IT'S OK TO USE DOLLARS IN CASH OR FOREIN DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS FOR EVERYDAY PAYMENTS IN VENEZUELA
In Venezuela, more and more formal businesses place the price of their products in dollars, and accept this currency as a form of payment. This, despite the fact that the official curreny is the Bolívar.
The Bolivar has not formally disappeared as a means of payment in the national territory, financial experts assure that what there is a kind of substitution of the bolivar as a payment instrument at the national level.
In the border states, the presence of the dollar is between 75% and 80% of transactions and, in the rest of Venezuela, the figure varies between 55% and 75%.
The presence of foreign currencies, in cash, in the purchase and sale is in principle due to the shortage of Bolivar's cash. What is happening is a hyperinflation process that still exists in Venezuela and the bolivar has absolutely lost its purchasing power. Hence, all payments are being made in foreign currency, mostly with a bank transfer, but at retail, the presence of the dollar is absolute, there is practically no presence of the bolivar.
A huge monetary distortion is that the Euro is accepted at the same parity of the Dollar, affecting European travelers.
THE LACK OF CASH IN BOLIVARES
The government put into circulation on January 2017 a new group of banknotes with denominations from Bs 500 to Bs 20,000. In November of that same year the Bs 100,000 began to circulate. However, both the quantity and its distribution among the denominations collided with the inflation wall, making them insufficient in light of the demand for cash.
In addition, the government began to increase liquidity to unprecedented levels, while the amount of cash left behind, to the point one year and three months after its arrival, the new banknotes have not replaced the previous ones, whose use was reflected to craft supplies.
The shortage of cash overwhelms Venezuelans in the midst of the most intense economic crisis they have experienced in their history. Getting tickets to pay for public transport, parking or buying food requires spending hours waiting at banks or ATMs and even paying for them.
The government assures that there is a "conspiracy" against the Venezuelan currency that is directed from abroad. Cúcuta (Colombia) is indicated as the epicenter of the banknote vacuum cleaner, however there is no data to support this thesis, at least not shown by the figures of the Central Bank of Venezuela.
IMPORTANT FOR TRAVELLERS
For a traveler it is important to verify whether it is more convenient (from the point of view of the price of goods and services) to use cash or the use of foreign credit or debit cards. Sometimes the official exchange rate (Banco Central de Venezuela) is better than the price of cash on the black market; other times the opposite happens.
To verify exchange parities, we recommend that you check:
- The official source of the Central Bank of Venezuela:
- The most reliable source, from our point of view, of the parity of the dollar on the black market: