By Pedro Souza
October 30th, 2016
If you are planning on living in Brazil, you will probably need to have a bank account here. Opening a bank account in Brazil can be tricky because banks are free to create their own interpretation of policies and rules. That being said, the process is straightforward.
First you need to decide in which bank you want to open an account. Caixa Economica Federal and Banco do Brazil are two government-owned banks that are among the largest banks in Brazil. Other banks that have a strong presence in Brazil are Itaú, Bradesco and Santander. Bradesco however, only allows permanent residents to open a bank account there. One can also open a bank account on Citibank or HSBC. Although these last two have less branches than the others mentioned, they are more used to dealing with foreigners.
Once you have decided which bank you want to open an account in, you need to gather the required documentation. You need to have a permanent or a temporary visa. A tourist visa however, is not accepted, and the duration of your stay needs to be at least one year. You also need to have your passport, the RNE protocol that you received when you registered at the Federal Police and your CPF number, which is your tax ID. Finally, bring a proof of residence such as an electricity bill and a proof of income if you are opening a salary payment account.
With all the necessary documents in hand, go to the nearest branch of the bank of choice and request an account. If you want to open a current account, you should ask for “conta corrente”. For a savings account, ask for a “conta de poupança”. If you have a job in Brazil, you can also get benefits such as lower fees in transactions by opening a salary payment account, known as “conta salário”.
During the process, expect to answer many questions and sign a lot of documents. At this stage, you might experience some problems because most bank workers do not speak english, or speak very poor english. You might consider bringing a translator to help you with this process. Once you are done with the bureaucracy, you finally have your bank account. Congratulations! Now you are eligible to use the banking services of the bank of your choice.