Anyone else having problems using Debit Cards at POS?

The system of "parcelamento" here is bxxxxxxt. May as well pay it "a vista" and be done with it. I can't for the life of me understand why any Brazilian puts up with that.

Great website, and the only one I found with current information on the state of affairs with Brasilian banks and their ATM machines.

I have been living in Brasil since 2006. Never was able to open a bank account here, so have relied on ATM's and bringing back cash when making trips to the US. Over the past year, I have had the fewest issues using ATM's ever, until last week.

I have used Bradesco almost exclusively during the past two years, they increased their per withdrawal limit from R$800 to R$1000 around the time of the Olympics, and the fees were lower than other banks. But, as of last week, nothing. I contacted my bank ATM department, after speaking with 7 different people and making 7 round trips to various banks (with one successful withdrawal at Bradesco strangely enough, and several at CitiBank) they told me the chips were not functioning on either of my two cards. So, they express mailed two new cards. Those arrived two days ago and so far no luck with either of them at Bradesco.

Spoke with four more different reps, each stating "I guaranty your card will work now" and still no luck at Bradesco. So, I have to believe it is a Bradesco issue, though it is odd that one card worked one time in the middle of all the denials. So, today I am off to try Itau, BdoB and finally CitiBank. CitiBank charges R$24 per withdrawal, but shows a better exchange rate on the receipt than the current rate posted on the Central Bank website which has been the exact rate charged by Bradesco.

I have only one card I can use now, in issuing the new cards my bank changed the PIN on one and they say they cannot express mail the new PIN so I have to wait three weeks for that to arrive by regular mail. The customer service at this bank ranged from excellent (their reps located in Texas) to abysmal, one rep telling me all I had to do was go to one of their branch offices in Brasil and withdraw cash using a teller (this bank has no branch offices and no affiliate bank in Brasil, and never has).

The good news is that in the Zona Sul in Rio there are many options for using an ATM, the bad news is there are many with card skimmers and once you find a safe and secure location those ATM's seem to quit working.

For those interested, there is a website called "Krebs on Security" which posts very current information on the state of the art in card skimmers and how best to detect and avoid them.

I had never heard of US issued debit cards being used at POS machines in grocery stores. I am going to try that next trip to the market. Thanks for that tip.

All the best.

By the way, it would be a great resource if someone could post a list the known US/European banks which issue international "fee free" debit/ATM cards. Or, if there is another part of this website which has that information and is updated I would appreciate knowing where. I realize there are a lot of different card issuers and a lot of banks have the option to waive fees on an individual basis, but my bank will not do so claiming they charge no fee and blaming it on the Brasilian bank/ATM. But, the fee is always US$5.00 and does not vary with the exchange rate, so that tells me they are probably fibbing. There is also a 3% foreign exchange fee, which only began on my cards around the time of the Olympics.

I've been paying the foreign exchange fee on my PayPal since I got here in June of 2012 and my Ally Bank card since I got it in 2014. Ally charges something like 2% and PP says 1%-on paper. But when you call PP and ask why the difference between the exchange rate and the eventual charge, they tell you about their processor's fee of something like 1.5%. Their 1% cash back policy negates the 1% they charge and leaves 1.5% by the processor.

I use my Capitalone 360 debit card almost everywhere without a fee or problems. I use my capitalone credit card fee free everywhere. When I do an ATM withdrawal. I don`t pay a fee . As of a couple years ago I have only been able to get R$500.00 at a time. It`s enough for me . My wife has Bank accounts. I don`t but we make do with my Cards and her account.


I've had the same problem that your having.  I tried to figure out.  I thought that when the armored car guards loaded the money into ATM that they did something that caused this problem.  I know that is weird but the problem cleared after about a month.  It cost me about $100 because I had to use my credit card to withdraw cash.  I had three cards and they all quit working at the same time.  What a nightmare.

You can google it there are many articles covering foreign exchange fees who charges who doesn`t.


I was able to make a successful ATM withdrawal of R$1k yesterday at the Bradesco nearby, only one ATM out of 7 was functioning, but it worked for me so hopefully this was just a two week Bradesco issue. I did not push my luck by trying multiple withdrawals. They had replaced several of the ATM machines at that location recently, that may have had something to do with the foreign card withdrawal issues, though attempts at another Bradesco branch had also failed recently.  We shall see.

I have also heard that Schwab offers a "fee free" debit card. Unfortunately, you must be physically present at a bank, brokerage or credit union in order to set up a new banking or brokerage account in the US now.


You can set up Capitalone 360 online. It is fee free. You can go to the website to set it up. You have to have it linked to another US account. I`ve been using it the past 3 years problem free. There are a couple places it doesn`t work. I mostly use it for ATM withdrawal. I use Banco Do Brazil because it is convenient to where I live. As I said you can set it all up online.


Ally Bank will setup an account over the phone.

Thanks for that tip, I will definitely give it a try.

Just returned from an attempt to withdraw cash at Bradesdo. Was told by an employee in the ATM lobby that "the entire Bradesco system is experiencing intermittent outages". While I was there, two people had their cards trapped in the card readers, and another wound up staring at a Windows screen on the ATM. I figured best to come back later.

And you pay no foreign exchange fees as well?

Ally charges me 2% forex. There are no out of system charges like some other US banks, though. I use my PayPal card for all purchases because they give 1% cashback, which defrays half the forex fee cost. I have it set to pull money from my Ally account. I use the Ally card at the ATMs (Bradesco and BdoB) when I need cash like for rent.

My only problem is that twice in the 4 years I lived in São Paulo the PayPal card was cloned and used heavily. PayPal returned the money the next day. Here in Bertioga both cards were cloned once. I've narrowed it down to 1 of 2 stores that use the wireless Cielo card readers. So now, except for the cafeteria at the grocery store where we buy cigarettes, I don't allow either card to be run in wireless readers.

I just joined the forum a few days ago so I just got this topic to view today. My experiences:

1. If your account is foreign like the US, make sure to NOTIFY your bank that you're
    abroad or traveling so they won't block your card on POS or even your debit card.
    You can do this on-line.

2. If you're notified by an ATM machine that you've exceeded the daily limit even
    though you've not, you're probably exceeding their daily limit. Banco do Brasil used
    have a limit of R$1,000. Now R$500. In any case try a lower amount. You see, it
    also depends on how much the ATM machine has at the time. So lower down your
    amount or go to another ATM in the same establishment.

3. "ERRO de LEITORA:" Go to another machine in the same establishment to improve
    your chances of being acknowledged. It could be a bad card reader. It also depends on
    the way you pull your card. Fast and steady is the way to go especially in Banco do

4. BRADESCO is notorious on my part twice of charging my account in the US and not
    disbursing any amount to me at 2 of their ATMs - one in the city of Blumenau, Santa
    Catarina and one at a beach in Penha of the same state. I complained to my credit
    union and the bank and each was pointing fingers at each other. So I decided to
    confront BRADESCO and they ended up returning my money on both occasions.
    Bank workers in Bradesco were very uncooperative and didn't care even if I told them
    that their work is at a very poor level besides the evidences pointing to them as the

5. To be sure you don't run out of options if banks in Brazil block your cards: Visa has
    prepaid debit cards. My credit union has them and I have 3 separate accounts for
    groceries, restaurants, and recreation. Just recharge them and go to ATMs to get

6. I just got back from the US 2 months ago and there was a fraud committed on my
    Capital One Quicksilver Visa an Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo at the
    the restaurants there. The problem was that I ate at 2 different restaurants and 3
    charges appeared from only one establishment. I bought an appliance last month
    at Colombo and suddenly there was an extra charge from PagamentoSeguro, a
    payment system in Brazil. Sometimes I wonder if there's a conspiracy between the
    2 establishments. Lesson: If you can pay in cash in Brazil, do it.

7. If you're retired and plan to stay in Brazil for a long time or until your demise,
    international direct deposit for social security pension is now available according to
    what I read on-line. I guess this would include also military pension. I like to get
    money when the exchange rate (cambio) is favorable. So I go to the bank and
    stores armed with my banks' credit and debit cards and also them prepaid Visa.

Ok, time to go.


I saw several charges from an electronics store chain in Belo Horizonte when my card was cloned. There were also other charges at other types of establishments in Belo Horizonte, one of which was a restaurant near the (an?) airport there.

The first time it happened there was a charge at a Shell station and two restaurants in São Paulo, not far from where I lived at the time. Then 2 charges at 2 different stores of an electronics chain. That chain reappeared a few times. Someone told me they were something of a mix of the electronics and appliance departments of a Carrefour or Walmart and some indoor and outdoor furniture. I can't remember the name of the chain now.

Right now the biggest problem we're having is getting her Itau card able to be used to make transactions in the US. She's been into the agency twice the past week to get the money transferred from another bank and then get the card activated for credit card status and international use. She's getting dressed right now to go into town so she can authorize her phone at an ATM with an iToken. Then she can use the app to unblock her card. Then we can use it to book our flight in October to visit my parents. Hopefully.

All excellent advice, robol.

I have had good luck with Bradesco (said with fingers crossed). By "good luck" I mean at least one of  their ATM's actually works 66% of the time. Often, my lack of success is the fault of my own bank though this past week and last week there were definitely issues with Bradesco itself. I used to use HSBC.

I am in the process of setting up an account with the no fee bank mentioned by another member. I will let others know how that experience went. I am quite fed up with BofA, though tied to them by business, personal, trust and other accounts and unable to do anything about it right now. Had to call them again today, the fifth business day in a row, as one card was denied because had a US Amazon purchase on that card then a Brasilian ATM withdrawal attempt. I had to explain to the BofA rep that it is indeed possible to use the internet in Brasil to make purchases from Amazon. He then unblocked my account and I was able to make an ATM withdrawal using it. This was all despite posting the travel notice, etc. .

The point being, best practice in my opinion is to have a card/account used exclusively for Brasilian ATM withdrawals. Transfer funds into it only just before you intend to make the ATM withdrawal. Try to avoid exposing any other cards to the the chupa cabras and other scams and schemes by which card fraud is practiced in Brasil.

All the best.

I realized that I had to be careful with my money before I moved here 3 years ago.  I use cash almost exclusively and if I use my card (very careful here) I make it my business to keep the whole process in my sight. I had a few run ins with Bradesco as well. The ATM would withdraw funds from my USA account but not give anything to me. After the third such SNAFU, they began to deny any responsibility. My bank investigated and found that my funds were withdrawn and due to ATM failures here (Comm, Software, PC, etc) my money was in a limbo. My bank had to retrieve my money directly. Once that process became known to Bradesco, no more problems.

ROBAL, your advice is right on the nose. I would add that moving to another ATM is advisable only if you haven't entered your password. If there is a failure after entering your password-go into the bank and request the transaction record for the ATM you used. This will make it easier for you to get something done. Brasil has a tradition of not accepting responsibility in situations like this so be prepared to bypass the locals in resolving such problems.

I use Discover credit cards here. I have it set up to notify me via email of all purchases and customer service is USA based and very effective.

Last tip: Banking hours here are different, wait for the bank to actually be open before attempting to use the ATM. That way you stand a better chance of money actually being in the ATM and of a technician in the office.

It was outside of BRADESCO's operating hours when both occasions of not receiving money thru their ATM's happened. On both occasions, I did not even receive a receipt
of the transactions which normally they would dispense automatically thru their ATMs. They run out of paper very frequently.

I always returned the following day showing them my printed bank's balances - that they charged me and I did not receive any money. They looked at their records and there they were inside their ATM. But then again they stated that there was no extra money to be allocated and that they were waiting for VISA to pay them first and I should contact my bank which I did. Like exnyer stated, Brazilians don't want to assume responsibilities.  When there was no result on both sides, I threatened lawsuits against them with moral damages. My money was refunded.


This happens to me often.  I just contact my bank and they refund my money.  Then they do an investigation.  I have had this happen at the bank of Brazil and Bradesco several times.  It never did me any good to talk with the bank's here.

For me, I had no other option. My credit union investigated and BRADESCO "cooked" the paperwork that I received the money. My credit union stipulated that with my activities on record and the evidences they received from BRADESCO, I did benefit on the transaction and did receive the money.

BRADESCO showed me their paperwork weeks before and did show that I did not receive any money on that transaction and the amount stayed in their ATM. But the paperwork that my credit union received was on the contrary. I wonder if that come from the same bank or from a different location.

I magine if they are still the corresponding bank of Chase... They should improve their performance
and attitude about customer service. Imagine how many people lost money during the Olympics. I had
no option but to threaten a lawsuit on BRADESCO with moral damages, etc.

I did show my disgust and fury telling the manager that they have a very poor level of service.


I have never lost money so far. I have had to ask questions of the BDB about lowering daily limit. They make things up as they go along if they don`t know. The first thing they say is that it is my bank. And then they say my card is not authorized at their terminals when I debunk that with I have used it many times.  They finally say they don`t know why which should have been the reply in the beginning.


Robal, in my case Bradesco sent documents that showed I had received the cash. I realized that because Brasil uses a different order in the date (we use m/d/y--they use d/m/y--- that the investigator back home got thrown off. The date on the Bradesco document was from a successful transaction months before

Accident? I THINK NOT!!

I informed the investigator of this and resent my copy of the printout from the bank as well as my copy of the transaction from my bank website.

The evasion exposed, my bank immediately recalled my funds.

I do not use BoB because it is government owned and that should explain that.

One last thing. It is never a good idea to use your debit card as a credit card or in POS transactions outside of the USA. Your data remains on the unit used and can be retrieved. You can give identity thieves access to your bank accounts and you have much less protection in that case.

exnyer :

One last thing. It is never a good idea to use your debit card as a credit card or in POS transactions outside of the USA. Your data remains on the unit used and can be retrieved. You can give identity thieves access to your bank accounts and you have much less protection in that case.

This is why I no longer use wireless POS terminals. I either use cash at these stores or I go elsewhere.

If you used a visa card can you call visa and explain the problem?

I've had the same problem -- my USA bank issued debit card does not work in point of sale terminals in Goias or Distrito Federal (I haven't tried anywhere else). According to my bank, they never see the attempted transactions. They also have no idea why the transactions wouldn't work, other than being blocked at the source. Incidentally, I've never had a problem using my debit card at ATMs that accept international cards, such as Bank of Brazil, Bradesco, 24 Hours, etc. The only problem is with point of sale.

Spending time in Brazil in 2015 and 2016, and now permanently here in 2017, my initial solution was to use credit cards at point of sale terminals and then periodically pay the credit card charges from my bank account online. However, I now have an account with ITAU, and I transfer funds from my USA bank account to my ITAU account and then withdraw the funds as needed at ITAU ATMs. The only downside is the transfer fees, but at least I don't have any problems getting cash.

williamdeep, welcome to Goiania.

I would like to stress that using POS as your main purchasing system is very dangerous here. Please read my posts on this subject and let me know if you are having trouble using cash. I highly recommend getting email notification of your purchases by Credit Card as this will provide an extra layer of protection from fraud.

exnyer :

williamdeep, welcome to Goiania.

I would like to stress that using POS as your main purchasing system is very dangerous here. Please read my posts on this subject and let me know if you are having trouble using cash. I highly recommend getting email notification of your purchases by Credit Card as this will provide an extra layer of protection from fraud.

Fortunately, I haven't had any problems during all the time I've been in Brazil. However, I do get email notifications on both my credit cards and my ITAU debit card. I prefer to use plastic for convenience as well as for having an online record of my ongoing expenditures. And I don't like to walk around with too much cash. I also try to shop at places where I've shopped in the past and I trust. Hopefully, I won't have any problems, but if I do, I'll reconsider using plastic at that time.

I have previously read some of your posts on this subject. Thanks for your input.

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