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MONEY & CURRENCY

CURRENCY INFORMATION
Nuevo (new) Sol (PEN;/i/ symbol S/.) = 100 céntimos. Nuevo Sol notes are in denominations of S/.200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of S/.5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 céntimos

MONEY
Peru uses the nuevo sol (S), which has traded at S3.00 to S5.50 per US dollar (US$) for several years, although you should keep an eye on current events.

Carrying cash, an ATM or traveler’s check card and also a credit card that can be used for cash advances in case of emergency is advisable. When receiving local currency, always ask for small bills (billetes pequeñas), as S100 bills are hard to change in small towns or for small purchases. The best places to exchange money are normally casas de cambio (foreign-exchange bureaus), which are fast, have longer hours and often give slightly better rates than banks. Many places accept US dollars. Do not accept torn money as it will likely not be accepted by Peruvians. It is best not to change money on the street as counterfeits are a problem.

ATMs
Cajeros automáticos (ATMs) are found in nearly every city and town in Peru, as well as at major airports and bus terminals. ATMs are linked to the international Plus (Visa), Cirrus (Maestro/MasterCard) systems, American Express and other networks. They will accept your bank or credit card as long as you have a four-digit PIN. Before you leave home, notify your bank that you’ll be using your ATM card abroad. Even better, leave your bank card at home and buy a traveler’s check card instead.
ATMs are a convenient way of obtaining cash, but rates are usually lower than at casas de cambio. Both US dollars and nuevos soles are readily available from Peruvian ATMs. Your home bank may charge an additional fee for each foreign ATM transaction. Surcharges for cash advances from credit cards vary, but are generally expensive, so check with your credit-card provider before you leave home.

ATMs are normally open 24 hours. For safety reasons, use ATMs inside banks with security guards, preferably during daylight hours.

CREDIT CARDS
Many top-end hotels and shops accept tarjetas de credito (credit cards) but usually charge you a 7% (or greater) fee for using them. The amount you’ll eventually pay is not based on the point-of-sale exchange rate, but the rate your bank chooses to use when the transaction posts to your account, sometimes weeks later. Your bank may also tack on a surcharge and additional fees for each foreign-currency transaction.

The most widely accepted cards in Peru are Visa and MasterCard, although American Express and a few others are valid in some establishments, as well as for cash advances at ATMs. Before you leave home, notify your bank that you’ll be using your credit card abroad.

TRAVELLERS CHEQUES
Banks will exchange traveller’s cheques although it can be a slow process outside Lima. The ability to use traveller's cheques is also quite limited in some areas so you should check whether or not they will be accepted in the area you are visiting prior to travel. The use of ATMs is generally preferable, but if you do decide to bring traveller's cheques, the best currency to bring them in is US Dollars.