Car-hunting II.

Money and Officialities


Continuing the story - we found the right car, now we just have to buy it. Simple? Never :)

As nobody wants to sell the car without seeing the money, we made a deal that we'll send the money to Alfonso's account, so he can instantly transfer it to Miguel Angel(the owner) during the transaction. Based on our research, we wanted to use Transferwise, as they take pride that their international transfers are made in less than one day. Most of them.

As we found out the next evening, this one would take 5-6 days. Picking up money with Western Union - declined. All ATM withdrawals in Chile are limited to 400k chilean peso a day (+-500 eur) for one card and one bank. 22:00 and the transaction about to happen the following day. Sh*t.

As we didn't want to wait and risk somebody buying the car before us, we decided to make a wild night-santiago-run for ATMs to pick up the money with our three credit cards and the help of Alfonso's friend Segundo. He was studying for university exam together with Alfonso, but quickly offered to drive us around for better security. Segundo, we owe you one.

Wandering around in Santiago at night, trying to find ATMs - priceless.

Wandering around in Santiago at night, trying to find ATMs - priceless.


My special german credit card for travelling, where we stored most of our savings (no foreign transaction fees, good rate, totally free), refused to withdraw more than 600k chilean peso (around 800 eur). We used all the other cards, but had only about a half of the money needed. Nevermind, the next morning we'll raise the limit and get it - we thought. :)

Following morning, Ivan called the bank company, spent about 10 minutes on the phone only to find out, there is a fixed 600eur/day & 1000eur/week limit and they CAN NOT change it. After another 10 minutes arguing that it's my money and need to use it now and not in a week, they offered to raise it to 2000 eur, but no more. "It's a security risk, you know, we're a new bank and you are a new customer and...". Hmm. Didn't seem to bother them when I put all the money there... >.< Number26, I appeal to you - review your policy. For the "Europe's most modern bank account", this is pretty medieval.

As the transfer between the accounts would take too long, we were a bit desperate. Luckily, our dear friend Martin who has account in both our banks, helped us out and after a short skype call to ensure that we're not some chap from Nigeria, we made an exchange and in 2 minutes easily raised the limit in our normal bank.

After becoming experts with Santiago's ATMs and wallets almost bursting with money (in Chile the largest banknote is equivalent of 25eur), we headed to finish the deal. We consulted the buying process in a fancy notary on 22th floor, where they told us they won't do it with the temporary RUT. Can't beat the view though. We got the addresses of two other notary offices from other travellers and headed there.

Waiting at the notary. A bit chaotic, but it went surprisingly smooth.

Waiting at the notary. A bit chaotic, but it went surprisingly smooth.

The transaction was surprisingly easy. Waited a line, signed and thumbprinted a few documents, paid the fee and done - the car is ours :) They only needed to send the transfer document to Registro Civil to transfer the title of the car. As there was a strike on RC, they should do it when it ends. Soon, we hoped. To make sure we can leave the country without it, we asked for notarized permission (poder) to leave the country with title still in Miguel Angel's name.

Only thing left was to pay for the car - we went to Miguel Angel's house, and played Monopoly with him, his daughter and Alfonso. A lot money to count, what could I say. :)
We happily left and thought we'll just fix it quickly, make a bed inside the car and get the updated padron(title) when the strike ends. Especially the last part was optimistic to say the least. But more about that next time. :)

Transaction completed! :) With Alfonso (left) and Miguel Angel (right)

Transaction completed! :) With Alfonso (left) and Miguel Angel (right)


Tips for car-buyers in Chile

  • Think about how you'll pay. International bank transfers take some time and they are expensive. Transferwise looks good, but takes some time as well. Still it looks like the best option out there.
  •  If you choose cash, be really careful, use money belt and ideally don't go around ATMs during the night, as some of us do.
  • Don't go to fancy notary offices, they will charge 2-3x more. They might speak english, but it's not worth it - the process is really simple.
  • Have the car checked by mechanic, if you're not one. More on that in the next article.
Janka proudly standing next to our sweet ride. Buen viaje! :)

Janka proudly standing next to our sweet ride. Buen viaje! :)