Problems using UK debit card in Brazil ATMs

I have just had problems using my UK checking account card with Brazil's banks. I am staying in a relatively small town, 25,000+, and none of the three banks' ATMs recognise my card or will give cash.

Bradesco ATMs local town and nearby city state they now do not service withdrawals>

Banco do Brazil in my town stated my pin was wrong, I needed "6 digits" when I have 4 on the password, and Banco do Brasil in a bigger city said "card invalid".

Santander in a big city said "you've reached your withdrawal limit" when I have not withdrawn anything on the day.

Baixa Federal in the small town said it only service Brazilian cards.

I think none of the banks are servicing foreign cards.

I am not resident in Brazil, so have no Brazilian bank account. That could be for the future.

Is my problem widespread? Any advice, like perhaps arranging to meet a bank branch number?

02/20/23  Hi, David.  That is, unfortunately, not an uncommon problem.

One common cause is a mismatch between the network "flag" on your card (usually the back of the card) and the network(s) that the ATM belongs to.  This isn't the brand (MasterCard vs. Visa), it's a name like "Cirrus" or "Plus", and there are a few others.  If your card and the ATM aren't on the same network, it's not going to work.  The only flag on my US debit card is Plus, so I always need to find a Plus machine.

Another common cause is exceeding the machine's permitted maximum, which is often pretty low.  The Santander message sounds like that.  Try withdrawing R$500 or less, just to see whether it will work for you at ANY amount.

If you have enough Portuguese, or a bilingual friend who can go with you, try talking to the branch manager at Banco do Brasil about it.  Sometimes, a personal contact can override the system blocks.

Thank you. Yes I plan to visit a branch manager next week (it seems a lot of businesses and staff are off over carnival).

The atm which said I had gone over my limit put up that message without me even entering an amount, it did not get to that stage.

Thanks for information about networks. I'll have to look at my card and will raise it with a manager.

I also had a "passport" card from a travel agency and it had the same problems.

Bradesco Bank is just stating at the outset it is not offering withdrawals.

Thanks again.

Edit: I checked my card I cannot see any indication on the back (or front) which network it might be compatible with.

02/20/23 Bradesco Bank is just stating at the outset it is not offering withdrawals.
Thanks again.

Some parts of the country have been chronically short of currency for years.  That's always been true here in the North, and since Pix became general, it's even worse.  Coins have practically disappeared.  Bradesco where you are may have found that it was having trouble keeping both its tellers and its ATMs supplied.

Getting money across the line has been a major preoccupation in this household for many years.

While you are still on a tourist visa you may find that telling people its a credit card may help sometimes.

You may find that establishing a liaison with a Brazilian that you can trust enough to make regular monthly wires may be necessary.  Other routes include actually carrying cash in from the USA, its so unexpected that it works better than you would expect.  Inquiring to find local Brazilian investors, jewelry shop owners or doctors or dentists who would like to invest in some USA cash.  You have to be creative and make sure it does not look like a drug deal.

The problems dont end when you get your CRNM and can open an account in Brazil, either.  Its still a struggle, plus your remittances now become taxable as income in Brazil.......

There's been an awful lot written on these subjects on the forums here, it wont hurt you to go back and read some of them, there's been a lot of different trials and successes.

Happy hunting!


In the north east, Areia Branca, not far from Mossoro RN.

I don't use my UK card very often any more as I have a Brazilian account now. When I was relying on my Barclays Debit card, the only machines that consistently worked was Bradesco or the 24 HR machines (which charge an astronomical amount for withdrawal). Sometimes if you try a different machine in the bank it will work but it's very hit and miss.


Bradesco ATM was working for me up to about 6 weeks ago, when it seems to have removed the cash withdrawal option to all its customers. There's a statement on the "Home Screen page" saying that cash withdrawal is not available "temporarily".

I don't see how Brazil can have a tourism industry if many banks do not provide for card usage of foreigners. Maybe in popular tourist areas like Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo things are different. There is still a need for some cash in this digital age.

There has been fair volatility in exchange rates these past few months, maybe that is an unwanted hassle for some banks. Day by day the headline exchange rate lately has varied from 6,20-6,45 Br for £1. Bradesco was quoting an exchange rate of around 5,80 Br in its ATM, I guess about 0,40 Br below headline rate, plus a standard charge of 20 Br for the transaction, with a top limit withdrawal of 1200 Br.