A foreigner can open a bank account in Portugal quite easily. While opening a bank account is challenging in many other countries, doing so in Portugal as a non-resident is simple. To open an account, you only need to get your NIF number, which serves as your tax identification number. You probably need to open a bank account if you want to buy Portuguese real estate to be eligible for a Golden Visa. This guide will walk you through the procedure of opening a bank account in Portugal as a foreigner.
Introduction to Portuguese banks
Foreigners can open a bank account in Portugal. It is straightforward to open a Portuguese bank account as an EU citizen, although non-EU citizens can also open a bank account in Portugal. The country has more than 150 banks that offer different services and accounts, such as personal accounts, business accounts, and non-resident accounts.
There is a charge for transferring money internationally through Portuguese banks. To find out how much a foreign transfer will cost, contact your bank. In most cases, there is no cap on the amount you can transfer. However, the Banco de Portugal (Bank of Portugal) must be notified if the transfer amount exceeds €50,000 ($53,000). Typically, money transfers take three to five business days.
Most Portuguese banks charge their customers a monthly fee for their accounts, typically ranging from €5 ($5.30) to €7 ($7.42) per month to €60 ($63.60) annually. The bank charges €15 ($15.90) for international transfers under €50,000 ($53,000) and €30 ($31.80) for larger sums.
Required documents and eligibility
There are several documents needed to open a bank account in Portugal. Each bank has its own required documents, but generally, the following are required:
- Proof of address
- Proof of employment
- NIF (Portuguese tax number)
- Portuguese phone number (although some banks accept international phone numbers as well)
- A cash deposit (mostly around €250 ($265))
Best bank account in Portugal
Selecting a bank in Portugal
Multibanco is the name of an interbank network system used in Portugal. This creates a network connection between the Portuguese banks. You can withdraw cash for free from any 12,000 ATMs with a bank account in Portugal. The country has many domestic and foreign banks, including private national banks, regional cooperative banks, and public retail banks. Portugal’s most well-known banks are listed below:
- Activo Bank
- Banco BPI
- Banco N26
- Banco Santander Totta
- BNP Paribas
- Caixa Geral de Depósitos
- Credit Agricole
- Millenium BCP
- Novo Banco
There are many international banks in Portugal, such as Barclays, ING Bank, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, and BBVA. You might be able to use your local branch if you’re a resident of one of the countries where the bank has a presence in Portugal.
Research different banks to select the best bank that meets all your needs and requirements. You can do so by comparing various account features and services with each other. Don’t forget to research customer reviews and the reputation of the banks.
What is the best bank in Portugal for foreigners?
What is the best bank in Portugal depends on personal preferences, needs, and circumstances. However, many foreigners choose a bank account from Millennium BCP, Novo Banco, Banco Santander Totta, Banco BPI, or Caixa Geral de Depósitos.
Investment banks in Portugal
The following banks can be a good option for foreign real estate investors:
- Banco Invest
- Banco Finantia
- Banco Carregosa
- BiG (Banco de Investimento Global)
How to open a bank account in Portugal in 3 steps
Foreigners can open a bank account in Portugal by following these three steps.
Step 1: Obtain a NIF
Before opening a bank account, you must obtain a fiscal number known as a Numero de Identificaço Fiscal (NIF). If you are physically in Portugal, you can get one from the tax authority with a passport and proof of address. To avoid traveling to Portugal, some businesses can assign you a fiscal representative and request your NIF on your behalf, although this option can be pricey.
Step 2: Go to the branch of the bank (or open an account online)
You go to the bank’s local branch and bring all the necessary documentation, including identification, employment, and address proofs, as well as your NIF and cash to deposit into your new account. At the branch, you fill in your details and deposit cash.
Your bank account should be ready in less than an hour because this process is quick. However, if you are not physically present in Portugal, you can pay a fiscal representative to open the bank account on your behalf. Some banks, including Novo Banco and Santander, also let you open specific accounts remotely, though this is still unusual in Portugal.
Step 3: Receive your debit card
You’ll typically leave the bank holding with your new debit card. At some banks, you’ll get your card by mail.
If you can’t provide all the required documentation or don’t meet the bank’s requirements, your application might occasionally be rejected. If your application is denied, follow up with the bank to resolve the issue. You can file a complaint with the Banco de Portugal, the nation’s central bank, if you encounter a problem.
Can you open a bank account in Portugal online?
A financial representative or attorney with power of attorney can help you open a bank account online by getting your NIF on your behalf and opening the account with the bank of your choice. You can also open a bank account online after obtaining your NIF through a power of attorney. While opening an account at most Portuguese banks requires a physical visit, there are a few, including Novo Banco and Santander, where you can open a bank account in Portugal online.
Multi-currency bank account
Wise is an international bank that offers many benefits to foreigners in Portugal. Wise offers a multi-currency account with a debit card that enables you to hold 50 different currencies on one card. It’s also possible to open an IBAN bank account in seconds. Holders can convert currencies at a low rate and use the money without paying the local exchange rate.
How to open a bank account at Wise?
Simply click here to sign up for a Wise bank account. It would be best if you first decided whether you want to open a personal or business account, then enter your email address, password, and nation before proceeding.
Best bank account in Portugal
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you open a bank account in Portugal online?
Yes, it is possible to open a bank account in Portugal online. Many banks in Portugal offer online account opening services, allowing individuals to open accounts from anywhere with an internet connection conveniently.
What is the difference between a banking license and an e-money license?
A banking license grants a financial institution the authority to provide a wide range of banking services, such as accepting deposits, issuing loans, and offering investment services. On the other hand, an e-money license enables the institution to issue electronic money and provide digital payment services without the full range of banking services typically associated with a banking license.
How old must you be to open a bank account in Portugal?
In Portugal, the minimum age requirement to open a bank account varies among banks, but generally, individuals must be at least 18 years old. Some banks may offer specific accounts for minors, allowing parents or legal guardians to open accounts on their behalf.
What documents do you need to open a bank account in Portugal?
To open a bank account in Portugal, you typically need the following documents:
2. Proof of address
3. Proof of employment
4. NIF (Portuguese tax number)
5. Portuguese phone number (some banks accept international phone numbers)
6. A cash deposit (mostly around €250 ($265))
Additional documents for non-residents may require, such as proof of non-residency or a residence permit.