If you’re considering making Portugal your new home, or investing in property here, you will need to open a Portuguese bank account. Not only does it simplify day-to-day transactions and bill payments, but a Portuguese bank account is also a prerequisite for many residency visa applications, including the D7 or golden visa.
While opening a bank account should be a relatively straightforward process, that isn’t always the case. At Portugalist, we’ve helped thousands of people open a Portuguese bank account and we’ve created this article so you can do the same.
Ready to open a Portuguese bank account?
There are primarily two ways to open a bank account. Either:
- Online from abroad
- In-person at a bank in Portugal
Opening an account online from abroad
Some Portuguese banks allow you to open a bank account online, but usually only if you’re already resident in Portugal.
If you want to open a bank account from abroad, for example from the US or UK, you could either:
- Use a lawyer or relocation company.
- Come to Portugal and open an account in-person.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more difficult for non-residents, particularly non-EU/EEA residents, to open a Portuguese bank account in-person. You may need to visit multiple different banks and branches if you decide to do this yourself.
Alternatively, you could use a bank account opening service.
Comparison Table: Bank Account Opening Services
The following companies open Portuguese bank accounts for non-residents, typically at a cost of around €300-€350.
|Bank Account Cost
|€269.25 with code PORTUGALIST25
|$340 with code PORTUGALIST
|€338 with code PORTUGALIST
|€290 with code PORTUGALIST
|€395 (includes cost of obtaining NIF)
If you don’t already have a NIF number, you will need to order one of these as well, which several companies, like Bordr, Anchorless, and E-Residence, are able to offer.
|€389.25 with code PORTUGALIST25
|€437 with code PORTUGALIST*
|€349 with code Portugalist
Typical documents required
Services such as Anchorless or Bordr typically ask for the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Proof of address (e.g. utility bill)
- NIF number
- Proof of employment status (e.g. employed, student, retired etc.)
- Tax number from your country of residence
The minimum age for these bank accounts is typically 18 years of age. Many banks offer special bank accounts for those under 18 years of age.
Millennium Vs NovoBanco
Millennium BCP and NovoBanco are two of the largest banks in Portugal. Both offer online banking, banking apps for iOS and Android, and have local banks situated throughout all of Portugal. Both also offer mortgages, savings accounts, insurance, and other services.
Although both are large, Millennium BCP has slightly more branches across Portugal. Novobanco covers almost all of mainland Portugal, but doesn’t seem to have any branches in the Azores. If you’re thinking of living in the Azores, Millennium BCP would be the better choice.
Atlantico is one of the few Portuguese banks that allows you to open an account online. This isn’t a very well-known bank, and you won’t find branches throughout Portugal, but many people moving to Portugal have used it to meet the residency visa requirements. To open an account with Atlantico, you’ll need to download the MyAtlantico app, submit the required documents, and then do a video interview to confirm your identity. Once you’ve completed the interview there can be a long waiting process waiting for your account to be opened. The account opening service also isn’t available in every country.
Note: A lot of people report very long waiting times to open an account with Atlantico.
Cant even get into the app and the reviews are terrible for Atlantico. Apprarently noone show sup for the video verification call, leaving people waiting for hours, then not showing. Im sure some have success, but thats all the reviews I readJen (commenter on Portugalist)
Some Portuguese banks have branches in other countries and you can open a Portuguese bank account through them.
Millennium BCP, for example, has a branch in London which many UK residents have visited in order to open an account without visiting Portugal. You will most likely need a NIF in order to do this, although some people have said the bank offered them a ‘temporary NIF’ in order to bypass this requirement.
Opening an account in Portugal
If you’re already physically in Portugal, even if you’re just visiting, you might be able to open a bank account.
Opening a bank account in Portugal isn’t always easy or straightforward, particularly if you are resident in a country outside of the EU (e.g. the US). Some banks seem to still allow this, but it’s possible you will struggle and may need to work with a Portuguese lawyer or use a service like Bordr to open your account. If you get rejected in one bank, it is worth trying another bank and even just another branch.
In the case that you can open a bank account, you will normally need the following documentation:
- A NIF number (there’s a whole article on NIFs, if you’re not sure what this is.
- A Portuguese mobile phone number (not always required, but it may be needed for login codes)
- ID such as a passport or European ID card or Residency card (if resident in Portugal)
- Proof of address such as utility bills (gas or electric or a mobile phone contract)
- Proof of income – Payslips (that ideally state your profession) or a letter of employment for employees, pension slips for pensioners, and a tax return for the self-employed
- Initial deposit – many banks require an initial deposit, which is usually around €250
Some banks may ask you for your recent payslips or proof of earnings. It’s a strange requirement that some Portuguese banks have. If you’re a pensioner, your pension slips should suffice and if you’re self-employed, show your most recent tax returns.
How to choose a bank
There are a lot of banks in Portugal. So which one is best?
When choosing a bank there are a few things to consider:
- Does this bank have branches where I’m going to live (if you don’t know yet, pick somewhere with a lot of branches like Millennium)?
- Does this bank offer other products (like credit cards, health insurance, savings accounts, and mortgages)?
- Do the staff seem friendly and is there someone there that speaks my language?
- What are the maintenance charges and other costs (a monthly charge is a fact of life with many current accounts, but usually isn’t more than around €7.50 per month)*
*You may have free banking in your country but in general, most banks in Portugal charge a monthly fee (Activobank is the main exception). If you’re looking to keep costs down, you can ask for a basic bank account or conta de serviços mínimos bancários. This may not be advertised, and the person at the bank may not suggest it, but if you ask for it, they should provide it. As a basic bank account provides a debit card, online banking, and direct debits, it’s more than most people need. The Bank of Portugal sets a maximum annual fee for basic bank accounts which, in 2022, was no more than €4.35.