Access to Banking Services

Useful Information

Access Banking Services
Photo:  Município do PortoCC BY-NC-SA - Some Rights Reserved

​Currency and exchange

The offcial currency in Portugal is the euro (em unidades de 100 cêntimos). Money can be changed at banks, currency exchange kiosks and automatic machines.

 

Banks

The credit institutions authorised to operate in Portugal can be found on the website of the Bank of Portugal. This list can be consulted at (information in Portuguese):

In Porto, various branches of banks can be found across the city, open to the public from 08:30-15:00, Monday to Friday.

 

ATM network (Multibanco (MB))

The ATM network (Rede Multibanco) is an inter-bank network which provides services such as money withdrawal at an automatic teller machine (Caixa Multibanco).

Debit cards associated with the Multibanco (MB) network are one of the most popular forms of making payments and bank transactions in Portugal. The holder of an MB card is able to perform various banking operations 24 hours a day via the many MB ATMs spread around the city and to pay for goods and services provided at most of its commercial establishments.

 

Access to banking services

Generally speaking, specific banking services for immigrants and foreign citizens resident in Portugal offer a minimum level of service – the opening of current accounts and bank transfers – and varies from bank to bank. However, several banks already offer solutions especially designed for foreign citizens resident in Portugal.

Some banks make no distinction between national and foreign citizens and as a result do not cater their products specifically to them (e.g., the Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), the state-run bank).

Although it is not a requirement for banks to provide contracts in foreign languages, some pinpoint  these customers and provide this information at least in English.

 

Deposit accounts

Anyone is entitled to open a deposit account. Anyone over the age of 18 may open and use a deposit account. However, the offer of banking products and services is generally governed by the principle of contractual freedom, whereby credit institutions may decide freely whom they choose to enter into a contract with, within the legal parameters, which means they can refuse to allow someone to open an account.

Information about the costs associated with the different deposits marketed by the banks can be consulted in the respective price lists (preçários). As concerns deposit accounts, the price lists specify, for example, how much the bank charges for maintaining or managing the account. Every branch is obliged to make these price lists available where they can be accessed directly and are clearly identified and also on the bank's website. In addition, before opening an account or making a deposit, every bank is obliged to provide clients with information concerning the main characteristics of the products in question.

Before opening an account, you should compare and assess the various types of accounts marketed by the banks to make an informed choice.

To open a deposit account, you will need to fill out and sign forms, which generally comprise a contract, provided by the credit institution.

The minimum identification/verification documents required in order to open an account are:

  • Complete name and signature, date of birth, nationality, type, number, date and issuing authority of the identification document / passport; ID card or equivalent document issued by a competent public authority, valid and which contains the respective holder's photograph and signature.
  • Full address, occupation and employer (should that be the case) / Any documents, information or details the credit institution may deem necessary and sufficient to verify the information provided.

Each bank's requirements in order to open an account follow the regulations of the Bank of Portugal mentioned above, and additional details may be requested relating to the operations undertaken.

Non-resident persons or companies which are unable to confirm any identifying details required may ask the bank where they wish to open an account undertake to request written confirmation of the non-verified details, which must be issued by another bank with whom the person or company in question already holds a deposit account which was opened in person.

The closure of an account terminates the deposit contract and may be done on the initiative of either the account holder or the bank, depending on what the contract stipulates.

The granting of credit does not depend on whether a deposit bank is held, but is assessed according to the particular circumstances of each client.

For further information, we suggest you consult the bank's website or visit the Porto branch of one of the authorized institutions indicated below:

 

Published 21-05-2013