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A guide to using ATMs in Portugal

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Last updated on March 21, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 5 minutes

At some point or other, you’ll probably need to withdraw money from an ATM in Portugal. While card payments are becoming more common, particularly in more modern or touristy establishments, cash is still preferred.

In many cafés and restaurants and in places where cards are accepted, foreign bank cards are not (often the machine is “broken”). It’s also a good idea to carry some change for tips to ensure the money goes to the server.

Normally, you can withdraw up to €400 per day from ATMs in Portugal. If you expect to need to withdraw more, you should bring an additional bank card with you.

How much does it cost to withdraw from an ATM? That depends on your bank, normally. If you’re withdrawing from another Euro account, it’s quite likely that it won’t cost you anything. If, however, you’re withdrawing from a bank account in another currency (e.g. Sterling, Dollars, or Canadian dollars), your bank may charge you a fee.

This isn’t necessarily the case with all banks and all bank accounts—some premium bank accounts don’t charge fees for this —but as you’ll see from the comments it’s quite common.

There are a couple of tips for avoiding this such as avoiding the ATM’s withdrawal rate and avoiding certain ATMs (e.g. the Euronet ones), but the best possible thing you can do is get a travel-friendly debit card before you come to Portugal.

The most common are:

  • Wise – Available in the US and UK
  • Revolut – Available in the US and UK
  • N26 – Mainly only available within the EU

If you’re moving to Portugal or planning to spend a lot of time here, you could also consider opening a Portuguese bank account. These days, it’s usually a requirement if you’re applying for a residency visa such as the D7, digital nomad visa, or golden visa.

These accounts allow you to hold currency in euros or withdraw from ATMs with minimal ATM fees. However, note that most of them have limits on the number of free ATM withdrawals you can have per month.

Conversion Rates? Just Say No

If you don’t get a travel-friendly card such as the ones mentioned above, the ATM will ask you whether you want it to convert the amount to Euros or whether you want to be charged in your own currency. It’s almost always best to say no to the conversion rate. It’s typically a bad exchange and much worse than what your bank will charge you.

Well after reading through a fair amount of replies I followed the idea of saying No twice (MultiBanco)…and it worked. Note: 1st time I hurried & simply took the 12% hit ($127 USD for €100 w/d) really noticing it only later GRRRR. But today I took the variable rate – which of course it does not provide – & voila, $227 for €200, pretty much spot on today’s rate. Thanks y’all!

Steve

NEVER accept the machine conversion offer. This will give you just about the best rate possible when withdrawing cash. Best John

John Jones

Warning: Euronet ATMs

An example Euronet ATM, taken in Lisbon, Portugal.
© Portugalist

Regardless of which type of card you use, be wary of some of the ATMs that are popping up all over Portugal. Euronet is the most common company, but there are one or two others. These ATM companies charge you a hefty fee per withdrawal (as much as 13% of the total amount).

Another Euronet ATM, taken in the Algarve, Portugal.
© Portugalist – Another Euronet ATM

If you’re desperate for cash, they are always in very convenient locations. However, if you can find another ATM, it’s likely to cost you a lot less (or be free if you have the right card).

I wish I had read this article earlier. I got ripped off two times in Portugal. First time was at Lisbon airport, I got charged 15% mark up fee plus one transaction fee 3 euros at on of Euronet. The second time is at the old town of Porto at one of the major bank ( purple color logo , four letter names big bank I forgot the name ), I withdrew $100 Euros was offered covered to USD$126.39 with 12% fee which is just a redicilous. I reject the conversion because the market rate is USD$113. The second screen popped up but I forgot what it was said as I was panic. I still hit No. Still, I got $100 usd dollars anyway from ATM. This makes me very upset if this greedy bank. I love Portugal but these ATM are evils!!

Shannon

What does a real ATM look like? Typically, they’re attached to a bank like Santander, BPI, Crédito Agrícola, etc. Portuguese banks often have the word Multibanco as well, which is a technology that isn’t really used with non-Portuguese banks.

santander ATM. Photo taken in Lisbon, Portugal.
© Portugalist – A “real ATM” (attached to the bank and it uses the word Multibanco)

6-digit pins?

When the ATM asks for your pin, you might see space for six digits e.g. – – – – – –

All you need to do is enter 4 digits.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.