There are around 900,000 expats living in Portugal out of a total population of 10.3 million. Most of these expats live in and around Lisbon and Porto or in the Algarve. Many of them, especially those from the UK and the EU, move to Portugal not to find work but to retire, drawn by the agreeable climate, clean white beaches, beautiful countryside and generous, friendly locals.
It is very easy to live and work in Portugal if you’re a European Union citizen who has relocated to the country. However, earning money, spending it, moving it, and managing it becomes an entirely different experience, so here’s some handy financial information for expats that have relocated to Portugal:
This is step number one and, for some reason, the most often ignored. Get yourself a bank account with a local bank.
You simply can’t manage your finances using your account from back home, especially if you’re going to be earning money in your new location. You’ll need a place where you can make withdrawals and deposits without hassle, and without getting charged extensive ATM fees.
If you use a foreign card in a local ATM, you’ll get charged by your bank, as well as the local bank, for one easy transaction. A list of the most popular high street banks of Portugal can be found here
Don’t transfer all your cash to your new bank account. Keep a couple accounts or cards active back home, and keep an active balance on them. Unexpected things may arise at home, and you’re going to need a way to pay for them without incurring unnecessary fees and/or charges.
Having a bank account back home with the main purpose now being for transferring money overseas may seem like a hassle but when it comes to saving you money and getting the best exchange rate, it’s worth it. Using a specialist currency broker will save you time and money as they can take care of this for you. For a list of recommended brokers click here and for a list of brokers with a local office in Portugal click here
If you’re an expat making a bank transfer to or from Portugal you will save money by using a specialist currency broker, as opposed to using your local bank.
Most brokers make no charge at all when transferring larger sums of money but instead make their money on the FX margin rate, which typically is between 0.7 and 1.0 percent (much lower than high street banks typically offer).
More and more expats are choosing to move their money overseas using a specialist currency broker. For a list of recommended brokers who can help you send money to or from Portugal click here
People who have re-located to Portugal may find they’ll need to make regular money transfers as they will be receiving a pension or other income on a regular basis.
Foreign exchange brokers offer regular payment services which cut out a lot of the hassle of sending money to or from Portugal. Most will arrange regular money transfers of £250 or more. Instead of arranging a new transfer with a bank or internet service every month (and incurring a separate set of charges each time) you can instead set up a regular direct debit with a broker, and they will take it from your account, change it into euros, and pay it into the relevant bank account.
Some currency brokers make a small charge for sending, converting and receiving foreign currency into their exchange rate, which is usually much more favourable than rates used by high street banks. As a rule of thumb, brokers who levy small charges usually offer the most competitive exchange rates, so there should be little overall difference in cost.
There are three main options for people using a regular payment service, and who require a high level of certainty about their income and outgoings:
1: You fix the amount that you transfer each time, meaning you always know the cost of the transaction but the amount received in your foreign account will vary on the exchange rate at the time of transfer.
2: You fix the amount of foreign currency you receive each time, so you always know what is coming but the cost of each transaction will vary instead.
3: You fix the exchange rate for up to two years, giving certainty about both your income and the cost of the transaction every time. The benefit of this is certainty, but if exchange rates move in your favour during the fixed-rate period, you will not be able to take advantage of them. Similarly, of course, you are protected if exchange rates move against you.
For a list of recommended brokers who can help you send regular money transfers to or from Portugal click here