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

So want to Open a bank account in Portugal? Well regardless of the fact whether you are planning to move to Portugal, have just arrived in the country
Ketcha Brandon
Open A Bank Account in Portugal

Portugal is a European country that boast of an excellent quality of life, a sunny beach culture, seafood, charming architecture and football legends.

I guess it should be no big surprise to discover that Portugal is the best voted  destinations for expats on the entire globe.

Portugal is a country that is also popular for its natural wonders, island paradises and cosmopolitan cities which attract many people around the world. Portugal is also one of the best affordable countries where one can live in Europe.

So want to Open a bank account in Portugal? Well regardless of the fact whether you are planning to move to Portugal, have just arrived in the country or are simply looking to open an account there from your home country, it is possible for you to open a bank account in Portugal even though you will encounter several challenges especially as a non resident.

But the good news is that opening a bank account in Portugal is a relatively straight forward process as compared to many other countries around the world. Most banks in Portugal do not require proof of address from those wishing to open a bank account in the country.

In thus article, I will sail you through the basics of opening a bank account online in Portugal, alongside what your best banking options are in the country so stay glued to your reading as we move on.

Table of Contents

Overview of Banking in Portugal

Since Portugal is among the top European nations, it is of no doubt that its banking system is modern and interconnected. Since November 2021, about 70 banks are operating in Portugal and most of thise banks are connected via Multibanco - which is actually an interbank payments system, ATM network, and point of sales payment system.

Banks in Portugal are regulated and Licensed by the Banco de Portugal (Bank of Portugal) thus meaning that they are also recognized by the Central Bank and approved across the European Union.

There is no law in Portugal that states that it is an obligation to have a bank account before living in Portugal but because of the way in which the country's economy is digitalized ( mostly card payments and bank transfers) it could be very challenging to carryout your day-to-day transactions in the country without a bank account.

Since Portugal is a member of the Eurozone, this means that they make use of the Euro as currency and therefore all transactions processed by Portuguese banks are carried out in that currency.

Banking Fees in Portugal

Before you want to open a bank account with any bank in Portugal, it is necessary to make sure that you have read their terms and conditions so as to know how things are made in the bank alongside the laws of the bank. This is very important especially when you want to open a bank account in a new country.

There exist several bank charges at each bank but some of the common bank charges that you will find with banks in Portugal include ATM cash withdrawals, bank maintenance fees, debit and credit card fees, and cash transfer fees are all examples of fees. Make sure to open a bank account with a bank that offers the best products and charges the lowest fees.

ALSO READ: How to Open A Bank Account in Belgium [Complete Guide]

What Do you need to Open A Bank Account in Portugal ?

Just like several other countries, the paperwork and requirements can a little differ from bank to bank, but below are the basic documents that almost banks in Portugal will request from you incase you want to open a bank account with them:

  • A valid identification like for example your ID Card, passport, residence permit and many others
  • Proof of employment or income
  • A proof of address in Portugal or abroad
  • Completed application form
  • Tax number known as NIF
  • Portuguese phone number for SMS activation

Aside Resident and non resident individuals, banks in Portugal also allows entrepreneurs to set up a bank account in their name if and only if they have a residence permit.

Types of Bank Accounts in Portugal

Generally, opening a bank account in Portugal means opening a current account that comes with a debit and credit card or more comprehensive banking packages and financial services. Below are the types of accounts that you will find common to all banks in Portugal:

Conta Corrente

This Portuguese type of account is known as a current account or checking account in the English speaking world and this type of bank account is mostly used to carryout cashless payments and to finance day to day transactions.

Conta Poupanca

This is a basic savings account where funds can be deposited and stored for a long period of time and also this type of account often comes with a card to process withdrawals and cashless transactions.

Conta de deposito a prazo

This "time deposit accounts" provide a more specialized type of Savings account that allows funds to be deposited while restricting withdrawals and working some interest.

As it is the case with of most of the banks around the world, Portuguese banks also provide other financial products and services in addition to the main ones previously listed above. Loans, mortgages, overdrafts, insurance, business banking, trading, and other services fall into this category.

Similarly, alongside standard account packages, Portuguese banks typically offer debit cards (cartos de débito), credit cards (cartes de crédito), and prepaid cards (cartes pré-pagos) to new clients.

These cards are typically valid for free withdrawals from most ATMs in Portugal (most of which belong to the Multibanco network). Cash withdrawals outside of Portugal, on the other hand, are usually subject to high fees (sometimes as high as 4.00 percent per transaction).

ALSO READ: Transfer Money from Greenlight Card to Bank Account

Do you Need a Bank Account in Portugal?

As earlier said in this article, it is not a legal obligation for you to own a bank account in Portugal and it is even possible for you to manage your finances from an overseas or offshore bank account.

Everyone who works abroad, spends a lot of time in more than one country, or regularly makes international transfers will find it particularly helpful to have an offshore bank account as it will greatly ease your transactions.

As the name implies, offshore accounts are located outside the holder's country of residence and often offer distinct advantages such as wider range of cross border services and lower taxation on funds.

So having a bank account in Portugal will simply make your life much more easier if you have relocated to the country for long term as it will help you save up time and money alongside managing your day-to-day finances.

How to Open A Bank Account in Portugal

Once you are already in possession of the necessary documents as seen above, the next things that you will have to do is to choose the bank suits you the most and we recommend you to take a deep look at the list of the best banks in Portugal that you will find below.

After you have already decided on your bank of choice, the next step is to choose the type of account while mostly taking into consideration the current account since it will fit in to help you manage and carryout your daily transactions.

You can also choose to open a bank account with an online bank as there are numerous online banking options in Portugal. Do not forget that you can also open a bank account in Portugal even as a non resident.

Best Banks in Portugal

Majority of the banks in Portugal are either international or national and they offer a wide range of products. Below are some of the banks in Portugal that you can consider opening a bank account with once you arrive Portugal or still planning to go.

1. Novo Banco

Novo Banco is one of Portugal's leading banks even though it was established in the year 2014 by the Bank of Portugal and is today widely available across the country. You do not require a proof of residence to apply for an account with this bank.

If you are in the search of a retails banking option for both residents and non resident then Novo Banco is the best option for you. They charged normal fees and they are experienced working with foreigners.

The information that you will find on their website is in the Portuguese Language and incase you have a friend or family member that understands it better, you can request the person to assists you.

2. BBVA

BBVA is also among the best banks in Portugal having an Online application process and also offering their customers with products similar to those of several other banks.

3. Bankinter

Bankinter is a big bank since the time it got Barclay's Portuguese operations.

4. Millennium BCP

Millennium BCP is one of Portugal's largest private banks. It has a diverse product line that is available in both English and Portuguese.

The majority of banks offer online banking. Some banks, however, have information on their websites in either English or Portuguese. If you don't speak Portuguese, see if online services are available in English.

It should be noted that most banks close at 3:30 p.m. on weekdays, with some remaining closed all weekend.

5. Caixa Geral de Depositas - CGD

Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) is Portugal's state-owned bank and the country's second largest. It provides the following banking services to expats, though proof of residence in Portugal is required to open an account: Commercial and investments banking and specialized credit.

Is it Possible to Open A Bank Account in Portugal as a Non Resident?

Yes! Most of the banks in Portugal provide international accounts for non residents even though the accounts come with some limitations.

Thus a before opening a bank account as a non resident, it is necessary that you first of all enquire much information about that bank so that you can better select which bank can offer you the best products you need.

Bank Account for Children in Portugal

Most of the banks in Portugal provide children and young people with specific accounts but this will often be Junior Savings or investment accounts.

Incase you desire to open any type of Portuguese bank account for your child, you will often need to do this at a bank branch showing up with your child and the required ID for both you and your child.

Should it be the case that your child is not able to attend the appointment, you might still be able to open the bank account on their behalf provided that you show the required paperwork.

The exact procedure varies depending on the bank and the type of account you want to open, so call ahead if you're unsure.

Most junior accounts require the parent or guardian to be legally responsible for the account until the account holder reaches the age of 18.

Final Thoughts on How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal

So want to Open a bank account in Portugal? Well regardless of the fact whether you are planning to move to Portugal, have just arrived in the country or are simply looking to open an account there from your home country, it is possible for you to open a bank account in Portugal even though you will encounter several challenges especially as a non resident.

But the good news is that opening a bank account in Portugal is a relatively straight forward process as compared to many other countries around the world. Most banks in Portugal do not require proof of address from those wishing to open a bank account in the country.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal

How do I open a bank account in Portugal from abroad?

The documents you need for opening a bank account in Portugal are the proof of address in Portugal, a mobile phone number with activated SMS, ID number (passport, etc.), and NIF (tax identification number).

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

The whole thing usually takes around 20-30 minutes..

Can a foreigner open bank account in Portugal?

Foreigners may open a bank account in Portugal, either as a resident or a non-resident. Non-resident accounts require more documentation and can have more restrictions than a resident account, but this is an option if you don't have an address in Portugal yet.

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