How to open a bank account in Portugal?

Do you intend to study or work in Portugal for at least 6 months? So be aware that opening an account with a local bank is a step that will make your life there much easier. Our sister country has its own network of ATMs and automatic payment terminals – Multibanco. And the big question is that, to access it, it is necessary to have a bank account in Portugal, that is, a Portuguese bank. Find out more about it now!

Caixa Geral de Depósitos branch in Lisbo

Why open a bank account in Portugal?

If you intend to spend only a few months in the country, as a digital nomad for 3 months, for example, it may not be necessary to open a local account. In such cases, a digital bank can be a good solution. It is worth remembering that the cards provided by these banks are accepted at most payment terminals. But in the case of those who will spend more time, as we have already said, there are several advantages of opening a bank account in Portugal. Discover some of them now:

  • Countryaah: See population statistics by city and age about the country of Portugal, including density, growth rates, pyramid, etc.

It is very easy to open a bank account in Portugal

Opening a bank account in Portugal, whether you are a resident or not, is very easy and fast and requires only basic documentation. In comparison with the other countries of the European Union, Portugal is one of those that offer the most simplified account opening process for foreigners.

Access to ATM

As we have already said, Multibanco is the Portuguese payment system and ATMs, and access to it will make your life in the country much easier. This system is accepted by all card machines and will allow free withdrawals at ATMs, where you can also recharge your phone, pay bills and even buy tickets for shows.

Pay bills without fees

If you open a Portuguese bank account, you will avoid credit card charges for paying bills and utilities.

It is useful for establishing residence

Opening a bank account in Portugal can also help you in the long term if you want to establish permanent residence in the country. This means that you can receive a residence card from the Portuguese authorities, and this can make it a lot easier when renting or buying an apartment, for example.

Necessary for those who wish to immigrate with a Gold Visa

If you plan to make commercial or real estate investments in Portugal to qualify for a Gold visa, you will need to do so through a local bank account. The purpose of this visa is to attract immigrants with money to invest in the country, offering a residence visa and also tax benefits for participants.

Millennium bcp branch in Calheta, Madeira

How to open a bank account in Portugal?

Step 1: prepare your documents

As in any other country, you will need to bring some basic documentation to the bank you choose when opening an account. These documents include:

  • Proof of address
  • Telephone number with SMS enabled (preferably a Portuguese number, but not required)
  • Identification document (passport is the best option)
  • TIN (Portuguese tax identification number)

To obtain the Portuguese TIN, it is necessary to drive to a Loja do Cidadão or to a service store of Finance of the Tax and Customs Authority of the Government of Portugal. Under normal conditions, this can be done by the person who will be the holder of the number or by a duly authorized representative. Check out more information about this on the page of the Consulate General of Portugal.

Step 2: decide what you want from your bank

Some of the most popular banks in Portugal are:

  • General cash deposits
  • New Bank
  • BPI (Banco Português de Investimento)
  • Banco Santander Totta
  • Millenium bcp
  • Activobank
  • Banco CTT

At the top of your list of priorities when choosing the best bank for you, the availability of branches and ATMs of the bank of interest in the region / city / neighborhood where you will live in Portugal must be taken into account. Also check their opening hours.

Once again, however, the almost “omnipresence” of ATMs will make your life a lot easier. When withdrawing, for example, you may not find a branch of your bank nearby, but you will certainly find an ATM.

Step 3: Choose an account type

Each bank offers several types of accounts, with slightly different objectives, resources and maintenance fees and services (some even without fees). Therefore, the type of account you choose will depend basically on your needs.

For students, for example, it is easy to find free accounts with no maintenance fees, even for exchange students. Activobank is one of the best options in this segment. If your intention is to set up a business there, it may be more interesting to look for a bank with extra extras for commercial accounts, such as BPI or Santander. In such cases there may also be free counts, but, in general, Portuguese banks charge monthly fees.

Step 4: open and fund your account

In most Portuguese banks, an initial deposit is required to open an account. You can take money to the bank to deposit or transfer from another account while you are at the branch. This value varies, but is usually between 200 and 300 euros.

Opening a bank account in Portugal as a non-resident

There are also options to open traditional bank accounts in Portugal without proof of residence or even without actually living in the country. In this case, the best options are Activobank and CTT, which is a bank operated by the Portuguese postal service.

Common questions

Do I need official proof of residence or visa to open a bank account in Portugal?

No, you will only need your TIN, as long as you can provide an address in Portugal to receive future correspondence. If you provide an address in Brazil, you will need proof of address and your CPF or CNPJ (which is the equivalent of the TIN here).

Can I open an account with a Portuguese bank without being in the country or online?

Yes, you can, but through a representative. That person can also, preferably, help you organize your TIN (which is essential to open the account).

Can I get a credit card in Portugal?

Yes, all banks offer credit cards, as long as the customer has a work contract or a proven income.

Can non-residents open a bank account in Portugal?

Yes. All you need is a representative to resolve your TIN and open the account on your behalf. It is not necessary to have proof of address in the country.