Basics of banking in Portugal



Opening a Bank Account in Portugal

Ever since Portugal became a full EU member on 1st January 1993 banking regulations for resident and non-resident EU citizens are the same. If you are a non-resident homeowner in Portugal, you can do most of your banking through a foreign account using debit and credit cards, as well as Euro-cheques. However, Portuguese bank account (conta bancária) is required to pay taxes and utility bills. Though you can open an account through correspondence before moving to Portugal, it is best that you do it in person. Ask your colleagues and friends to recommend a bank and go with your passport, fiscal number and proof of address in Portugal (you have to be at least 18 years old). A minimum deposit of around €250 may be required.

Most expatriates living in Portugal usually maintain at least two cheque (current) accounts, one foreign account for international and large transactions, and one local account with a Portuguese bank for day to day business and living expenses.

Remember that bouncing a cheque is a criminal offence in Portugal and offenders are charged with fraud. They can be blacklisted by the Banco de Portugal and also have to pay 20 percent of the amount of the cheque in interest and fees, and can be refused a cheque account in future.

Banks in Portugal

Banks in Portugal are mainly of two types: clearing banks and savings banks (caixas). Major banking groups in the country include Banco de Portugal, Banco BPI, Banco Português de Negócios, Banco Internacional do Funchal (BANIF), and BNP Paribas.

There are many foreign banks like Barclays, Citibank, Deutsch Bank and Rheinhyp (a major German mortgage bank) operating in Portugal. Most of them are concentrated in Lisbon and some in Porto. Branches in other towns are rare.

Normal banking hours in major cities and towns are from 8.30am to 3pm (or from 8.30am to 11.45am and from 1 to 3pm in smaller towns), Monday to Friday. Banks are closed on weekends and public holidays. Some bank branches In Lisbon and some resorts on the Algarve open in the evening to change money.



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Banking Guide