Updated 5 months ago

Expats moving to Portugal may wish to open a bank account in their new country of residence. Having a local account is very useful for making and receiving payments, receiving wages from your employer, and will allow you to avoid international transaction fees from your home bank.

Opening a bank account in Portugal is quick and easy to do. Proof of employment is usually not required, so it can be helpful to open an account even if you haven’t yet found employment.


Opening a bank account is a simple and straightforward process. You can compare banking options online to decide which bank would best suit your needs. Once you have decided on a bank, an account can be opened in person, or sometimes online.

Some banks may charge monthly service fees, require minimum deposits, or have other restrictions, so do your research thoroughly before selecting a bank.

Major Portuguese banks include Millennium BCP, Caixa Geral de Depositos, Novo Banco, Banco Santander Totta, and Banco BPI. Larger banks, such as those mentioned here, are likely to have English-speaking staff, and experience in setting up accounts for expats. To open an account, some paperwork is required, but the process shouldn’t take long, and your new debit or credit cards will be posted out to you shortly after opening the account. You can then use these cards to withdraw funds or make purchases- ATMs are located all throughout the country, even in smaller towns. However, small businesses may prefer cash over card payments.

Generally, to open an account, you will need to provide:

  • Proof of identity, such as passport
  • Residency card or proof of residence in the country
  • Address details
  • Portuguese tax number
  • In some instances, proof of employment may also be required
  • Minimum opening deposits, if required

Online banking

Almost all banks offer online banking which can be an easy way to pay bills, transfer funds, etc. Check if the bank offers an English language website if you aren’t fluent in Portuguese.

If you wish to open your account online, not all banks offer this, but it can be a useful way to set up a Portuguese bank account before arriving in the country. Banks that offer online account openings include Millennium BCP, Novo Banco, and Banco Santander Totta. If you open an account online, it will not be finalised until they receive copies of your documents, as mentioned above. Documents can usually be uploaded or emailed to the bank, or taken to a local branch for verification.

 Good to know:

You are advised to maintain your bank account in your home country in case you decide to move back, or for ease of paying any bills within your own country. Also, consider asking your home bank if they have international branches in Portugal that you could access.

It is also worth asking your new bank if they can offer international transfers, and what the fees will be, in case you want to transfer funds between accounts.

 Useful links:

Banco de Portugal
Portuguese Banks Association
Millennium BCP
Novo Banco
Banco Santander Totta

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