This article was first published on the 3rd of July, 2021 by Patrick Carpen.Last updated: June 10, 2022 at 19:52 pm
If you are a foreigner on a tourist visa, or living illegally in the country, or if you are a foreigner living in one of the freezones, opening a bank account in Brazil is nearly impossible.
All banks will require a CPF and RG (for permanent residents and citizens) or RNM (for temporary residents). In any case, you must at least have at least a Temporary Resident ID card. Getting a Temporary Resident ID card is not that difficult. The problem is that most Brazilians, even lawyers, don’t know how to go about doing it, or they are not willing to share the information.
If you need help getting a Temporary Resident ID Card in Brazil, please contact us, and we will be happy to offer our legal services.
If you have a Brazilian ID card, then you can open a bank account. A few banks will ask for proof of address such as a utility bill (light, water, telephone, etc). However, most banks will not require it. Further, most bank accounts in Brazil can be opened online. It’s simply and straightforward. They will verify your ID electronically and most likely approve your bank account within a few days. Most online applications do not require proof of address, but all will require that you are the holder of a Brazilian ID card.
Some of the most popular banks in Brazil include:
Banco do Brasil
Bradesco is a national bank in Brazil which does not have much relations outside of the country. Bradesco most often issues the ELO credit/debit card which is accepted everywhere in Brazil but at few places internationally or on the internet.
Banco do Brasil, like Bradesco, is a national bank with very little connections to other countries. Unlike Bradesco, Banco do Brasil does not open bank account for Temporary Residents. You must be a Permanent Resident or Citizen.
Sicoob is a great national bank in Brazil with good connections to international banking services. Upon opening a bank account at Sicoob, you will be issued with a temporary Credit/Debit card that you can use in the interim period of 30 days while your actual credit/debit card is mailed to the bank. Sicoob generally issues Visa and Mastercard which, unlike ELO, are accepted almost everywhere online and internationally.
Sicredi – Sicredi is one of Brazil’s most popular national banks.
Nubank. Nubank, created around 2013 by two foreigners, has an interesting history and was said to be created specifically to help foreigners in Brazil open a bank account easily. A Nubank account is opened only online as it does not have a physical branches. Customer service is offered completely online by phone or email. Ironically, Nubank does not offer anything that they other banks don’t in terms of helping foreigners to open a bank account in Brazil. In order to open a Nubank account, you must have a Brazilian ID card.
Santander – Santander is a great international bank with operations in Brazil under the same name. The requirements are pretty much the same as opening any other bank account. Santander will issue two credit cards: one for real world transactions and one for online purchases. The 3-digit verification code of the online (virtual) credit card will change from time to time to help protect against credit card fraud.
Caixa Economica – Caixa economica is a national bank in Brazil and seems to be the most popular choice for Brazilians for some reason.