How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal [Complete Process]

This article compiles a step by step process to open a bank account in Portugal as resident, non-resident or foreigner.
open bank account in portugal

If you've decided to make your home in sunny Portugal, make it official by opening a bank account there. While having a Portuguese bank account isn't legally needed, it will make it easier to pay taxes, get paid by a Portuguese firm, and acquire permanent residency.

Natural beauties, proximity to African tourist destinations, island paradises, and cosmopolitan cities all entice individuals from all walks of life to study, live, and retire in Portugal.

Opening a bank account in Portugal is one of the first actions you'll need to do to establish yourself within its borders, whether you're planning to move there or you've just arrived.

The process, on the other hand, can be a little confusing for newcomers but with this guide, you will surely find your way.

Banking System in Portugal

More than 150 banks, including multinational banks, private domestic banks, regional banks, and online banks, are located in Portugal. When you're looking into your possibilities, make sure to compare the fees at each school. Look into whether there is a monthly fee or a price for using a debit card.

Banks frequently charge fees for using ATMs outside of their own branches, so make sure your bank has lots of them—or allows free withdrawals from outside ATMs—before you commit.

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What Type of Bank Account Should I Open in Portugal?

Traditional Portuguese banks provide three different types of bank accounts. They are as follows:

  • Current Account — In Portugal, this is the most prevalent bank account. This account can be used for everyday purchases, ATM withdrawals, utility payments, and so forth. Many banks provide specialized current accounts, such as student and non-resident accounts, each with its own bunch of advantages.
  • Instant-access Savings Account — A savings account can help you stay on track with your savings goals while in Portugal. This type of account pays greater interest rates while still allowing you to withdraw money quickly if necessary.
  • Time-deposit Accounts — This kind of savings account pays higher interest rates, but the funds must be kept in the account for a certain amount of time.
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What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Portugal?

Foreigners, both residents and non-residents, can open a bank account in Portugal. Non-resident accounts require more verification and may be subject to more limitations than resident accounts, although they are an option if you do not yet have a Portuguese address.

The first step, regardless of the option you choose, is to obtain your Portuguese NIF number, or "Nmero de Identificaço Fiscal." The NIF, which is issued by the Portuguese tax administration, is a requirement when relocating to Portugal. To pay taxes, acquire a phone contract, and, of course, create a bank account, you'll need this number. Bring your passport and proof of address to your local tax office to acquire your NIF number.

How Old do you have to be to Open a Bank Account in Portugal?

You must be 18 years old to open your own bank account in Portugal.  Many banks, however, provide junior bank accounts for children. Even though these accounts will be in your name, you'll need a parent or guardian to co-sign because they will be legally responsible for the account until you reach the age of 18.

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What Documents do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Portugal?

While some Portuguese banks let you to open an account online, the majority of them need you to visit a physical location. Nonetheless, the procedure is straightforward, and the essential paperwork are simple to obtain. Although the paperwork you require may vary depending on the bank you choose, in general, they are as follows:

  • Proof of Identification (e.g.; a passport would be sufficient)
  • Proof of address (e.g.; a recent utility bill or letter received in the last three months with your visible name and address)
  • Portuguese NIF Number
  • Proof of Income/Employment (e.g., recent payslip or an employment letter)
    • If you are not employed, you can still open an account, provided that you have proof of registration with the Portuguese employment center (Centro de Emprego) or you have a work contract assurance
  • Portuguese Phone Number for SMS Activation
  • Additionally, a deposit of € 250-300 in cash (typically asked for new accounts)
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Can I Open a Bank Account in Portugal as a Non-resident?

Banks in Portugal offer "international" accounts to foreigners who do not live in the country, although these accounts come with restrictions. It's essential to check with each bank to see what you can do with the account.

How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal as a Foreigner

Opening a bank account in Portugal as a foreigner shouldn't be much of a hassle. However, you will need to provide some documents to get your account ready. They are as follows:

  • Proof of income should ideally state your profession
  • Proof of address can be almost anything (sim card delivery note, foreign bank statement, customs forms)
  • Passport as ID
  • NIF document from Finanças
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How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal

The next stages should be simple once you've chosen a bank and gathered the appropriate documentation. If you want to use a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, simply bring your paperwork and the required minimum deposit in cash to your local branch. Although many bank personnel in Portugal know English, you should bring a Portuguese-speaking friend or translator with you just in case. Alternatively, phone ahead to confirm that someone who speaks English is on staff.

You'll be required to fill up some paperwork and, if your account has one, make a minimum deposit. Many banks will let you leave with your debit card in hand. You'll get your card in the mail if you're one of the lucky ones.

If you don't have all of the required documentation or don't fulfill the bank's criteria, your application may be denied. If your application is denied, contact the bank to see how the situation can be handled. If you run across a snag, you can file a complaint with the Banco de Portugal, the country's central bank.

How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal Online

Most banks in Portugal require you to open a bank account in person, while some may allow you to do so online. Some traditional banks will enable you to begin the sign-up process online, but you will need to visit a real location to complete the procedure.

If you go with a fully online bank, you'll be able to get standard banking services like money transfers and deposit insurance without ever having to visit a physical bank. Online banking may provide a lot of convenience by allowing you to view your finances or chat with a customer service representative from anywhere in the world.

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List of Banks in Portugal

It is simple to find an appropriate bank in Portugal for whatever needs you may have. The following are some examples of bank types:

  • Private national banks
  • International banks
  • Public retail banks
  • Regional cooperative banks
  • Investment banks
  • Savings banks

It's also worth noting that Portugal has an interbank network system called "Multibanco," which connects all of the country's banks through a single network. It has roughly 12,000 ATMs, and you may use them to withdraw money from any of your accounts without incurring any fees. You can also pay bills, taxes, and social security contributions, as well as transfer funds and top up your account.

The Best Banks in Portugal

You can find some decent banks in Portugal. International banks, on the other hand, will be mentioned. The following are Portugal's largest banks:

  • Caixa Geral de Depósitos
  • Millennium BCP
  • Novo Banco
  • Banco BPI
  • Banco Santander Totta

International Banks in Portugal

International banks can also be found in Portugal. Banks from Brazil, China, Angola, and other countries are among them. You may be allowed to use your local bank in Portugal if you are a resident or citizen of one of these countries. The following are some of the most well-known multinational banks in Portugal:

  • Abanca
  • Barclays
  • BBVA
  • BNP Paribas
  • Citibank
  • Credit Agricole
  • Deutsche Bank
  • ING Bank
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List of the Best Online Banks in Portugal

You can open an account online if you are a non-resident with an NIF number (Portuguese tax number). In this situation, after submitting your documents, you must do a video call with the bank. The following is a list of the top online banks to open a bank account with. With the following banks, you can easily open an account and conduct all of your transactions online:

  • ActivoBank
  • Banco N26
  • Caixa Geral de Depósitos
  • Millennium BCP
  • Novo Banco

If you're only going to be in Portugal for a short time, banks or fintech solutions like N26, Revolut, or Wise can be a smart option.

Investment Banks in Portugal

  • Banco Carregosa
  • BiG (Banco de Investimento Global)
  • Banco Finantia
  • Banco Invest
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What to Know When Banking in Portugal

International Money Transfers in Portugal

Banks in Portugal charge a fee for international money transfers. For more information about the costs, you can contact your bank. In most cases, there is no restriction to the amount of money that can be transferred.

If the value of the transfer exceeds €50.000, the central bank of Portugal, "Banco de Portugal," must be notified. Money transfers can take three to five days to complete. If you need to send money more quickly and at a lower cost, the following options may be useful:

Working Hours of Banks in Portugal

In general, banks in Portugal work between the hours of 8.30 and 15.00. There are a few banks open on Saturday mornings as well.

Bank branches at shopping malls are typically open till later hours.

Bank Fees in Portugal

The majority of banks in Portugal charge their customers a monthly fee for their accounts. A Portuguese bank account typically costs € 5-7 per month and € 60 per year. Charges apply to credit cards and overdrafts, and they vary depending on the card type, the bank, and other factors. Loans and mortgages are another expense. The Annual Percentage Rate determines these.

The bank charge for international money transfers is less than € 15 for quantities less than € 50.000, and it might be around € 30 or more for higher fees.

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When Refused a Bank Account

The Portuguese bank may reject your application if you do not meet the criteria or do not submit the relevant papers. If you believe there is an issue with this decision, you must either contact the bank's complaint department or file a complaint with Banco de Portugal, the central bank of Portugal.

Changing or Closing Bank Accounts

You must write to your bank or visit your branch in person in both circumstances. You can close or change your bank account after completing some paperwork.

When Your Card is Lost or Stolen

You must contact your Portuguese bank or credit card company. You can also phone +351 21416 9314 if you have a Multibanco card. If it's been taken, you should call the cops right away.

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Getting a NIF in Portugal

To open a bank account in Portugal, you must first obtain an NIF, or Nero de Identificaço Fiscal, as indicated among the required documents. A NIF number is required for numerous things, including opening a bank account. Getting a phone number, signing any contracts, and setting up utilities are just a few examples.

Fortunately, obtaining it is not difficult. All you have to do is go to Finanças, the tax authority.

Tax System in Portugal

In Portugal, there are various different types of taxes. Income tax, corporation tax, value-added tax (VAT), and social security are the most frequent.

If you dwell in Portugal for at least 183 days a year, you are considered a tax resident.

Member of SEPA & Currency is Euro

Despite all the rumors and speculations, the Euro, the European Union's shared currency, remains one of the world's most powerful currencies. The currency is used by 19 EU member states and ten additional countries.

The European Union's Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a payment-integration program. It facilitates Euro-denominated bank transfers. Fund transfers between EU countries are often free and as rapid as local transfers. Direct debit is also accepted throughout the Eurozone. As a result, you can easily utilize your Portuguese bank account throughout Europe.

CHECK ALSO: How to Open a SEPA Bank Account Online

Low Maintenance and Transaction Costs

The costs charged by Portuguese banks are often relatively competitive, depending on your bank of choice. Some banks in Portugal still do not charge maintenance fees or debit card fees. Activobank and Banco CTT are two of the banks available.

Standard transactions inside the Eurozone, such as ATM withdrawals and Euro transfers, are either free or have minimal fees.

Final Thoughts

Opening a bank account in Portugal is one of the first actions you'll need to do to establish yourself within its borders, whether you're planning to move there or you've just arrived.

You can open a bank account in Portugal as a resident or non-resident. The requirements shouldn't be hard to provide if you reside in the country. This guide compiles all you need to open a bank account in Portugal.

About the Author

Tebid Kelly is a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, Ethical Hacker, Programmer, and Content Creator who showcases his skills and experience on his blogs. He also has much love for finance apps such as Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, etc on which he ha…

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