The unit of currency is the peso ($ or CHP), which exists in banknotes
of $1000, $2000, $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 and coins of $1,
$5, $10, $50, $100 and $500. Personal checks are a respected and
widely used document, which require identification to use them.
Foreign cash is not generally used, except for hotels that may
waive the value-added tax (IVA) if you are a foreigner, when you
pay in US dollars or credit card.
Credit cards are widely used and accepted. There is no surcharge
for their use. The most commonly accepted cards are Visa, Master
Card and Diners Club. In medium-sized to large businesses American
Express is also honored. Exchange rates for credit cards are very
convenient. Some small, rural towns function solely on a cash-only
basis, so have cash handy when going off the beaten path.
In commercial and banking areas as well as gas stations, it is
easy to find Automatic Teller Machines (Redbanc network) honoring
cards of all local banks as well as Cirrus cards, 24 hours a day,
7 days a week. Exchange rates are very good.
The government does not regulate the market of foreign currency
in Chile making it possible to exchange money at any established
"Casa de Cambio" at market driven exchange rates. They are common
in the downtown area and Providencia district as well as shopping
centers. Check out our section on Shopping.
For information on exchange rates check The
Universal Currency Converter (TM).