How to Open a Bank Account in Portugal as Foreigner

Portugal is a popular destination for expats from all over the world, thanks to its beautiful scenery, affordable cost of living, and welcoming culture. If you’re planning to move to Portugal, one of the first things you’ll need to do is open a bank account. The good news is that it’s possible for foreigners to open a bank account in Portugal, especially if you’re already a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA).

What to keep in mind when opening bank accounts in Portugal

  • If you are abroad, you can use the services of Bordr or NIF Online, or ePortugal to get your NIF, which is usually required to open a bank account as a foreigner.
  • Bank account requirements for foreigners may vary depending on the branch, so try another branch if one turns you down. This is not common practice for most banks around the world, but it can happen in Portugal.
  • International online banks such as N26, Revolut, and Monese do not usually have support for Multibanco, the interbank network in Portugal. This means that you may not be able to pay with MBWay or even a regular debit card at some businesses. It’s advisable to have a Portuguese bank account if you plan to live or work in Portugal for an extended period of time.
  • There have been many cases of digital-only banks closing accounts for “suspicious” activity. This can be difficult for foreigners to deal with, as they can only communicate with the bank via email, in-app, or phone. It is best to spread your risk by opening accounts with multiple banks.

What Is Needed to Open Bank Account in Portugal

To open a bank account in Portugal as a foreigner, you will typically need the following documents:

  • Valid passport or ID
  • Proof of address in Portugal (e.g., utility bill, rental agreement)
  • Portuguese NIF number (Número de Identificação Fiscal)
  • Proof of income (e.g., paycheck stub, employment letter)
  • Initial deposit (amount varies depending on the bank)

Additional documents you may need to provide:

  • Copy of PT apartment lease
  • Paycheck stub (if you are employed in Portugal)
  • NIF record (if you have already obtained one)

Open Bank Account Portugal as Non Resident

If you’re not a Portuguese resident yet, or if you prefer not to make Portugal your first country of residence, or if you just want to do business in Portugal, you’ll be a non-resident. Many Portuguese main street banks allow non-residents to open bank accounts.

However, these international accounts have some limitations. Check your preferred bank beforehand whether they are suited for your needs. Otherwise, a virtual bank account might be better for your situation.

Open Portugal Bank Account Online

If you already have a Portuguese address, but you’re still abroad yourself, arranging to move house, you can open a bank account in Portugal from your home country. Main street banks in Portugal accept online applications too. The application can be completed by sending the application form either online or by snail mail, provided you add (copies of) the documents mentioned above. It most likely will take longer than the very fast online banks.

Virtual Bank Account as an Alternative

There are a number of European online banks that offer easy and convenient ways to open an account, even for non-residents. One of the main benefits of opening a bank account with a European online bank is that you can do it entirely online. This can be a major time-saver, especially if you live outside of Portugal. Another benefit of opening an account with a European online bank is that you can often get lower fees, cheaper international transfers, and more competitive interest rates than with a traditional Portuguese bank


You can open an online bank account in Portugal using N26. This bank offers Euro IBAN, N26 personal account and N26 business account. It takes a few minutes to sign up for N26 account. Once you sign up, you can order a contactless debit MasterCard and start making contactless payments.

Seending and receiving instant SEPA transfers is only free for premium customers. Its international money transfer service is provided in partnership with Wise money transfer, one of the cheapest and fastest money transfer services in the world.

Although most Portuguese banks are not crypto-friendly, N26 has allowed customers in Portugal to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly in their app since 2022.

Open N26 Account


You can also use Wise directly to open a virtual bank account in Portugal. When you open a Wise account, you will get a Euro IBAN and you can use it to make SEPA payments. Wise offers personal accounts or business accounts.

You can hold, send, receive and spend money worldwide in different currencies using Wise multicurrency account. Wise uses real exchange rates for currency conversion.

Open Wise Account


Revolut is an international friendly bank that offers multi-currency accounts in 28 currencies, IBAN for personal accounts and business accounts, virtual cards, money transfer services, and stock and crypto trading.

Revolut’s key products and services include prepaid debit cards, currency exchange, peer to peer payments, withdrawals in over 120 currencies and transfer money directly in over 29 currencies. The bank is a crypto friendly bank, meaning you can buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Open Revolut Account


Monese is a British online bank that accepts customers who are residents of the UK and most of the EU. It offers a multicurrency digital bank with IBAN and supports SEPA payments. You can open EUR or GBP personal, joint or business accounts with Monese. Monese accounts works with contactless payments like Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal.

Open Monese Account


Openbank is a digital bank that is part of the Santander Group. It is a great option for foreigners who want to open a bank account in Portugal. You can open an account right away with Openbank, you don’t even need to show a residence permit, just your passport and a NIF. The process is completely online.

Once you have opened an Openbank account, you will be able to use it to receive and send money, pay bills, and withdraw cash from ATMs. You will also be able to use your Openbank account to open a credit card or other financial products. The bank does not charge any fees for opening or maintaining an account.


Moey is a Portuguese virtual bank that allows you to open an account online with no maintenance or subscription fees. They send you a debit card to your address for free, and also offer virtual debit cards. You can make MB Way payments with Moey, but it does not support over-the-counter cash deposits or accept cash/check deposits. Moey does not offer credit cards, and there is no home banking on a desktop.

Nickel Bank

Nickel Bank is a French bank that is starting to grow in Portugal, and it is a good option for expats who are looking for a low-cost bank account with a simple account opening process and extended opening hours. It accepts customers from 190 nationalities. With a Nickel account, you will have a local payment account and IBAN.

To open a Nickel Bank account in Portugal, you only need an ID (passport or driver’s license) and €20.80 (€20 for the annual package account maintenance commission and €0.80 for stamp duty). There is no minimum opening amount and no overdrafts.

You can register online and then go to a Nickel Agent, a network of local neighbourhood shops, to complete the account opening process. Nickel Agents are typically located in local shops and have extended opening hours. Once you have opened a Nickel Bank account, you will receive a Portuguese IBAN and a Mastercard Nickel Classic debit card.


ActivoBank started in 1994 as the first Phone Bank in Portugal. The bank offers a number of features that make it a good option for foreigners, including no monthly fees. You can open an ActivoBank account online or in person at a branch. If you are opening an account online, you will need to transfer €100 from an existing account in your name. If you are opening an account in person, you will need to deposit €500.

ActivoBank has also partnered with Wise to offer international transfers at the real exchange rate with no markups. This means that you can send money abroad without having to worry about paying high fees or getting a bad exchange rate. You can transfer up to €12,500 per day directly from your ActivoBank app. It suports MB WAY transfers, a Portuguese mobile payment system that allows you to send and receive money using your phone number.

It is possible to make check or cash deposits in your ActivoBank account. However, it has to be done at Millennium BCP Branches and/or Millennium BCP machines.

Banco Best

Expats can open a non-resident account online at Banco Best in Portugal. The account has no monthly fee. If you have a passport from outside the European Union, the Schengen Area, or the United Kingdom, and you do not have a residence permit, you must provide the tax address of your country of origin and proof of that address.

In addition to normal accounts, it offers high-yield savings and investment options for stocks, ETFs, futures, and CFDs.

Best main street banks in Portugal

Most of the banks in Portugal are either international or national. They offer a wide range of products. The following are some of the banks that you might consider opening an account in.


BBVA has an online application process. Their BBVA account costs 8 Euro monthly (minimum first deposit 500 Euro); BBVA salary account 5 Euro monthly (at least 1500 Euro monthly salary deposit); Minimum services account for 4,20 Euro monthly. There’s also a completely English version of the BBVA website available.

Millennium BCP

Millennium BCP is a large private bank in Portugal that offers a variety of banking services to both residents and non-residents. It is a popular bank for most foreign investors going to Portugal under the Golden Visa, such as D2 or D7.

One of the main attractions of Millennium Bank for non-residents is that it is one of the few banks in Portugal that allows foreigners to open an account with just an NIF, passport, proof of income from their home country, and initial deposit of €250. This makes it a popular choice for expats and retirees living in Portugal.

To open a Millennium bank account from abroad, such as the US, you can use Bordr services and an attorney. However, there will be a lot of paperwork involved. You will also need to have a Zoom call with the attorney to witness you signing the documents and pay for services such as FedEx to send the documents.

Millennium Bank offers a variety of account types, including current accounts, savings accounts, and investment accounts.

Novo Banco

Novo Banco is a retail bank for both residents and non-residents. They charge normal fees and have a free bank account. Some expats have managed to open an account with them without a residency permit. Unfortunately, their website is solely in Portuguese language. Additionally, they don’t have Apple Pay, and their app is not considered user-friendly by many users.


Santander is one of the largest banks in Portugal, and it offers a variety of banking services for expats. You can open a bank account with Santander in Portugal by visiting a branch in person or by applying online. If you are applying online, you will need to arrange a video call with a bank representative to verify your identity.

If you have NIF, you can open a Santander account with no residency while in your country if you have a Santander Portuguese branch in your home country. For example, you can open a Santander account without residency in the UK if you go to the Portuguese Santander branch in London, not in a normal UK Santander branch.

Some customers sharing their experiences online have said that they were made to open a health insurance plan (€9/month) as this was a requirement to open a checking account. This is not a general requirement for opening a checking account with Santander Portugal. However, it is possible that some bank representatives may try to sell health insurance to customers, especially if they are expats.


Bankinter is a large bank with several free bank accounts. Online application possible. Unfortunately, their website is solely in Portuguese language. Neighboring Bankinter Spain has a completely English website, so you can try there if you don’t speak Portuguese.

According to the bank’s website, only Portuguese citizens residing in Portugal can open a bank account. However, some foreigners have reportedly been able to open accounts without meeting these requirements. Please note that you cannot open an account online or a zero-fee online account unless you are a Portuguese citizen. If you have a high cash balance, you may be able to negotiate with the bank branch manager to waive fees..

Note that most of the main street banks close at 3:30 pm during weekdays, while some of them remain closed throughout the weekend.

Banking fees in Portugal

Banking fees in Portugal vary depending on the bank and the type of account you hold. However, most banks charge a monthly account maintenance fee, which is typically between €5 and €7. This fee may be waived if you meet certain requirements, such as maintaining a minimum balance or making a certain number of transactions per month. Some banks, especially online banks, offer fee-free accounts, especially for basic checking

Before you can open a bank account, make sure you have read their terms and conditions. This is important especially when you are opening a bank account in a new country. Other bank charges that exist include ATM cash withdrawals, debit and credit fees and cash transfer fees.

Why You Should Open a Bank Account in Portugal as a Foreigner

Foreigners and non-residents can open bank accounts in Portugal. This is important for a number of reasons. First, a Portuguese bank account makes it easier to receive payments from Portuguese employers or clients. It also makes it easier to pay bills and expenses in Portugal, such as rent, utilities, and groceries. Additionally, a Portuguese bank account is required to access financial services such as loans and credit cards.

Furthermore, having a Portuguese bank account can help you build a credit history in Portugal. This can be helpful for a number of things, such as renting an apartment or getting a loan. Finally, a Portuguese bank account can make it easier to travel and live in Portugal. You can use your Portuguese bank card to make payments at stores and restaurants throughout the country. You can also use your Portuguese bank account to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Vincent is a writer and researcher with an interest in finance, banking, startups, and remittance. He holds a Bachelors degree in Applied Statistics with computing. He founded Nexin Startups, an online platform offering startup advice to investors and entrepreneurs. Read more about us and our authors.