Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Brazil

With a Brazilian bank account, you can deposit, withdraw and save money in the local currency, the Brazilian real. This will help you to avoid costly conversion rates that are offered by merchants and currency exchange agencies.

Brazilian banks offer a number of long and short term investment options with attractive interest rates. This can be another advantage for those who wish to diversify their investments.

A local bank account is a requirement for several major transactions that a non-resident may have interest in carrying out. You are allowed to buy property in Brazil as a tourist and in practice, owning any kind of property in the country can be used to request and receive an investor’s visa. Even if you do not have all the money to invest in a home or commercial property of your choice, it is possible to take out a mortgage, even without yet having resident status in the country. The main requirements for this are having a bank account and a proof of income (explained below).

The documents needed to open the bank account in Brazil are:

– CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física);

– Proof of Residence (can be water, phone, energy bill). If the bill comes in someone’s else name, ask that person to write a letter stating you are staying with him/her. It needs to have the signature notarized;

– The Foreigner ID, called CRNM (Carteira de Registro Nacional Migratório). If you don’t have the CRNM yet, you can open your account with the protocol for obtaining the ID;

– It is really important for you to take with you your Passport on that day;

– Internship contract. The bank will need proof that you will have an income in Brazil and your contract will have the signatures notarised.

Account types

If you wish to open a current account ask for conta corrente. A savings account is referred to as conta de poupança. Whereas a current account is used for daily payment transactions and entitles the account holder to a debit card, a savings account only serves to store money but the money is interest-bearing.

If you receive income in Brazil you might also want to consider opening a salary payment account (conta salário). It is equal to a current account but you usually benefit from certain advantages, like lower fees on payment transactions.

Can I open a bank account from abroad?

Some banks will allow you to start the process to open a bank account from abroad, but you’ll still have to present your documents in person. This means you’ll have to call into your local branch upon arrival to finalise the account opening. Once you’ve chosen the right bank and account type for you, check the specific policy they use regarding remote opening of accounts.

Banking Fees and Charges

Whichever bank you choose, it’s important to read the terms and conditions carefully. Take a friend to translate if your Portuguese isn’t great, and make sure you get all the details you need about banking fees and charges.

If you need to move money between accounts in different currencies, this will be subject to fees and charges, as well. In addition to charging for processing the transaction, banks often make their profit through using an exchange rate that is not a great deal for you. Even if they claim ‘zero commission’, or ‘fee-free transfers’, you can bet they aren’t working for free. Their cut is simply hidden in the exchange rate.

If you want international money transfers with low, transparent fees, use Jeton. With Jeton there is no hidden fees and time for transferring money is significantly quicker.