Banking in Brazil and living in the Florinopolis area.

Hello,
I am American and my Fiance is Brazilian, She lives in Sao Paulo but we are looking at living in Florinopolis once I move there in March. Can someone please give me advice on banking. I am on SSDI and was looking for a Bank in Brazil that I can have my SSDI direct deposited to, Also do the banks take in account the the conversion rate from Dollars to Real? Any help is appreciated and also any advice about living in the Floriinopolis area.

The four largest banks in Brazil -- Itaú, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, and Caixa Econômica Federal -- control 70% of the retail banking in Brazil.  Banco do Brasil and Caixa are government-owned; the other two are private.  Those four, plus Santander, the largest foreign-owned banking company active in Brazil, all have extensive,nationwide branch systems, and any of the five will be able to provide you with a full range of banking services anywhere you live in Brazil.  If your fiancée already has a banking relationship that she's happy with, you may just want to use her bank. 

You will not be able to open an account at a Brazilian bank until you apply for permanent residency with the Federal Police, so that should be at the top of your to-do list.

All funds that you have transferred to you in Brazil will be exchanged for reais at market rates on receipt in Brazil, as required by the Central Bank of Brazil.  The banks do charge reasonable, customary fees for the service, and there's also a federal tax (currently small)  on all financial transactions, including transfers.  Social Security will deposit your benefits in your Brazilian bank account, if you wish.   If you'll be keeping a bank account open in the US anyway, you may choose to continue having your SSDI deposited there, and make a monthly transfer, either by SWIFT wire, or through a third-party company like TransferWise.

Once you move to Brazil, don't forget to notify Social Security of your change of address.  Management of your Social Security file will be transferred to the Federal Benefits Unit at the US Embassy in Lisbon,Portugal.  I've found them pretty responsive, and their office schedule takes the time difference between Portugal and Brazil into account.  You'll find more information, including contact information, here:
https://pt.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-se … -security/

In 2019, benefit payment dates for Americans living abroad were changed to the 3rd of each month.

I can't answer your questions on Santa  Catarina, but I'm sure someone here can.  Any further questions, please do post them.  Welcome!

fishnraider :

Hello,
I am American and my Fiance is Brazilian, She lives in Sao Paulo but we are looking at living in Florinopolis once I move there in March. Can someone please give me advice on banking. I am on SSDI and was looking for a Bank in Brazil that I can have my SSDI direct deposited to, Also do the banks take in account the the conversion rate from Dollars to Real? Any help is appreciated and also any advice about living in the Floriinopolis area.

If you direct deposit, SS will deposit into your Brazilian bank acct account already in reais depending on the exchange rate of the dollar to reais at the time. You also have to have a CPF and a CRNM for you to be able to open a bank account. Here´s a sample form to fill up for the direct deposit.

https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms/imag … 50.gif.pdf

I lived in Florianopolis for a few years so I know the area. Good choice to retire but already lots of Paulistas are already also retired there jacking up the price of real estate!

Thanks for the reply. Is there a bank you recommend until I get a permanent visa? My credit union will be a hassle and expensive to transfer funds from.

Banco do Brasil has a lot of branches in Florianopolis. Decide what place you would like to live in Floripa and look at a particular bank anchored to the vicinity. Bradesco is also good  and has a lot of correspondent US banks.

Conta corrente (checking) has maintenance fees. Banks will nickle and dime you for that. Poupança (savings) is free of that. I don´t know though if they will allow you direct deposit through poupança.

I maintain some of my accounts in 2 credit unions in the US. I have debit cards from them for ATM withdrawals. You don´t really need a bank account if you want to live in Brazil. Debit and credit cards would suffice.

Santander is very international and there are branches in Brazil. I´ve used this bank during my 6yr work period in Europe and is also everywhere there like HSBC. HSBC in Brazil has been bought by Bradesco. This is just a brainstorming just in case you move to Europe in the future.

And also if you wire money from your credit union - no matter how small or remote it is, they usually partner with bigger banks like Wells Fargo to send you money to your bank acct in Brazil...

Ola Fishn,
Hope the PM helped. as said you getting good advice from some of the best.
I am guessing you met your lady and have been here in Brasil.
My first thought is be sure you will enjoy Brasil. 2. get all the paperwork done for your CRNM (permanent residency). Lot of work in translation and approved under Brasil laws.
( you may even think of marriage in the US, would make marriage here easier.)
3. If you do like Brasil set up SSI (you can do 1/2 into Brasil other half staying in US, just in case you get tired of Brasil, changing means a long time to switch again with SSA)
As said you need the CRNM in order to do banking in Brasil. I also would try to find a named bank that has at least one English speaking person, if your Portuguese is not the best.
When I first began the process I went to BoB, Santander and Bradesco in US, they informed me yes they have banks in Brasil, but 2 different entities and can not help. I then approached HSBC . AT the time they were in Brazil and could do bank to bank transfers anywhere in the world they had banks. I chose HSBC since we had a branch here. All was fine, then Bradesco bought HSBC< BR. Bradesco allowed me to have the same status, buy no international bank to bank transfers, but with Premier and above status and fee wire transfers.
Stating off I relied on US debit card, until I received CRNM (Was RNE) to even open a HSBC account.
Your fiancé can help with going to the PF for documents you need from the PF and get a check list.
It takes time to finally get the CRNM, so be prepared.
Good luck and we are here to help

fishnraider :

Thanks for the reply. Is there a bank you recommend until I get a permanent visa? My credit union will be a hassle and expensive to transfer funds from.

There are several options that might be worth considering.
1. As Robal says, most credit unions have correspondent relationships with large money center banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo), so they can handle international transfers.  There may be a learning curve, depending on how small the CU is. 

2. You may just want to consider consolidating your US banking business directly with one of the money center banks, just for ease of use and length of reach, and to eliminate one possible layer of charges.

3. If you happen to be a Merrill Lynch customer, you probably already have an account at Bank of America in your name, since the 2008 merger.  Utilizing that account may be a very easy option.

4. If you're more comfortable staying in the Credit Union sector, American Citizens Abroad (americansabroad.org), an advocacy group for American expats ($70/yr, $55/yr for seniors) offers accounts at the State Department Federal Credit Union as a membership benefit.  SDFCU is a large credit union that was established specifically to service diplomats and other Americans living abroad, so it's one CU with all the international experience you might need.  It doesn't require a US address, and a member's non-citizen spouse can  be a joint owner of the account.

You will have to rely on debit card or an international credit card until you get a CRNM. No way for you to bank until such.
Not sure of daily amount you can get now from ATM. Was $300 reals in a 24 hour period. Sat. can be iffy. Sunday no money since banks are closed.
Need to get all documents translated and some may need apostilled. Last document to get and translated would be FBI background check, Can not be older than 60 days, I believe.
There are companies that can do the FBI report for a fee,
As we chatted, I would caution sending money to her account. She may have to pay tax, exchange fees and her bank fees., you cannot access her account.
As to doing all CRNM on a tourist waiver, if you have all properly documented, maybe. It is not an overnight process.

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