Banking, Money and Taxes in Brazil

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Brazil’s banking sector is efficient and well developed. Expats moving to Brazil can either choose to bank at a Brazilian bank or they can use an international bank, which allows them to link back to accounts in their home country.

Brazilian currency

The Brazilian currency is the Real (BRL), which is divided into 100 centavos. There are a number of coins ranging from one centavo through to one real. Notes are available in a variety of denominations between one and 100 reals.

Banking in Brazil

Bank cards - Banking, money and taxes in Brazil
Brazil has a developed banking sector and expats have a variety of options and services available when it comes to managing their finances. Nevertheless, banking in Brazil can be costly as banks charge users a percentage for every transaction. Expats are advised to shop around to find out which bank will offer them the best deal to best suit their needs. 
Banking policy is overseen by the Brazilian central bank, Banco Central do Brasil. The largest state-owned banks in Brazil are Banco do Brasil and Caixo, and other local and international banks include Banco Itaú, Bradesco, Santander, Citibank and HSBC.
Online banking is very popular in Brazil and it’s possible to pay certain utility bills and state taxes online. However, expats should note that most online services are only available in Portuguese.
Banking hours in Brazil are generally Monday to Friday, 10am to 4.30pm. 

Opening a bank account in Brazil

A residence visa is required in order to open a bank account in Brazil; once you have a visa it is possible to invest in the country’s Stock Exchange as well as a number of other financial institutions.
Documents required to open a bank account generally include:
  • A valid identity document
  • Individual taxpayer’s number (Cadastro de Pessoa Fisica, CPF)
  • Proof of residence

ATMs and credit cards in Brazil

ATMs are widely available in Brazil, although many don’t accept foreign cards. Customers are also able to make bill payments at ATMs. 
For safety reasons, many ATMs do not operate between 10pm and 7am. Those that do operate 27/4 often have lower withdrawal limits after 10pm. 
Some parts of Brazil have a largely cash economy so it’s wise to always ensure that you have sufficient cash on hand. However, debit and credit cards are widely accepted in the larger metropolitan areas, with Visa and MasterCard being the two most widely accepted cards.

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