All you need to know about Iberian America

The Latin American Demand for Dollars

Published October 1, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

When living here in Latin America, sometimes you'll encounter a local who is insistent on wanting payment in dollars.

In some cases, it's not just a thing they do with you but supposedly the whole market is like that.

While I've never tried buying a home down here, I've heard countries like Argentina as you can see here or Venezuela as you can see here are insistent on payments being done in dollars to buy homes.

Obviously, we also have countries like Ecuador or Panama that use dollars for basically everything from what I've heard.

So on and so on. 

Sometimes the issue is more common in these countries because of high inflation and lack of trust in the local currency.

Though, even if inflation isn't that much of an issue, it could also be the case that the local thinks that you just have a large sum of dollars to give them because you are a foreigner from the US.

Personally, I find it annoying when a local wants payment in dollars.

It rarely happens but I always think to myself "great! So how much of a discount will you give me if I give you a stronger currency?"

After all, if I'm giving you a higher value currency that might even gain more value against your local currency, why shouldn't I get a discount?

Especially if your ass thinks I'm going to go out of my way to find an exchange house to trade pesos for dollars (which already would cost me money to do so).

But that's the thing -- said local honestly thinks that you wouldn't have to go to a trade house and you just happen to have dollars hanging around.

I chalk it up to a few theories that could support why said local might think that way:

1. They are ignorant about what it takes to get my home currency down here if I didn't bring any with me and what that could cost as they likely have never lived in another country.

2. They are dealing primarily with tourists on a consistent basis who showed up yesterday and who do actually might have some dollars laying around that they haven't converted yet.

Said tourists might even think themselves that they can use their home currency here if they haven't traveled much.

Well, they might depending on the business they interact with but it is a bit arrogant to think everyone will accept your home currency in my opinion.

Either way, there could be other reasons for why the local is insistent on wanting dollars beyond everything said so far.

Depends on the person as always.

And, to be fair, I almost never have locals asking for me to pay in USD anyway as I don't even live in a touristy area of Mexico City.

There are no other foreigners from the US hanging around in Iztapalapa that I have seen so far.

Even when I did live in areas like Roma Norte, I don't remember anyone asking for dollars.

Though, given the new wave of foreigners we've had to that area and Condesa, I have heard stories of businesses being more accepting or having the option to pay in dollars supposedly.

Not sure how true that is but it's what I've heard that more than before are like that.

Anyway, as ironic as it sounds then, I actually did have a local demand I pay in dollars not too long ago.

My landlord.

When I first paid him to move in, he wasn't insistent on dollars.

However, over the final week before paying the subsequent month's rent, he seemed oddly more pushy on dollars.

But not in a overly direct way such as "you must pay in dollars or else I won't accept rent."

Just more of a half-serious, half-jokingly way of occasionally asking if "I'll be paying in dollars."

To which I've told him "no, I don't have dollars" several times.

Which is true.

I literally don't have dollars.

I haven't held a dollar in almost 3 years (since the last time I was in the US briefly).

And, even when I visit the US and hold dollars again, it's always for a short period.

I've never even withdrawn dollars down here or changed pesos for them.

I'd assume that I'd have to go to an exchange house and change them there.

Which, as I said before, would cost me money at whatever exchange rate they give me.

Effectively making my rent more expensive.

At any rate, the guy wouldn't stop and asked again, as you can see here, for "dollars."

But, as I said, it's like he's saying it in a passive, "haha just joking but, for real, dollars yes?" way.

He obviously wants dollars by this point.

But I'm not paying in dollars. I don't have them.

And, even if I did and could get dollars at no expense to me, I'd still demand a discount because clearly I am offering a stronger currency that he can hold onto in case it goes up in value or the value of the peso crashes.

Which is to his benefit.

Anyway, I already paid this month's rent.

Hopefully next month will he will drop the whole business about dollars.

It also kinda annoys me because he knows I've been here for years and didn't get off the plane yesterday.

So why ask for dollars when you know, in all likelihood, I don't have them?

Though I can't blame them for it, a lot of people here are not very knowledgeable about what it's like to live abroad in their country and what we can realistically do and can't do.

And, above all, this once in a blue moon insistence for the dollar by some of the locals is something that sometimes rubs me the wrong way.

Especially if we are in your country where the legal currency is the peso and I have the right to pay in that.

So shut up and take my pesos.

I wouldn't mind if they just ask one time but the insistence by this landlord, although he is great at everything else, was a little bit annoying.

And just one example out of many of the Latin American who wants those dollars and thinks we foreigners have them ready at hand.

Still, it's a small detail to life here and, quite honestly, isn't a big of an issue unless you plan on buying a house, I suppose.

Like I said, basically nobody else is this insistent for dollars so it's not really anything to go on more about.

You get the idea.

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.

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Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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