Opening a Bank Account in Portugal

Opening a Bank Account in PortugalIf you have settled in sunny Portugal, do it officially by opening a bank account in the country. Although emigrants are not required by law to have a Portuguese bank account, opening it will make it easier to pay taxes, receive payments from a Portuguese company and obtain a permanent residence permit. However, for new arrivals, the process can be a bit tricky to navigate. Read on to find out how to open a bank account in Portugal.

Basics of Portuguese Banking

Portugal is home to more than 150 banks, including international banks, private local banks, regional banks and online banks. While exploring your options, be sure to compare the fees at each institution you are viewing. Check if there is a monthly service fee or debit card usage fee. Banks also often charge a fee for using ATMs outside of their branch, so make sure your bank has plenty of convenient ATMs or offers free withdrawals from third-party ATMs before making payments.

What Type of Account Can I Open?

Traditional Portuguese banks offer three main types of bank accounts. They are:

A current account is the most common bank account in Portugal. This account can be used for everyday purchases, ATM withdrawals, utility payments, etc. Many banks offer specialized current accounts, such as student accounts and non-resident accounts, each of which has its own advantages.

A savings account with instant access. For those who hope to save money during their stay in Portugal, a savings account can help in achieving the goal. This type of account offers higher interest rates, but at the same time provides easy access to cash if you need to withdraw it.

Term deposit accounts. This type of savings account offers higher interest rates, but has limits on how long funds should remain in the account.

Opening a Corporate Account in Portugal

Main Features:

  • loyal bank rates;
  • remote account opening is possible;
  • English-language service;
  • modern and multifunctional Internet banking.

Required documents for opening an account:

  • corporate documents of the company (all corporate documents, including the trust declaration, must be apostilled and certified; documents must be translated into Portuguese);
  • full description of the business and planned operations (business plan) in English;
  • signed and certified forms at the Portuguese Consulate;
  • passport, proof of residence, source of origin of funds, resume for the beneficiary.

What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Portugal?

Foreigners can open a bank account in Portugal both as a resident and as a non-resident. Non-resident accounts require more documentation and may have more restrictions than a resident account, but this is an option if you don’t already have an address in Portugal.

Whichever option you choose, the first step is to get your Portuguese NIF number or “Número de Identificação Fiscal”. The NIF issued by the Portuguese tax authority is an important step when moving to Portugal. You will need this number to pay taxes, get a phone contract and, of course, open a bank account. To get your NIF number, bring your passport and proof of address to your local tax office.

What Documents Are Needed to Open an Account?

What do I need to open a Portuguese bank account? Collect the following documents:

  • valid photo ID (passport),
  • proof of address (utility bill),
  • proof of employment (salary statement or employment contract)
  • your NIF number.

If you are opening a non-resident bank account, bring proof of your foreign address. Just in case, it is better to take with you several different documents for each category, for example, a utility bill and an official letter from a government agency.

How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal

Once you have selected a bank and collected the necessary documents, the next steps should be simple. If you decide to use the services of a traditional conventional bank, just go to the local branch with documents and a minimum cash deposit, if necessary. Although many bank employees in Portugal speak English, you can take a Portuguese-speaking friend or translator with you, just in case. Or call ahead to make sure there is an English-speaking person on staff.

You will be asked to fill out some documents and make a minimum deposit, if there is one in your account. In many banks, you will come out with your debit card in hand. With others, you will receive your card by mail.

Sometimes the application is rejected if you cannot provide all the documentation or do not meet the bank’s criteria. If your application is rejected, contact the bank to find out how this can be resolved. If you encounter an obstacle, you can contact Banco de Portugal, the country’s central bank, to file a complaint.

Is It Possible to Open an Online Bank Account in Portugal?

Most Portuguese banks require you to open a bank account in person, although some allow you to complete this process online. Some traditional banks may allow you to start the online registration process, but require you to stop at a physical branch before finally opening an account.

If you choose a fully online bank, you will be able to receive traditional banking services, such as money transfers and deposit insurance, even without coming to a regular bank in person. Online banking can offer more flexibility by allowing you to access your finances or talk to a customer service specialist wherever you are.

If you wish to open a bank account in Portugal, our team here at IB-IA GROUP UAB will be delighted to assist you. We have eight years of experience in helping clients to open bank accounts in Europe. We tap into our vast network of trusted partners in the European financial services industry to offer the most suitable and cost-effective solutions that improve the functioning of the businesses we serve.