How to open a bank account in Brazil

How to open a bank account in Brazil

A country of receptive and friendly people despite its highly contrasting political and financial landscape, Brazil is a place many expats choose to work, invest and retire seeking the pleasures of living and enjoying life either in one of its cities in land such as Belo Horizonte or Sao Paulo or in one of the many cities along its 5000 mile coastline including world famous Rio de Janeiro.

If you are thinking of moving there, you will need a bank account. You are in luck it is not too difficult and locals are friendly toward foreigners. Here is our guide on how to open a bank account in Brazil

Documents needed to open a bank account in Brazil

You must have at least a temporary 12 month visa to open an account in Brazil. Other than that, here are the documents that you will be required to have

  • Passport or ID
  • CPF which is the national tax id number
  • Proof of address

You may be required to prove your capacity to pay your way during your stay by providing salary slips or a letter from your employer. As a student this requirement will be waived.

Can I open a bank account in Brazil as a non-resident?

Yes it is possible to open a bank account as a non-resident, but it will be hard to find a bank willing to take up the risk even with big banks. Brazilians are simply not accustomed to opening accounts for non-residents and refrain from doing so. The minimal requirement in effect is the 12 month temporary visa.

Best Banks in Brazil

Banking in Brazil is huge business with most of its largest institutions having ubiquitous countrywide presence even in the smallest of villages. Banco do Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal in particular are everywhere and so are their ATMs. You will also notice that everywhere in the country you will see the “Banco 24 Horas” ATM machines that most banks have a relationship with meaning you can get cash from it for free with the right account package.

  • Banco do Brasil: as the majority of its shares are owned by the federal government and as Brazil’s oldest bank, this is an institution that many consider to be the safest in the country. It makes sense since this would be likely the last one to go down in the case of a financial crisis of some kind. They have good rates, wide reaching network and accounts ranging from youths and retirees to private banking.
  • Bradesco: with the option of operating your account entirely from the internet, this is a good bank for those that want to stay away from branches. They are a large bank with dozens of thousands of ATMs with account offers ranging from savings and youths to large business enterprises.
  • Itau: this is one of the country’s largest banks with a wide reaching network and excellent online banking app that you can use to perform pretty much all your banking needs including the acquisition of loans. Account offers are numerous including special accounts for retirees and children. Internet banking is standard and there is phone service as well.
  • Caixa Economica Federal: known as only Caixa, this is one of the world’s largest banks in terms of number of customers with 80 million people holding an account with them. Besides being present everywhere in the country including the smallest of towns, the biggest advantage of this bank is that they have franchised lottery stands all over the country which you can use as bank tellers.

There are many other large banks in Brazil including Santander, Citibank. There are State owned banks as well and these have a huge presence on each of Brazil’s 27 States.

When it comes to fees, read the fine print. You would be surprised on how expensive banking is in Brazil especially if you do international money transfers and if you take out any loans. Credit card interest rates go easily beyond 20 percent a month! ATM fees should not be a problem, but consider your choice of bank wisely. If you travel a lot countryside within your state for example, it may be a good idea to go for a State owned bank with ATMs in small towns.

The virtual bank account alternative

If you transfer money out of Brazil using a bank, you are spending too much

Sending money out of Brazil is so expensive. Here is an example:  If you choose to use a bank to transfer 10 thousand dollars worth of rupees to India, you only receive about 9000 dollars worth of rupees in India. That is too much.

With a B2B Pay virtual bank account, you get 9900 dollars worth of rupees in India saving you 900 dollars. You also get a free virtual bank account with your own IBAN you can use to send and receive money in Europe for free and send money abroad anywhere for a 1% flat fee in 33 currencies.

How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.



How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.


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