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Money Transfers for Expats in Portugal

Submitted: September 2014

Portugal does not impose any restrictions on inbound and outbound money transfers. Freedom of capital is guaranteed by EU law. Moving money across borders is generally not fee-free, except for Euro transfers within the Single European Payments Area (SEPA).

In practice, you should plan for this in advance, as money transfers can get quickly very expensive if you need your money urgently. Do also check if your financial intermediary is reliable enough, be it in terms of service quality or value for money.

The easiest way is transfer money is to proceed with an international bank transfer.Using a money transfer company is perfectly fine as well. In both cases however, you will need to have a Portuguese bank account in the first place.  Thus, you may have to withdraw cash from Portuguese ATMs for a while.

You may also consider requesting your home country bank to issue a cheque, which can then be cleared in a Portuguese bank account. This process is quite lengthy though, and it may be expensive.

 

Fees

Portuguese banks would likely charge for international money transfers (inbound/outbound). Euro transfers within the EEA or Switzerland (SEPA transfers) are generally the cheapest, if not free. Of course, you might wish to check the applicable charges at your bank. Typically, the charges are considerably higher when there is a foreign exchange element.

Alternatively, you can use the services of a money transfer company. Such companies tend to offer the cheapest money transfer options available on the market. To save money, you can also use a price comparison website specialised in money transfers.

The fees charged by a company specialised in money transfers are without prejudice to the fees that your bank may charge on transfers to the money transfer company.

 

Cash control rules

You are free to carry as much cash as you like when you cross the Portuguese border. If you are going to, or coming from, a non-EU country you must make a declaration to the Portuguese customs authority if the amount exceeds €10,000 (or foreign currency equivalent).

Cash control rules cover any liquid assets. This would include banknotes, bearer securities, or traveller’s cheques.

 

 



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