If you’re moving to Portugal, or even just visiting, you may be wondering whether Venmo is used here. And the answer is no. At the time of writing, Venmo isn’t available in Portugal or anywhere in Europe, and most people probably won’t have heard of it.
So how do you transfer money to friends or businesses in Portugal?
The Portuguese use MBway, which is only available on Portuguese bank accounts. This is used to send money to friends and businesses. Once you get a Portuguese bank account, it’s worth getting this app.
Expats don’t use MBway as much, especially because some expats, particularly the digital nomad types, don’t all have Portuguese bank accounts. It’s more common for someone to share their IBAN number, as you can transfer money between bank accounts in countries that use the Euro (SEPA) for free and often, almost instantly.
You’ll also notice that a lot of people will have an app-based card like Revolut. This bank account is not only very easy to travel with, but it’s also very easy to send money to friends that have Revolut as well. Simply open the app and look in your contacts and you can instantly send money to them – much easier than logging into your online banking and sending money to an IBAN.
If you want to send money from a bank account outside of Portugal and the Eurozone (for example, the US) to a bank in Portugal, it’s best to use a service like Wise (previously called TransferWise). Wise offers much better currency exchange rates than most banks, although it’s worth shopping around if you’re sending a significant amount of money (e.g. the deposit for a house).
PayPal isn’t used as much as it once was, but it’s still worth having a PayPal account. One reason is that you can use it to pay for things at Portuguese online stores, which is helpful as sometimes Portuguese online stores (and even websites like the train company) seem to block transactions from foreign cards.