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Credit cards: even without tourism, dollar spending grows for online purchases abroad


Financing with plastics in dollars collapsed 72% this year. But the trend was turned by e-commerce.

Laura Garcia

08/06/2020 - 9:03

  • Clarí
  • Economy
  • Economy

Not so long ago, in 2017, the "tourist flight" - the overseas credit card fueled by the exchange rate delay - supposed a drain of US $ 10 billion per year. And the debt in dollars with plastics reached US $ 750 million at the beginning of the following year. The ravages of the pandemic caused it to touch a minimum of US $ 55 million in May, but the curious thing is that, even without tourists, it has been two months since it timidly raised its head again.

It is that this indicator not only includes the consumption made abroad by those who travel but also the online card purchases that are made in dollars , this is the explosion of e-commerce. A phenomenon that, incidentally, also transformed card consumption into pesos, in which online expenses already account for up to 75% of the total.

Thus, the debt stock in dollars could climb from US $ 96 million to US $ 132 million in July compared to the previous month , an increase of US $ 36 million that adds to the US $ 41 million in June, according to Bank data. Central. For five months there had been consecutive falls, with losses of up to US $ 70 million.  

In any case, with tourism badly hurt, financing in dollars with plastics falls 72% this year and is one-tenth of what it was in early 2018 .

Matías Rajnerman, from Ecolatina , explains: "June and July were months where there was a very strong solidarity dollar purchase, and what this shows is that people are buying official dollars because they think it is cheap."

"Something similar happens with ecommerce," he adds. "If you have to buy a computer outside and think that they are going to devalue, it is a good time. With an expectation of high devaluation, many people took the opportunity to make an imported purchase, they advanced it to avoid the jump in the exchange rate ."

The reappearance of the tourist dollar on the scene in January had already worked as a disincentive. He was an old acquaintance who returned as a 30% tax (the solidarity tax) and no longer on account of Profits. This is the same surcharge that is applied to the purchase for hoarding through the stock of US $ 200 per month.

At the time of implementing it, from the Government it was argued that the tourist balance retained a red of approximately US $ 5 billion annually, which implied that more than a third of the dollars that enter by trade surplus went on trips.

Confinement soon came to accentuate the sinking of a line that knew to be a worrying source of reserve bleeding. And a clear "cheap dollar" thermometer.

Keep in mind, however, that there is the possibility of paying expenses directly in dollars and thus avoid paying the tax.

The key is to make the payment between the closing date and the expiration date of the summary, since otherwise the dollar is paid at a "solidarity" price, today above $ 100 (each bank's retail dollar plus 30%).


Source: clarin

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