Uruguay: The Peso (ARS)
Uruguayan peso (in spanish: peso uruguayo) has been a name of the Uruguayan currency since Uruguay's settlement by Europeans. The present currency, the peso uruguayo code: UYU) was adopted in 1993 and is subdivided into 100 centésimos. Coins in circulation are 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos. Bills you will use when traveling or living in the country come in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 denominations. The currency symbol is $U and the currency code is UYU.
Payment methods accepted in Uruguay
Note, that US dollars are widely accepted by many tourist-oriented businesses in Montevideo, Colonia de Sacramento and Punta del Este, but a good idea is to exchange some pesos.
Credit cards are also widely accepted in larger stores, hotels and restaurants. So, it`s important to use credit cards. The most widely accepted credit cards are Visa and MasterCard, though American Express and a few others are valid in some establishments. Some businesses add a surcharge when you buy with your credit card. If you use a credit card to pay restaurant bills, be aware that tips can’t usually be added to the bill. Many lower-end hotels and private tour companies will not accept credit cards. Many places will give you a small discount if you pay in cash rather than use a credit card
Where to exchange money in Uruguay?
The most convenient place to change money in Montevideo is an exchange house (casa de cambio). You will find them at regular intervals on Avenida 18 de Julio in the Centre, and also in the Old Town. There are several in Pocitos and a couple in Carrasco. They are open standard business hours. The rate you see posted is what you get; there is no additional commission. Note that banks are not open in the morning. ATMs dispense Uruguayan pesos and US dollars. In the guide the "$" symbol indicates pesos (US$ for American dollars) as is the custom in Uruguay. There are money changing facilities at the international airport in Montevideo.
Most Uruguayans save in US dollars. Nonetheless, euros and (to a lesser extent) pounds sterling and Swiss francs are easy to exchange.
You should keep hold of the purple Uruguayan $100 note as it is useful for taxis. The $1000 note is difficult to change outside large supermarkets.