Banks & ATMS
Large nationwide banks include Banco Itau (www.itau.com.py), Vision Banco (www.visionbanco.com), and BBVA (www.bbvaparaguay.com). Bank hours are 8:30am to 1:30pm, though most have 24 hour ATM machines. All ATMs charge Gs. 25,000 per transaction and have a
limit of three withdrawals per day and Gs. 1,000,000 per withdrawal. Only certain ATMs dispense US dollars. Note that your home country bank may charge an additional transaction fee for foreign withdrawals.
Many times, listed prices in stores accepting credit cards are for purchases made with a credit card. Make sure to ask for the price paid for transactions in cash (el precio en efectivo) and always ask for a discount. Prices set by store owners and private guides are rarely fixed and may vary significantly depending on the rapport you develop before addressing the issue of money. Being friendly, using Guarani words, and making small talk could result in a lower price. This tactic is much better than asking for prices right off the bat, as being upfront can be considered rude (see Etiquette).
In general, prices are not inflated, so bargaining is unlikely to grant you deep discounts. In open markets and when dealing with artisans, it is acceptable to ask for a discount, especially if you are buying multiple items or have become a regular customer. Keep in mind, however, that most goods are priced fairly, and bargaining too aggressively may leave artisans with very little profit.
A common bargaining tactic is to ask for a bonus or a freebie, otherwise known as a yapa. It is totally normal and acceptable to ask for a yapa in most informal purchasing situations (i.e. with market vendors and artisans, not at malls or supermarkets). Many vendors automatically throw in a yapa. An artisan may give you a small keychain while a vendor at a farmer’s market may add an extra piece of produce to your shopping bag.
While a ten percent tip for restaurants is standard, many locals do not partake in this practice. In the majority of places, tips must be paid in cash. It is a good idea to hand the tip directly to the intended recipient. People in rural areas generally do not expect a tip and may be reluctant to accept the money. If this happens, stating a specific purpose for the money such as, This is for your child’s school supplies, can make the exchange seem more like a collaboration rather than a donation.
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