680 UY pesos…
Also, because the sales tax here is 22%, we try to pay for everything we can on our debit card. Why? Because we get 8% back on most purchases when you pay with debit/ credit cards (with a few exceptions like grocery stores) and we don’t get stuck with a currency transfer fee.
Unfortunately, even though Visa and MasterCard are accepted at a lot of places, we’re finding more places don’t accept plastic than do (especially restaurants). I guess the fees are pretty high for businesses.
Of course there are places, like the ferias, that only accept UY Pesos. So, there really isn’t a simple answer to, “How do you pay for things in Uruguay.” It’s really a mix is UY pesos, US dollars and plastic.
We learned through trial and error how to balance the mix and hope this blog provides a little clarification for you.