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How To Open A Bank Account in Portugal

February 17, 2021
Bank accounts are essential. They're not necessarily required, but your life is a whole lot easier when you have one. And yes, that also applies to when you're living or visiting Portugal. This country isn't the richest by any means, however, it still pays to open your own bank account here if you're going to stay here for a while. No matter how safe the locker is at your accommodation, or how secure your off-shore account is at home, setting up a local bank account is always the better option. So, how do you do it here in Portugal?
How To Open A Bank Account in Portugal

The Legality of Setting Up An Account in Portugal

First and foremost, you don't have to worry about the legalities of opening a bank account in Portugal. In fact, the country doesn't even require you to have one. Just about anyone can set up his/her own bank account in Portugal. And, ironically enough, it's this exact reason why many don't. A lot of people feel that since you're not legally required to open your own bank account here, you don't have to. But that's not always the wisest choice. Having an account here helps you manage your finances, contribute your taxes, pay your bills, and more.

Required Documents

With that said, when you do decide to open your own bank account here, there are certain documents you'll need to show in order to start. But it differs depending on your status in the country. The most common one regardless if you've moved here or not is your valid passport. If you're a new resident, you'll need to show proof of address, proof of employment, and your Portuguese NIF Number. You'll also need the latter to gain access to healthcare, just so you know. But if you're a non-resident, you'll need to show proof of address in your home country as well as proof of employment.

How To Open A Bank Account in Portugal

Getting Refused by A Portuguese Bank

Although most Portuguese banks are open to doing business with expats and non-residents alike, there are some that may refuse to do so. And it's actually fairly common here than in other countries. The most common reasons for such often relate to failing to meet the criteria the bank has set when it comes to their clients or incomplete submission of required documents. However, if you feel that you were unfairly refused, you can always refer to Banco de Portugal to look more into it. This is the central bank in Portugal and oversees most of the banking industry in the country.

Online Banking in Portugal

In this day and age, online banking is slowly becoming the norm. Even here in Portugal, it's become an integral part of the system. So much so that there are a few online banks in the country that solely deal with digital money storage and transactions. They include Revolut, N26, and bunq, among many others. More often than not, their list of requirements differs from those of traditional institutions in the country. However, they work just as well in managing your finances and helping you save your money whilst you're in Portugal.

How To Open A Bank Account in Portugal

Portugal's Most Recommended Banks

Going back to Portugal's traditional banks, there are a lot you ought to choose from if you really want to ensure the safety of your money. Of course, there's Banco de Portugal, the central bank of the country. Part of why this institution is a wise one to go for is because since it is an important bank in Portugal, there are likely more branches throughout the country than the other banks. And this is pretty important to consider! Millennium BCP is also notable as one of the largest banks in Portugal and very welcoming of foreign residents and visitors.

What to Remember When Closing An Account in Portugal

Finally, when you decide to transfer to a different bank in Portugal, there are certain things to remember when closing down the one you have with your current bank. For one thing, make sure that it's confirmed as closed before you apply to a different bank. Many institutions in the country will not allow you to set up an account with them while you're the previous account is still active. Furthermore, pay all the fees needed to close down the bank. They differ from bank to bank but failure to pay each one can lead to even higher penalty fees or even legal trouble!

How To Open A Bank Account in Portugal

Whether you're moving to Portugal or just visiting for a long period of time, it's always wiser to set up your own bank account here. You'll find that the process is actually simple and that it'll make managing your finances a lot easier!

Opening a bank account in Portugal, and managing your money in it, gets you one step closer to renting a luxury home here!