Tourism: how to pay for tickets and accommodation with cryptocurrencies
In a context of growing adoption, more and more people are using them to save in foreign currency and make payments both within Argentina and abroad. What are the available alternatives.
Faced with the Central Bank's (BCRA) prohibition to buy tickets, accommodations, activities and services abroad in installments with credit cards, many Argentines considered as an available option for their vacations in cryptocurrencies without restrictions.
In a context of growing adoption, they are increasingly used to save in foreign currency and make payments both within Argentina and outside the country. These digital money transfers can be made in two ways: on the one hand, they can be deposited directly from one wallet to another; and on the other hand, with a 100% digital prepaid card that can only be funded with cryptocurrencies.
One of the platforms that allows this possibility is Travala, paying for flights, stays and excursions with cryptocurrencies. It is a company associated with Booking.com, the popular search engine for complete vacation planning.
The union between cryptocurrencies and tourism is not new. There are already several tourism agencies in Argentina that have announced the reception of Bitcoin as a form of payment. One of the best known was Garbarino Viajes, a few years ago. However, after the pandemic, the electronic payment alternatives seem to have made these new technologies that allow the use of electronic money without the need of intermediaries such as banks or credit cards to re-emerge in Argentina in my case.
How to pay on Travala? First of all, you need to have an account in the Binance exchange to make the purchase. This cryptocurrency trading platform has no official presence in Argentina. Once the Binance account is opened, the account must be funded with cryptocurrencies. To do so, the digital coins must be purchased with Argentine pesos through "person-to-person" trading, better known by its acronym P2P (which stands for peer-to-peer).
This system works as follows: by entering the "P2P" section of the Binance menu, it is possible to find a series of publications of Argentine sellers who offer their cryptocurrencies in exchange for Argentine pesos. There, you have to select one of the verified crypto sellers and manually enter the amount of cryptocurrencies you want to buy.
Automatically, you will see the final price of the transaction and then the buyer must deposit the money in the bank account and make the corresponding payment to the seller through the Binance platform. The payment in pesos is made to a bank account or to a digital wallet such as Mercado Pago and Ualá, depending on the requirements of the cryptocurrency seller. Once the capital has been transferred, the seller releases the cryptocurrencies and the cryptocurrency is credited to the seller's Binance account.
t should be noted that Binance does not charge any commission to any of the users, that is, the transaction cost will be 0% and that at all times both parties are protected, since the app retains the seller's cryptocurrencies until the seller confirms that the buyer made the payment and then releases them for the buyer to receive his cryptocurrencies. This guarantees security and commitment to the execution of the transaction.
Once the account is funded, you have to enter Travala.com's official website (or click on this link) and start searching for hotels, trips and air tickets. The last step is to make the payment with the digital wallet.
On the Crypto Avisos platform, which functions as a digital showcase of Argentines who sell real estate, vehicles and products and only accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, you can find rentals of cabins and apartments in La Costa and within the country. On the page there is a button to contact the seller directly and establish the terms of the deposit of digital assets.
Payment processors Visa and Mastercard launched "special" prepaid cards that are funded with digital currencies and can be used both in physical stores and on the Internet to make payments.
Moreover, these cards can be used not only in Argentina, but also in the United States, Europe and any country in the world. Here is what they are and how they work.
For example, Visa launched together with Pay with moon a prepaid plastic called "Moon Visa" which is 100% digital. That is, there is no physical card.
To fund it, you have to transfer cryptocurrencies and when you want to make a payment, the card automatically makes the conversion to dollars to pay anywhere Visa cards are accepted.
But there is fine print: once funds have been loaded onto a card, those funds cannot be transferred or withdrawn. In other words, they must be spent.
Xapo is a cryptocurrency custody company that was created by an Argentine entrepreneur named Wenceslao Casares. In 2014, the firm created a maximum security system for the storage of its users' bitcoins; consisting of the safekeeping of private keys in physical vaults around the world.
Today, Xapo is a digital bank with a strong bet on cryptocurrencies and one of the verticals it offers is debit cards. To get it, you have to pay an annual subscription of u$s150.
To manage this debit card, a digital account must be opened in Xapo, which is used to manage expenses; activate and deactivate payments abroad; manage the security of the card; among other functionalities. In the same app, users must fund the debit card with any currency, and every time a payment is made, Xapo reimburses 1.1% of the total purchase.