A guide to using ATMs in Portugal

multibanco

In Portugal, an ATM is known as a Multibanco. Multibancos in Portugal aren’t just used for withdrawing cash; you can also use them to pay utility bills, pay your VAT, pay your income tax, pay for concert tickets, and pay your social security contributions.

All of this is quite impressive until you’re stuck behind somebody who’s doing all of those things and, yes, sometimes people do spend 10 or 20 minutes doing all of those things.

Unfortunately, you will need to visit the ATM quite a bit when you visit Portugal. Although Portuguese card machines have gotten a lot better at reading non-Portuguese bank cards, it’s still a good idea to carry cash on you. Even if you do end up paying by card – for example, at a restaurant – it’s a good idea to have some cash on you for the tip.

And before you ask, no paying with Apple Pay isn’t really a thing here.

ATM Limits

Most ATMs have a withdrawal limit of €200 per day. That’s enough cash to last for a few days, but not for an entire week. The problem isn’t having to go to the Multibanco, but whether your bank back home will issue a fee every time you make a withdrawal.

Some banks charge a fee that’s a percentage of the total withdrawal, while others charge a fee for every withdrawal or both.

To avoid ATM fees, you should:

  • Pay online, where possible: Hotels, train tickets, and car hire can all be booked online.
  • Order currency before you go to Portugal: Visit your bank, Bureau de Change, or online currency shop and get Euros sent to you before you leave for Portugal. (Normally the latter is the cheapest option).
  • Pay by card, where possible: While many banks charge for ATM withdrawals abroad, some credit cards can be used abroad without incurring any fee. If this is the case, save your cash and use your card when you can.

Should I accept the conversion?

If you are trying to use a non-Euro bank account at the ATM (for example: Sterling or Dollars) you will be asked whether you want to accept the ATM’s conversion rate or go with the as yet unknown conversion rate that your bank will give you.

You are always better off saying no and going with whatever conversion rate your bank offers you. It will almost always be better than the rate the ATM offers you.

Spot a mistake? If you notice a mistake, or would like to suggest improvements to the article, please get in touch. This article was last updated in December 2018.

Advertising & Funding Portugalist is funded by advertising and partnerships. This doesn't influence the articles in any way, and it helps to cover the site's running costs.

Newsletter & Social Media
Want to get notified when there's a new article on Portugalist? Subscribe to the Portugalist Newsletter or follow Portugalist on Facebook or Twitter. I'm also on Instagram and Pinterest.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here