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Open a Bank Account in Portugal - 2021 Procedure

Open a Bank Account in Portugal

Updated on Tuesday 11th May 2021

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Individuals who live and work in Portugal, as well as non-residents and foreign business owners, can open Portuguese bank accounts for multiple purposes, from receiving income to paying bills and also for new companies. In order to open a bank account in Portugal applicants will need to choose a bank and provide a set of documents. Our team of lawyers in Portugal highlights the main steps and issues to consider when deciding to open a bank account in Portugal.
 

Opening bank account in Portugal for non-residents

 
Choosing a bank in Portugal can be based on a number of factors and personal preferences. Some banks offer lower fees while others may have more branches and ATMs throughout the country. Non-residents may prefer to open a bank account with a branch of an international bank also available in Portugal. In general, most banks will require the following types of documents from individuals who open a bank account:
 
  • fiscal identification number;
  • proof of income and residence in Portugal;
  • ID, national ID card or passport;
  • contact details, such as address and telephone number.
 
Some banks in Portugal may offer special types of bank accounts for non-residents. We recommend that foreign employees and investors explore the available options and choose one that best suits their interests. For foreign employees, our team of attorneys in Portugal can provide in-depth information about the conditions for doing business and opening a bank account in Portugal in 2021. Here is an infographic that explains all the details:
 
 
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Bank account in Portugal for company formation

 
A corporate bank account is needed in Portugal for newly incorporated legal entities. This will apply to the corporation (SA), limited liability company (Lda) or other business forms. One of our lawyers in Portugal can give you additional information about corporate banking matters as well as the other steps needed for company formation.
 

Banking Law in Portugal

 
The Portuguese Banking Law is integrated with the international and European laws for banking institutions as well as the financial markets. The Bank of Portugal is the banking regulator in the country and the body that establishes the management of credit institutions, financial companies, and banks. The team of experts at our law firm in Portugal can assist you in all matters related to the Portuguese banking and financial model as well as the specific regulations in place for the supervision of these institutions.
 

The legal framework for banks in Portugal in 2021

 
The main issues addressed in the Banking Law in Portugal include but are not limited to the monetary policies and the exchange policies applicable in the country, the issuance of the banknotes and other issues related to payment systems. A main legal source for the conduct of banks, credit, and financial institutions is the Credit Institutions and Financial Companies General Legal Framework. Payment institutions are subject to a different, targeted framework. The Bank of Portugal may issue additional instructions, notices or regulations, apart from the main legal resources. A separate legal framework is in place for credit institutions and financial companies in Portugal. This addresses the issues of authorization and registration for these types of companies, the supervisory procedures, the qualifications of the board members and the managers as well as rules for transparency and conduct with clients.
 
One of our lawyers in Portugal can offer you complete information on the legal framework for banks in the country as well as for credit and financial institutions.
 

Can I open a Portuguese bank account from overseas?

 
Yes, it is quite simple to open a bank account from abroad instead of traveling to Portugal. This is a simple process that can be entirely handled by one of our Portuguese lawyers who can help foreigners easily open a bank account, whether for personal purposes or for a company.
 

Portugal is part of SEPA

 
SEPA is the Single Euro Payments Area that allows foreigners in Portugal to use their bank accounts and make money transfers anywhere in EU free of charge. SEPA covers 19 EU states, plus other 10 territories and countries. For more details about SEPA and bank accounts in Portugal, you can solicit the support of our Portuguese lawyers.
 

Are there high maintenance costs for bank accounts in Portugal?

 
No, most of the banks do not charge for opening new accounts, yet, other services might be subject to specific fees. Some banks do not impose fees for ATM withdrawals, the use of POS, or SEPA transfers. In recent years, the bank institutions changed their policies in terms of fees and other costs, so most banks provide many benefits from this point of view. Once you decide on the bank you want to work with, you will receive complete information about the fees solicited.
 

Paying bills with your bank account

 
It is quite simple to use your bank account for different payments. Utility bills can be easily paid, but one should pay attention to the fees involved. Some banks provide payments free of charge while others impose some costs. In any case, such information is normally provided by the bank or you can simply verify your account online and see the information provided. If you want to open a bank account in Portugal in 2021, feel free to discuss it with our advisors.
 

Investors and Golden visas in Portugal

 
International entrepreneurs interested in real estate investments or starting a business in Portugal must qualify for the Golden Visa. This means that a bank account is mandatory. The Golden Visa Programme provides a lot of benefits for foreign investors, such as low taxation or even exemptions, but under certain conditions that must be respected entirely. For instance, investments of EUR 500,000 in the real estate sector grants the residency permits for investors and their families. Because the investment is made in Portugal, opening a bank account is required. We remind that our team of lawyers in Portugal can help you obtain the Golden Visa and can also provide assistance for opening a bank account. For more details and advice, please feel free to address to our specialists.
 

Offshore business bank account in Portugal

 
Investors worldwide can open offshore business bank accounts in Portugal. Such bank accounts address to global companies with ownership or activities outside Europe. International fund transfers can be made quite fast, with the help of internet banking services tailored to the needs of business owners. Currency diversification, a private relationship manager contact point, wire transfers inside and outside the EU, and the possibility of paying and receiving funds in Euro currency are among the services provided by financial institutions that offer offshore business bank accounts.
 
There are numerous advantages related to offshore bank accounts, such as borderless account opening, no political risks, best foreign exchange rates, lower transfer costs, and other premium facilities. Any type of business structure is eligible for offshore bank accounts. For more details, please address your inquiries to our team.
 

What is the best currency to use in Portugal?

 
Euro is the best currency in Portugal and it is also the main currency in this country. Most of the transactions are made in Euro, yet, bank account owners in Portugal have the possibility of using any kind of currency, as long as it is accepted by the bank or financial institution.
 

Switching the bank account in Portugal. Is this hard?

 
Switching or closing the bank account in Portugal must respect a few important steps, mostly related to the documents. Each bank in Portugal imposes different rules and procedures. The transfer services might be good options for those interested in switching the bank account. It is important to consider opening a new bank account before closing the previous one, to avoid the time in which you won’t have access to such an account. This way, you can also transfer the money in complete safety.
 
Then, it is recommended to obtain the writing confirmation from the bank you want to close the account, check if there are any fees to pay our outstanding payments. The entire process of switching the bank account is not time-consuming and can be done in a couple of days. Such procedures can be entirely explained by one of our Portuguese lawyers who can deal and handle the formalities and requirements imposed. If you are interested in opening or switching a bank account as a foreign citizen or owner of a company from abroad, we invite you to talk to our team.
 

Bank services offered in Portugal

 
Most of the financial operations can be made online, in complete protection, with the help of a wide range of services provided by the banks in Portugal. Both natural persons and companies in Portugal can receive internet banking services to make money transfers, payments, currency exchange, balance verifications, money transfers between accounts, and many more. 
 
Customers can solicit special banking services such as setting a withdrawal limit or asking for a specific type of card. Most of the services offered by the bank are free of charge, however, it is recommended to verify all the conditions and fees involved in opening a bank account. Don’t hesitate to talk to our lawyers in Portugal if you want to open a bank account for personal use or for your firm.
 

Opening a bank account linked to the business in Portugal

 
A bank account must be opened at the time the company registration starts, and that to deposit the minimum share capital. This is the first financial operation connected to the future company, as the provisionary bank account will turn into a permanent one. We remind that a bank account in Portugal can be opened only after the business is registered with the Portuguese authorities, it has all the licenses and permits issued. You should ask our specialists if you want to set up a bank account in Portugal, in order to receive all the needed support.
 

FAQ about bank accounts in Portugal

 
1. Is it hard to open a bank account in Portugal?
No, you don’t have to worry about the formalities for opening a bank account in Portugal because these are quite simple. Once the personal documents are accepted by the bank, you can receive details about the bank account in a couple of days.
 
2. Can I open a bank account in Portugal if I’m abroad?
Yes, this is often the choice of foreign entrepreneurs who would rather talk to an advisor instead of traveling to Portugal for opening a bank account. One of our Portuguese lawyers can offer legal advice and support.
 
3.  What is a corporate bank account?
A corporate bank account is needed for companies incorporated in Portugal. This will serve to depositing the minimum share capital and for future financial operations in the firm.
 
4. What documents do I need for opening a bank account in Portugal?
A copy of the identification card is needed, alongside utility bills to prove the residency in Portugal. The bank will also offer some forms to complete with personal information. In the case of investors, the bank is entitled to ask for information about the source of funds before opening the account.
 
5. Do I need a representative for opening a bank account in Portugal?
Yes, foreign investors intending to open a company in Portugal must have a representative to act in their interests, including for opening a bank account. One of our lawyers in Portugal can help foreigners, with a power of attorney. We can also represent your business in Portugal, so feel free to talk to us.
 

Assistance for banking law matters in Portugal

 
Our team of lawyers in Portugal can help you in all matters involving banking regulations and corporate law. Our banking and finance lawyers can give you complete information about banking regulations, the requirements for companies and individuals and the process of opening a bank account for the purpose of company formation.Our team can help you with information related to financial transactions and the regulations that govern them as well as in all matters related to the treatment of financial companies and those that engage in activities related to portfolio acquisitions or the management of specialized financial investment vehicles.
 

Why make investments in Portugal

 
Portugal provides a great business climate for both local and international businesspersons, so considering the advantages offered will be a plus right from the beginning. The tax system, the investment encouragements offered by the government, the support of a stable economy and skilled workforce are a few of Portugal’s strong points when it comes to attracting investments. The tourism sector, agriculture, the real estate sector, research & development, IT, and communication are prolific sectors chosen by foreigners for a wide range of investments. The following facts and figures referring to the economy of Portugal can help foreigners decide on investments in this country in a fast manner:
 
  1. The 2020 Doing Business report issued by the World Bank ranks Portugal 39th out of 190 economies in the world;
  2. Around USD 136,000 million was the total FDI registered for Portugal in 2018;
  3. Non-EU investors can gain the Portuguese citizenship in 6 years if they join specific investment programs implemented by the government;
  4. Around 25% of the foreign investments in Portugal come from the Netherlands, followed by Spain with around a 19% rate.
 
We invite you to contact the team of attorneys at our law firm in Portugal for personalized answers to your questions and complete legal advice about how to open a bank account in Portugal in 2021.