Chile's currency is the Chilean peso (CLP). Other currencies are not widely accepted, but most cities have exchange bureaux with resonable rates on euros and US dollars. The rates should be published on widely visible boards.
Never exchange money on the streets, specially if a "helper" indicates you to follow them.
It's not advisable to exchange currency in the hotel or the airport as the rates are awful. Just be patient. Banco Santander has a monopoly on the ATMs of the airport and will add a surcharge of 2500 CLP for retrieving cash - it's still better than the exchange bureaus.
The automatic teller machine (ATM) network in Chile is respectable in coverage--they're all connected to the same service and enable standard transactions. Be aware that different banks will charge you different amounts of money for extracting cash - you will be advised on the screen of the surcharge. The normal fee is 2500 CLP. Banco Estado does not add a surcharge (verified for MasterCard, not verified for VISA - please check and edit).
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in most of the independent commerce of major cities and in all chain stores, no matter where they are. The pinpass security system has been introduced for credit cards, so you will mostly only need your personal pinpass four digit code as it exists in other parts of the world. For some cards you will not be asked for your PIN and they will use the four last numbers of the credit card entered manually and you will have to show a valid ID.
In mid July 2012 €1 ≡ CLP 600, £1UK ≡ CLP 763, $1AUD = CLP 501 and $US 1 ≡ CLP 490.
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