How to Open a Portuguese Bank Account (Including Online Options) – Portugalist (2023)

Bordr.io have a bank account opening service, which can be done online. This costs €350 (or €340 for Portugalist readers).

Discount applied automatically (no code needed).

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If you’re planning on living in Portugal, you will most likely need a current account with a Portuguese bank for day-to-day living. While it is possible to pay some bills from a foreign bank account using IBAN, in Portugal bills are normally paid using the native Multibanco system and this is only available with a bank account from a Portuguese bank. So, if you have utility bills or a mobile phone contract, you’ll most likely need a Portuguese bank. And, if you’re moving to Portugal on a residency visa such as the D7, you may need to show evidence of a funded Portuguese bank account before moving here. It’s also worth noting that many shops won’t allow you to pay by card unless the card is from a Portuguese bank.

This article covers how you can open an account

  1. If you’re opening a bank account from abroad
  2. If you’re opening a bank account from within Portugal

Contents

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Opening an account from abroad

For whatever reason you may want to open a bank account from outside of Portugal as a non-resident (someone who doesn’t officially live in Portugal).

The most common reason is that more and more consulates are asking people moving to Portugal to have a Portuguese bank account before they move to Portugal in order to get their visa approved. If you’re applying for a Portuguese residency visa (such as the D7) this may be something that you come up against.Unfortunately, it seems to need to be a Portuguese bank account and not just a Euro bank account like those offered by Wise, Revolut, or N26. Another reason is if you’re buying a Portuguese property as a non-resident and aren’t able to come to Portugal to open the bank account.

So just how do you open a Portuguese bank account remotely? The most common way is through a lawyer.

Bordr.io offers this service for €350 (€10 discount when you use the code PORTUGALIST) and will open the account with Millenium BCP, one of the most popular, prevalent, and most recommended banks in Portugal. If you need a NIF as well you can get the two for €450 (saving you €50). The turnaround time is 3-4 weeks.

E-Residence offers a similar service, opening a bank account with Novo Banco, which is another of the main banks in Portugal. At €300, the service is slightly cheaper. The turnaround time is a similar 3-4 weeks.

Bordr and E-residence are not the only companies that offers this service; most relocation companies will offer this as a service in some form or other.

Do you need to get both the NIF and the bank account? It depends. If you’re coming to Portugal on a scouting trip before putting in your visa application, you could get the NIF and then open the bank account while you’re in Portugal. If you aren’t coming to Portugal before, you’ll more than likely need to get a lawyer or relocation company to remotely open a bank account on your behalf.

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If you decide to go down the lawyer route, check which bank they offer accounts with and make sure that bank has branches where you’re likely to live. It’s also worth comparing prices against other lawyers and relocation companies as prices can vary considerably.

There is actually a DIY option that doesn’t require you to go through a lawyer.

Most Portuguese banks won’t allow you to open a bank account online if you’re not a resident yet, but one exception is Atlantico. This isn’t a very well-known bank, and you won’t find branches throughout Portugal, but many people moving to Portugal have used it to meet the residency visa requirements. To open an account with Atlantico, you’ll need to download the MyAtlantico app, submit the required documents, and then do a video interview to confirm your identity. Once you’ve completed the interview there can be a long waiting process waiting for your account to be opened, but at least this option can be done remotely.The account opening service also isn’t available in every country.

If you are a resident already, you’ll have more options e.g. Novo Banco allows you to open an account online.

Finally, there’s one more option, depending on where you live. Some Portuguese banks have branches outside of Portugal and many people have been able to open a Portuguese bank account this way.

Millennium BCP, for example, has a branch in London which many UK residents have visited in order to open an account without visiting Portugal. You will most likely need a NIF in order to do this, although some people have said the bank offered them a ‘temporary NIF’ in order to bypass this requirement.

Opening an account in Portugal

If you’re already physically in Portugal, even if you’re just visiting, you can open a bank by visiting your nearest branch. You don’t always need to be resident to do this; you can open a bank account as a non-resident as well.

You will normally need:

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  • A NIF number (there’s a whole article on NIFs, if you’re not sure what this is)
  • A Portuguese mobile phone number(not always required, but it may be needed for login codes)
  • ID such as a passport or European ID card or Residency card (if resident in Portugal)
  • Proof of address such as utility bills (gas or electric or a mobile phone contract)
  • Proof of income – Payslips (that ideally state your profession) or a letter of employment for employees, pension slips for pensioners, and a tax return for the self-employed
  • Initial deposit – many banks require an initial deposit, which is usually around €250

Some banks may ask you for your recent payslips or proof of earnings. It’s a strange requirement that some Portuguese banks have. If you’re a pensioner, your pension slips should suffice and if you’re self-employed, show your most recent tax returns.

Which bank is best?

ActivoBank, which mainly has branches in Lisbon and Porto, is one of the most recommended because it doesn’t have maintenance charges. Millennium isn’t free, but is usually recommended and has branches throughout the country.

In fact, most mainstream banks in Portugal aren’t free. With the exception of Activobank, banking generally isn’t completely free in Portugal. However, it’s worth noting that most banks offer a basic bank account or conta de serviços mínimos bancários. This may not be advertised, and the person at the bank may not suggest it, but if you ask for it, they should provide it. As a basic bank account provides a debit card, online banking, and direct debits, it’s more than most people need. The Bank of Portugal sets a maximum annual fee for basic bank accounts which, in 2022, was no more than €4.35.

When choosing a bank there are a few things to consider:

  • Does this bank have branches where I’m going to live (if you don’t know yet, pick somewhere with a lot of branches like Millenium)?
  • Does this bank offer other products (like credit cards, health insurance, savings accounts, and mortgages)?
  • Do the staff seem friendly and is there someone there that speaks my language?
  • What are the maintenance charges and other costs (a monthly charge is a fact of life with many current accounts, but usually isn’t more than around €7.50 per month)

Besides Millenium and Activobank, a few other banks include:

Online/App-based banks

  • Moey (a Portuguese version of Revolut or N26)

Free Euro bank accounts

If you’re just staying in Portugal for a short amount of time, it may make sense to get some form of Euro bank account. This is useful for holding money in Euros and withdrawing those Euros without getting charged.

A free bank account, like the one offered by Activobank, could be ideal for this. Alternatively, many people find that N26 and Revolut are fine for day-to-day transactions (although some shops won’t accept non-Portuguese bank cards) and cash withdrawals.There are plenty of app-based accounts like:

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  • N26
  • Revolut
  • Wise (previously Transferwise)
  • Bunq (not free, but cheap)

Note: Some of these banks have a limit on the number of free withdrawals they offer per month. This is typically around €200 per month or three withdrawals. For some people this may be enough, but others may need to combine several free Euro bank accounts.

FAQs

Can you open Portuguese bank account online? ›

Most Portuguese banks require you to open a bank account in person, though some allow you to carry out the process online. Some traditional banks might allow you to start the sign-up process online, but require you to stop by a physical branch before finally opening the account.

How much money do you need to open a bank account in Portugal? ›

Initial deposit to open the account, typically €250 (in the case of Millennium BCP and ActivoBank. You can transfer this sum from your existing bank account into your new Portuguese one to activate it. Portuguese phone number. Many banks require you to activate the account using an SMS.

What is the best bank to open an account in Portugal? ›

The best Portuguese bank is Caixa Geral de Depositos. It also is the largest and the only public bank in the country. The Banker magazine included Caixa Geral de Depositos in the top 200 world banks. The best among private banks are Millennium BCP, Novobanco, Banco Santander Totta, and Banco Português de Investimento.

What is the best bank for foreigners in Portugal? ›

What are the best banks in Portugal for expats?
  • Millennium BCP. The Millennium BCP bank is the largest bank in the country and has been around for over three decades. ...
  • Caixa Geral de Depositos. This is one of the oldest banks in Portugal. ...
  • Novo Banco. ...
  • Banco BPI. ...
  • Obtain a NIF number. ...
  • Moey (from Caixa Agrícola) ...
  • Wise. ...
  • N26.
26 Apr 2022

How long does it take to open a bank account in Portugal? ›

Once you have completed the application and submitted the necessary documents, the process is complete and your account is open. The whole thing usually takes around 20-30 minutes. You will receive any credit, debit, or cash cards associated with the account within a few days.

Can I open a bank account online while abroad? ›

Citizens of any country can remotely open a bank account abroad electronically. This allows them to save time and money on flights, and sometimes on courier expenses if the bank accepts documents submitted online.

Can I open a bank account online if I live abroad? ›

You can open an account from your home country, so you don't have to fly to the US to set it up beforehand. Most banks even have web services that will let you set up a bank account online. Some of the top banks with a wide international presence in the US and beyond include HSBC, Charles Schwab, and Citibank.

Can I open an account remotely? ›

Remote account opening is the act of opening a bank account at a bank without physically showing up in-person. There are several remote account opening methods you can use, including online applications, virtual meetings, alternate locations, and more.

Can you live in Portugal on $2000 a month? ›

It would be a fair estimate to say between $1,500-2,000 a month will provide you with a comfortable life in smaller towns of Portugal. The monthly expenditure will climb to $2,000-2,200 for larger cities like Porto or Lisbon.

How much monthly income do you need to live in Portugal? ›

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Portugal? Compared to other European countries, Portugal is one of the most affordable. A couple with a mid-range income will be able to live comfortably in Portugal's interior cities for around €1,700 per month. A couple in Lisbon can live on around €2,000 per month.

How much is a deposit in Portugal? ›

A 20 percent Deposit. For a Portuguese mortgage, you will generally need a minimum deposit of 20% of the property's price, because the borrowing varies from 60% to 80% of the price or valuation price, depending on the lender, with loans available at a variable rate or fixed rate basis.

Which country is the easiest to open a bank account? ›

Generally, Belize is considered one of the easiest countries to have a bank account. The reason behind the popularity of Belize is its stability. To begin with, Belize's offshore banking system is among the most stable in the world based on its liquidity rates.

Can I open a Santander account in Portugal? ›

Some banks in Portugal require you to visit a branch in person, but it's certainly possible to open an account online. For example, you can open the Santander Account with Mundo 123 entirely online, using your computer or mobile device³.

Is Santander Portugal a good bank? ›

Santander Totta has been named 'Best Bank in Portugal' by American magazine Global Finance. The vote came in the magazine's annual 'World's Best Banks in Developed and Emerging Markets' awards.

How much cash can I deposit in Portugal? ›

There is a maximum limit of €3,000 for cash transactions in Portugal.

What international banks are in Portugal? ›

Best Banks in Portugal
  • Caixa Geral de Depósitos.
  • Millenium BCP.
  • Novo Banco.
  • Banco BPI.
  • Banco Santander Totta.

How much do you need to invest in Portugal to get residency? ›

You can qualify for residency by investing €280,000 which is one of the lowest investment thresholds in Europe, You don't have to move to Portugal to keep your residence permit. Staying in the country for seven days on average per year will suffice, You can be eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship in five years.

What are required to open a bank account? ›

  • Passport,
  • Driving Licence,
  • Proof of possession of Aadhaar Number,
  • Voter's Identity Card issued by Election Commission of India,
  • Job card issued by NREGA duly signed by an officer of the State Government,
  • Letter issued by the National Population Register containing details of name and address.
16 Jul 2022

How do I get a Portuguese NIF number? ›

4 ways to get a taxpayer number in Portugal
  1. In person at the Portuguese tax office, Finanças or Loja do Cidadão. You can find the nearest branch and check the opening hours on the Portuguese government website. ...
  2. By email. ...
  3. Through a tax representative. ...
  4. Through a friend in Portugal.

How long does opening a bank account online take? ›

Applying for a bank account online is quick, easy and secure – it takes just 5 to 10 minutes to open a bank account. Before staring, you need to decide whether you're opening a joint bank account or an individual bank account. You also need to decide which type of checking account will best serve your needs.

What is the best international online bank? ›

Here are NerdWallet's picks for best banks for international travel:
  • Charles Schwab Bank: Best for using ATMs.
  • Capital One 360: Best on foreign transaction fees.
  • HSBC Bank: Best for expats with high balances.
  • Citibank: Best for wiring money.
  • Revolut: Best for nonbank multicurrency account.
19 Aug 2022

Which country is best for offshore account? ›

Singapore 🇸🇬

This is the best offshore banking country for high-net-worth individuals. Singapore has a reputation for being a safe and stable country for wealthy people to store their assets. Singapore banks offer a wide range of wealth management services.

Can I open a European bank account online? ›

You can create a free account online in minutes, which gives you your own Euro bank account details to receive Euros for free. With a TransferWise account your money will always be converted at the mid-market exchange rate, making them up to 8 times cheaper than banks for managing your money overseas.

How do I set up an international bank account online? ›

These include your country of origin, your bank of choice, your intended use of the account, and other factors. In general, however, you can expect to present the following documents when opening a bank account online: Your passport or valid government-issued ID; Proof of address in your home country.

Can I open a bank account while living in another country? ›

We're here to help!

Fortunately, opening a bank account in a foreign country is totally possible — and totally legal, as long as you're not doing so for tax evasion purposes. However, it may take a few more steps than opening a domestic account would.

Can I open a bank account without proof of address? ›

Proof of address and identity are usually needed to open a current account. This can prove a particular problem if you've been living abroad or have no credit history. If you're unable to open a current account, a basic bank account could still be an option. Prepaid cards can also often be used like a bank account.

Can I open an account by phone? ›

And, you can do the same right from your phone if you ever need to do so. If you want to get started with mobile banking, you might think that you need to visit a bank to open an account and set everything up. However, many banks now offer the ability to open a new account from your phone.

Can I open a bank account without going in person? ›

You can apply online for a checking account, savings account, CD or IRA. Simply select an account, enter your personal information, verify your information and choose features & funding options.

Which countries allow non residents to open bank account? ›

Here are 5 of the Best Countries to Open Offshore Bank Accounts In.
  • Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands have a reputation for being a tax haven for all people across the globe. ...
  • Switzerland. Switzerland banking entities actually offer ironclad confidentiality services to their clients. ...
  • Singapore. ...
  • Belize.
6 Mar 2022

What is the cheapest part of Portugal to live in? ›

Get to know some of the cheapest cities to live in Portugal
  1. Castelo Branco. The city of Castelo Branco is located in central Portugal, near the Spanish border. ...
  2. Santarém. ...
  3. Viseu. ...
  4. Viana do Castelo. ...
  5. Figueira da Foz. ...
  6. Ponta Delgada. ...
  7. Alcobaça. ...
  8. Évora.

How much tax do you pay in Portugal? ›

Residents in Portugal for tax purposes are taxed on their worldwide income at progressive rates varying from 14.5% to 48% for 2022.

Is it cheaper to live in Spain or Portugal? ›

On average, the cost of living in Spain is 4.3% more expensive than in Portugal, with Spain being cheaper on average for public transport and grocery costs.

Is electricity expensive in Portugal? ›

Portugal, March 2022: The price of electricity is 0.235 U.S. Dollar per kWh for households and 0.236 U.S. Dollar for businesses which includes all components of the electricity bill such as the cost of power, distribution and taxes.

How much do you need to retire in Portugal per year? ›

Portugal has a very low cost of living. This means that your retirement will be comfortable in Portugal with that savings. A retired couple can live comfortably in Portugal for $1,500-2,000 per month.

Are ATMS free in Portugal? ›

Can I withdraw cash in Portugal for free? Yes, if you have an account with a Portuguese bank that uses the Multibanco ATM network. This doesn't apply to most tourists, though, so keep in mind that most cards from outside Portugal will incur a fee.

Can I get residency in Portugal if I buy a house? ›

Buying property in Portugal allows you to acquire a Portugal residence permit, as long as you stay in the country for a minimum of 14 days each two years. That means you can buy a property in Portugal and get residency. Moreover, you may apply for citizenship and an EU passport five years after obtaining residency.

Can you live in Portugal on $1000 a month? ›

Can you live in Portugal on $1000 a month? Yes, if you live frugally, you should be able to live on $1000 a month in Portugal. However, it may not be possible if you live in Lisbon as costs are increasing and rental costs are now quite high. If you want to live comfortably in the country, we would recommend €1,200.

Is there an HSBC bank in Portugal? ›

Banks in Portugal

HSBC has a notable worldwide presence, including in Portugal.

What bank is easiest to join? ›

The 8 Easiest Banks To Join
  • TD Bank. ...
  • United Bank. ...
  • Synchrony. ...
  • Chase Bank. ...
  • Axos Bank. ...
  • Ally. ...
  • Wells Fargo. In addition to the basic info, Wells Fargo requires new members to make an opening deposit of just $25. ...
  • Online Features Make Everything Simpler. All of the banks that make the easiest-to-join list tout online banking features.
24 Jan 2022

Can I open Portuguese bank account online? ›

If you are a non-resident but have a NIF number (Portuguese tax number), you can open your account online. In this case, you're required to do a video call with the bank after you submit your documents. The list below offers the best online banks you can use to open your bank account.

How much does it cost to open a Santander bank account? ›

Compare Santander Checking Accounts
AccountSantander Select® CheckingSantander® Basic Checking
Minimum opening deposit$25$25
ATM withdrawal fee (domestic non-Santander ATM)2$0$3
Free Paperless Statements?YesYes
Paper Statement Fee$0$3
7 more rows

Is N26 a Portuguese bank? ›

Founded in February 2013, N26 is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. Initially available only in some European countries, N26 started offering US-based accounts in July 2019. The mobile-only bank already has more than 500,000 customers across Europe, and an estimated 1,500 new accounts opening every day.

What is the best bank for foreigners in Portugal? ›

What are the best banks in Portugal for expats?
  • Millennium BCP. The Millennium BCP bank is the largest bank in the country and has been around for over three decades. ...
  • Caixa Geral de Depositos. This is one of the oldest banks in Portugal. ...
  • Novo Banco. ...
  • Banco BPI. ...
  • Obtain a NIF number. ...
  • Moey (from Caixa Agrícola) ...
  • Wise. ...
  • N26.
26 Apr 2022

What documents do I need to open a bank account in Portugal? ›

What do you need to open a Portugese bank account? Gather up the following documents: valid photo ID (passport), proof of address (a utility bill), proof of employment (a pay slip or work contract), and your NIF number. If you're opening a non-resident bank account, bring proof of your foreign address.

How much money do you need to open a bank account in Portugal? ›

Initial deposit to open the account, typically €250 (in the case of Millennium BCP and ActivoBank. You can transfer this sum from your existing bank account into your new Portuguese one to activate it. Portuguese phone number. Many banks require you to activate the account using an SMS.

› how-open-bank-account-portugal ›

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Can a foreigner open a bank account in Portugal? ›

Yes, you can open a bank account in Portugal as a foreigner. For most banks, setting up a Portuguese bank account requires a visit to a branch. If your bank allows you to open an account online, you are still expected to visit the branch in person to finalize the process.

Can I open a bank account online if I live abroad? ›

You can open an account from your home country, so you don't have to fly to the US to set it up beforehand. Most banks even have web services that will let you set up a bank account online. Some of the top banks with a wide international presence in the US and beyond include HSBC, Charles Schwab, and Citibank.

Can I open a bank account online while abroad? ›

Citizens of any country can remotely open a bank account abroad electronically. This allows them to save time and money on flights, and sometimes on courier expenses if the bank accepts documents submitted online.

Can I open a bank account online as a foreigner? ›

In most cases, a non-U.S. citizen cannot open an account online. Instead, you'd need to visit a branch for a bank or credit union to open an account. Santander Bank, for example, accepts online applications only from U.S. residents or resident aliens who have a Social Security number or ITIN.

Can you open a bank account with just a passport? ›

This could be a valid: Government issued photo ID or driver's license. Social Security Card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Passport or Birth Certificate.

Which country is the easiest to open a bank account? ›

Generally, Belize is considered one of the easiest countries to have a bank account. The reason behind the popularity of Belize is its stability. To begin with, Belize's offshore banking system is among the most stable in the world based on its liquidity rates.

What international banks are in Portugal? ›

Some international banks in Portugal are:
  • Abanca.
  • Barclays.
  • BBVA.
  • BNP Paribas.
  • Citibank.
  • Credit Agricole.
  • Deutsche Bank.

What is the best international online bank? ›

Here are NerdWallet's picks for best banks for international travel:
  • Charles Schwab Bank: Best for using ATMs.
  • Capital One 360: Best on foreign transaction fees.
  • HSBC Bank: Best for expats with high balances.
  • Citibank: Best for wiring money.
  • Revolut: Best for nonbank multicurrency account.
19 Aug 2022

What are the countries that I can open a bank account without residency? ›

What is this? The good news is that, in some countries, like Lithuania, Poland and Bulgaria, you can easily open a bank account without being a resident. In some cases, all you need to provide is your passport. In other cases, you will need to provide a proof of residency from your country.

Which bank is best for foreigners? ›

Every immigrant-friendly bank is going to offer something different, and there is no single “best bank in the US for foreigners.” But here are our top selections: Best intro bonus: Chase Total Checking® Best for frequent travel: Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account. Best mobile bank: Varo Money.

Which country is best for offshore account? ›

Singapore 🇸🇬

This is the best offshore banking country for high-net-worth individuals. Singapore has a reputation for being a safe and stable country for wealthy people to store their assets. Singapore banks offer a wide range of wealth management services.

Can I open a bank account with a passport from another country? ›

You may use a valid passport, other government-issued ID from your home country, or the alien identification number from a green card, work visa, or student ID. You'll have to bring originals, though, because photocopies are not accepted.

Can I open a bank account remotely? ›

You can open a bank account online with online banks as well as with national, brick-and-mortar financial institutions. Some regional credit unions and banks also allow you to open an account online.

What documents do I need to open a bank account? ›

Acceptable Forms of ID for Banks
  1. Driver's license.
  2. REAL ID card.
  3. DoD ID card (also known as Department of Defense ID Card)
  4. Passport/Passport card.
  5. Social security card.
  6. Birth certificate.

How do I open a bank account while living abroad? ›

To open a bank account as a non-resident, you'll usually need the following documents¹: Proof of address with contact information and personal details. Two forms of ID — Passport and government-issued ID or valid driver's license. Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

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