Portuguese money

Money makes the world go round, so before going abroad it’s a good idea to look into the currency of your chosen destination. To keep up to date with the latest news effecting Spanish currency go to


Portugal is a member of the European Union (EU) and the euro-zone. This means you can move from certain EU counties to others without having to exchange funds. However, it also means that the fortunes of one country have an effect on the currency of others.

Coins start with the 1 cent piece and end with the 2 euro piece whilst notes can be found in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euro denominations. Whilst the denomination side of the coins remains the same throughout the euro-zone the face side image varies from country to country.

Although foreign currencies can be changed into Euro’s at currency exchange kiosks at airports and banks (among other places) it is more important now than ever to transfer your funds at the right time. Getting the best exchange rate possible can save you money and really help your global transition. If you’re emigrating it’s strongly recommended that you seek advice from a trusted currency broker. TorFX are one of the most well known and trusted brokers out there.


If your stay in Spain is going to be of some duration you’ll probably need a Portuguese bank account. There are several national banks in Portugal, with the two largest being Santander Totta and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya (BBVA). There are also numerous regional banks.

As always, shop around and find the bank which offers the best services for you. If you deposit foreign currency into a Portuguese Bank account you will need to request immediately that it be converted to Euros. If you don’t you may encounter problems when you try to do it later.

In recent years bank ‘branches’ have been established in supermarkets and Portugal has the most developed European supermarket banking network (e.g. Banco Portuguese do Atlantico teamed up with Jeronimo Martins’ retail group to open branches called Expresso Atlantico in Pingo Doce and Feira Nova supermarkets, and in shopping centres). Supermarket outlets rely on telephone banking for personal banking services. There are no drive-in banks in Portugal.

There are also several foreign banks operating in Portugal, although there are fewer (with an overall smaller market share) than in most other European countries. Foreign banks are present in Lisbon and some also in Porto, but branches are rare in other towns, although in recent years branches have opened on the Algarve. Foreign banks include Barclays, Citibank, Deutsch Bank and Rheinhyp (a major German mortgage bank).

Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 3pm (or from 8.30am to 11.45am and from 1 to 3pm in smaller towns) and are closed at weekends and on public holidays. In Lisbon and some resorts on the Algarve, some bank branches open in the evening to change money.