As you are probably aware, it was recently announced that a new 1000-peso bill is to be released in October, to constitute 11% of all paper money and replace the 500-peso bill as the highest denomination in circulation. However, the proposed orange banknote bearing the hornero bird seems to have hit a not-so-minor bump in the road: it’s technically illegal to make payments of over AR $1000 in cash.
It’s not that surprising that Law 25,345, passed in October 2000, has been overlooked. Since the turn of the century Argentina has gone through skyrocketing inflation. The minimum wage in 2000 was AR $200 per month (it’s now AR $8060). AR $1000 was five times the minimum wage so it’s no wonder cash payments over that value were deemed illegal in an attempt to curb tax evasion. With AR $1000 now being worth around US $62, if you want to pay your friend back for the concert ticket they bought you, it might be time to pull out the check book.
Technically it’s only legal to use the 1000-peso bill on its own for payments of that exact amount or less. So does that mean the hornero will be flying solo? The law stipulates that any payment over AR $1000 must be made by transfer, check or card. But before you freak out about breaking the law the last time you ate out in a nice restaurant or paid rent in cash, the law exists on the books but is not enforced.
The 1000 peso limit joins the ranks of jaywalking fines and trash deposit times in a growing list of non-enforced laws in this fine republic we call home.