How to open a bank account in Portugal

If you’re relocating and need an account to hold, spend and receive euros, you may be wondering how to open a bank account in Portugal. Portugal is one of the more straightforward places to get a non-resident bank account, which means you may have options available to you even if you’re not living there just yet. However, in this case you’ll probably be limited to a specialist non-resident account which may have more restrictions and higher fees than a regular account type.

This guide walks through account opening options and requirements for some major Portuguese banks – and some alternatives like Wise and Revolut as a more flexible comparison. More on that, later.

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What documents do I need?

The exact documents you need to open an account with a traditional Portuguese bank will vary a little based on the account type. However, in most cases here’s what’s required to open a Portuguese bank account:

  • Proof of ID – like a passport or National identity card
  • Proof of address – if you’re non-resident you may only be eligible for a limited number of account products
  • Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF) – Portuguese tax number

Other documents like a proof of income, pay slip or tax statement or a student ID may also be needed based on the account type you select.

It’s helpful to note that there are some banks – like N26 which we’ll focus on more later – which accept proof of ID from some other European countries as well as Portugal.

If you’re already a European resident you might find you have more choice for your Portuguese bank account – but if you’re still in the US you may find your options more limited. More on a smart solution, next.

Save the paperwork with alternative solutions like Wise or Revolut

If you’re trying to set up a euro bank account before you move to Portugal you may be better off with a modern online alternative like Wise or Revolut, instead of a traditional Portuguese bank. Providers like these offer multi-currency accounts which can hold, send, spend and receive euros, alongside a range of other currencies.

You’ll be able to open your account with a US proof of identity and address, which means you can access EUR bank details even if Portugal isn’t your home just yet.

Set up your account online or via the provider’s app and complete the verification process digitally before you travel.

Learn more about WiseLearn more about Revolut

How to open a bank account in Portugal

If you’re already in Portugal and have a proof of ID and local address, you’ll often be able to open a Portuguese bank account online using video verification processes, or by simply walking into a bank to get your account up and running.

Some banks – like Santander Portugal – allow non-residents to open accounts remotely, subject to meeting eligibility requirements. More on that in a moment.

If you don’t have a Portuguese mailing address you’ll probably find it harder to set up a full service account with a traditional bank – check out some digital alternatives like Wise or Revolut for EUR accounts you can open from the US.

Go to WiseRead Revolut Review

Can I open a bank account in Portugal before arrival?

You’ll be able to apply for a non-resident account in Portugal with some banks, before you arrive there. However, these accounts can come with relatively limited services and higher fees, compared with standard Portuguese resident bank accounts.

It’s also useful to know that some banks offer euro accounts to customers with a residential address which is also in the EU or a Eurozone country. If you’re not in Europe yet you might find it easier to get set up using a specialist account service – we’ve got a couple coming up to kickstart your research.

Which account is best in Portugal for foreigners?

While there’s a huge choice of local, regional and global banks in Portugal, you’ll need a local proof of address for standard accounts, or you’ll have to go for a non-resident product. If you want a more flexible account, digital specialist services may be a better option.

Let’s take a look at a few examples, including a couple of specialist account providers like Wise and Revolut, digital bank N26 and banking giant Santander Portugal’s non-resident account:

ServiceWiseRevolutN26Santander Portugal*
Currencies covered50+ currencies including EURTypically around 28 currencies including EUREUREUR
Open before you arrive in PortugalYesYesOpen with proof of residence from one of 22 European countriesYes
Open onlineYesYesYesYes
Opening feeNo feeNo feeNo feeNo fee – 150 EUR minimum deposit required
Maintenance feeNo feeNo-fee standard plans are available – or customers can upgrade to accounts which have a monthly chargeFee free standard plans are available – or customers can upgrade to accounts which have a monthly charge7.30 EUR/month. Fees may vary slightly depending on which other Santander products you use
International transfersLow fee, varies by currencyFee varies by currency and payment valueIncoming and outgoing EUR payments to EU countries are usually free

Receiving a SWIFT payment: 12.50 EUR + 0.1%

Outgoing international payments are processed through Wise – low, variable fees apply

Standard online SEPA transfers don’t have a fee (exchange rate markups may apply)

Non-SEPA payments have fees which can vary depending on how you arrange them. For online transfers, charges of 0.25% – 0.35% (minimum 15 EUR, maximum 129 EUR) are common

* Santander Portugal information is applicable for non-resident accounts.

We picked out N26 and Santander as a couple of the more flexible Portuguese banks – N26 will let you apply with a proof of address from a range of European countries, and Santander has a non-resident account on offer.

If you’re still in the US and don’t want to be limited to a non-resident account, an online account provider like Wise or Revolut can be a smart choice, to access low cost banking services in euros alongside USD.

Go to WiseRead Revolut Review


Wise offers multi-currency accounts which can be used to hold, exchange, send, spend and manage 50+ currencies including both US dollars and euros.

You can open your account while you’re still in the US and get bank details for up to 10 currencies – including USD and EUR – to receive payments, as well as having the option to send money to 80+ countries and spend internationally with the Wise debit card.

Wise is a specialist in low cost currency conversion which uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markup. Use your Wise Account as you transition from the US to Europe, to get low fees and great rates every time you need to switch from one currency to another.

Account types: Both personal and business customers can open a Wise multi-currency account from the US with no minimum balance or monthly fees to pay. Read our Wise Fees article to learn more.

Eligibility: Accounts are offered in most countries around the world – you’ll need a government issued ID and in some cases a proof of address or tax number to apply. Full details of availability by location available on the Wise website.

Is it safe? Yes. Wise is also overseen by a range of global regulatory bodies around the world. Check out Is Wise Safe for more.

Go to Wise


Revolut describes itself as a financial super app. Accounts are offered to customers based in the US and a range of other countries, and can hold and exchange around 28 currencies including euros.

You’ll be able to spend on your linked debit card, get some no-fee currency exchange depending on your account type, and even earn interest on your account balance.

Revolut offers standard accounts that has no monthly fee or opening fee, or if you want to unlock more features you can upgrade to a paid plan for a monthly fee.

Account types: Standard account plans don’t have monthly fees or you can upgrade to a paid plan on a variety of different tiers – if you’re in the US, plans range up to 16.99 USD/month.

Eligibility: Available to customers with addresses in the UK, the EEA, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, and the US.

Is it safe? Yes. Revolut operates safely in the countries it serves, with oversight from a range of global bodies.

Read Revolut Review


N26 is a European digital bank which offers accounts to customers in 20+ countries around Europe, including Portugal. It’s free to get a basic standard account, or you can choose to pay a monthly fee of up to 16.90 EUR to upgrade to a premium account tier.

It’s worth noting that at the time of writing, N26 has some limitations on the number of accounts that can be opened per month, due to overwhelming demand. This may mean some or all products are limited based on your country of residence. Restrictions change based on demand – check the latest before you choose N26 for your euro account.

Account types: Standard, Premium and Business accounts are available. Standard accounts are free to open, with no monthly fee.

Eligibility: Available to residents of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Portugal, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.

Is it safe? Yes. N26 is a reputable European bank with a full banking license for the EU.


Santander Portugal is a solid place to start if you’re looking for an account from a local provider. There’s a good range of account options, including specialist products like the non-resident Mundo 123 account we profiled earlier.

Account features and fees vary widely – in the case of the Mundo account you’ll need to deposit at least 150 EUR, and pay a monthly account charge, but you can get a linked card issued for free. Transaction fees apply based on how you use your account.

Account types: Range of account options with some English speaking customer service offered.

Eligibility: Non-resident accounts are available for customers subject to meeting other eligibility requirements.

Is it safe? Yes. Santander is a reputable global bank with banking licenses everywhere it offers services.

What are the costs?

Opening a bank account in Portugal will not usually involve paying any specific fee, but you may be asked to deposit a set minimum amount of money. Y

ou may also find there are monthly or annual account and card fees, as well as transaction costs. Because banking in Europe can come with significantly different fees compared to the US you’ll want to review the fee schedule carefully before you start using your account.

Online specialists like Wise or Revolut can offer low-cost and often free options. Revolut has various account types with monthly fees, including a Standard account which is fee-free, while Wise personal accounts are free to open without monthly fees.

Go to WiseRead Revolut Review

Tips for transferring money

If you’re moving to Europe you may well need to manage your money across both EUR and USD for a while, which will mean sending transfers internationally. Overseas payments can be pretty costly, with fees that are often confusing. You’ll need to compare both the transfer fee and the exchange rate being applied whenever you send money to make sure you get a good deal.

Here are some tips to avoid costs on international money transfer fees:

  • Compare the exchange rate you’re offered against the mid-market exchange rate to see if a markup is being used
  • Review the terms and conditions of your specific account to see the transfer fee which will apply
  • Check if there are third party fees associated with the SWIFT network – these can push up the overall costs


Portuguese banks commonly ask for a proof of address from Portugal, or in some cases from another EU or EEA country to open a full bank account. It’s also possible to apply for specialist non-resident accounts, but these can be more limited and come with higher charges overall.

That can limit your options for a Portuguese bank account from a regular bank if you’ve not yet relocated, or if you’re only planning on being in Portugal on a temporary basis.

If you need a euro account with more flexibility, check out specialist providers like Wise or Revolut, to get an account opened and verified online, with EUR banking details and a linked payment card.

Go to WiseRead Revolut Review


  1. Can a foreigner open an account in Portugal?

Yes, foreigners can open Portuguese bank accounts. However, you’ll often be asked for a proof of address from Portugal, from another EU or EEA country, or have your choices limited to specialist non-resident accounts.  If you’re still based in the US a flexible multi-currency account from a specialist provider may be a better option.

  1. How much do I need to open a bank account in Portugal?

It’s usually free to open a Portuguese bank account, but there may be a minimum initial deposit, monthly or annual card fees, and there are always some transaction fees to consider, depending on how you use your account.

  1. Can I open a Portuguese bank account online?

Some Portuguese banks do allow online account opening, but you’ll find this easier if you’re a local resident in Portugal and have a proof of address document.

  1. Can I open a bank account in Portugal before landing?

You’ll normally need a proof of address from Portugal, or sometimes from another EU or EEA country to get a full Portuguese bank account. However, online and digital specialist services like Wise and Revolut may be more flexible, with accounts you can open online, with proof of address from your home country instead.


Claire Millard
Fintech Content Writer
Claire Millard is a content and copywriter with a specialty in international finance. Her work has featured in The Times and The Telegraph, as well as industry magazines and leading personal finance blogs.
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Seyma Mektepli
Seyma is an experienced content writer and editor-in-chief at Exiap, delivering informative articles on personal finance, and money transfers.
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Last updated
July 15th, 2023