Portugal money & credit card

What is the currency in Portugal?

The Euro (€) is the official currency of Portugal and the European Union. 

Currency Converter by OANDA

Money and cards in Portugal *

Credit cards: Visa is the most widely used payment system in Portugal. Mastercard is less common but is increasingly used.

Pay by card: Payments can be made with a debit or credit card. By law, foreign transaction fees can no longer be charged on cashless payments by debit or credit card in all EU countries. Cashless payment is therefore possible in Portugal free of charge.

Exchanging money: - Currency exchange offices are mainly located in the main cities, ie in areas with more tourists and at the airports and large shopping centers. You can also find Western Union branches here.

Credit Card Use in Portugal

In Portugal, it's possible to use credit cards without requiring tap capability, a chip, or a PIN for transactions. Some users have reported that their chip-less Visa cards work fine without a PIN across various services, including taxis and hotels. American Express is also accepted at some venues.

Contactless payment options are increasing, and while having a card with tap capability can be convenient, it's not always necessary. It's also mentioned that not all transactions with credit cards require a PIN, although debit cards might need one at ATMs.

Travelers should beware of dynamic currency conversion (DCC), where merchants offer to charge in the home currency, like US dollars, instead of euros. This could result in unfavorable exchange rates, so it's best to insist on being charged in the local currency.

For ATMs, some may charge fees for withdrawals, and it's suggested to look for banks that do not impose these fees or to have an account that refunds any ATM fees incurred abroad.

In summary, having the most recent credit card technology is recommended, and caution should be exercised to avoid additional transaction fees. It's always good practice to inform your credit card issuer about your travel plans to avoid any disruptions.

Withdraw money in Portugal

The topic of withdrawing money with a credit card is complex and confusing. This is also due to the fact that there are many card providers, each with different conditions and fees (depending on the type of card). Before you start your trip, you should therefore check with your bank whether cash withdrawals are possible with your card and what fees will apply. 

Debit card or credit card ?

In Portugal, financial institutions are forbidden from charging fees for cash withdrawals at ATMs. However, if the withdrawal is made using a credit card (referred to as a "cash advance"), it may be subject to commissions related to the credit facility and possibly interest rates. 

It is important to understand the difference between these two scenarios.

  • If you have a debit card, you can withdraw cash in Portugal regardless of the ATM network without paying any fees. Debit cards typically carry the MB, Visa Electron, or Maestro logos.
  • Credit cards, identified by the Visa, Mastercard, or Amex logos, treat cash withdrawals as a form of borrowing. Consequently, withdrawing cash on a credit card usually incurs a fixed fee per transaction, a percentage on the amount drawn, and possibly interest rates.
  • If you have a mixed card featuring both debit and credit brands (MB, Visa Electron, or Maestro for debit; Visa, Mastercard, or Amex for credit):
  • There are no fees for withdrawals made as debit transactions.
  • Withdrawals made as credit transactions may carry fees.
  • When signing a card use agreement, it is recommended to ask your payment service provider (usually your bank) what payment brands the card includes, as well as the card's features (functions, costs, and security). The provider should ensure that cardholders can clearly identify the payment brands and the categories of cards (prepaid, debit, or credit) included.
  • If you own a credit card or a mixed card, inquire with your payment service provider about costs associated with credit withdrawals. You can also check your provider's price list on the Banco do Cliente Portal.

  • Review your card type. If it is a debit card, fees for cash withdrawals at ATMs are not allowed. If the card facilitates credit withdrawals, fees may be charged for these transactions.

If your card is only a debit card , you can withdraw cash (€) from Multibanco ATMs in Portugal, regardless of which network the ATM used belongs to, without having to pay commissions for this withdrawal. Debit cards are usually those that integrate only one or more of the following brands: MB, Visa Electron and Maestro.

If your card is a credit card , the withdrawal of cash is carried out on credit (also called prepayment ) and implies the payment of commissions (generally a fixed amount per transaction and a percentage of the amount made available) and, finally, interest. Credit cards typically include one of the following brands: Visa, Mastercard or Amex. 

Spring in Portugal

Do I have a debit or credit card?

Check your card before departure. If it is a debit card, Multibanco cannot charge you commissions for withdrawing money from ATMs. If your card allows credit withdrawals, you may have to pay commissions on these transactions.

We recommend that you find out more about this topic before you start your journey, e.g. B. at your bank or credit card company.

What is the difference between a debit card and a credit card ?

Debit Cards:

  • Spend your own money directly from your bank account.
  • No borrowed funds – no interest charges for purchases.
  • Can withdraw cash from ATMs using linked bank funds.
  • Does not help in building credit history.

Credit Cards:

  • Borrow money from the card issuer up to a set credit limit.
  • Interest charged if the balance isn't fully paid by due date.
  • Offers rewards and benefits, such as cash back and insurance.
  • Helps build credit history when used responsibly.
  • Requires at least a minimum payment each month on the outstanding balance.
  • Allows cash advances with typically higher interest rates and fees.

In essence, debit cards use your own money, while credit cards let you borrow money that you must pay back over time, potentially with added interest and benefits.

ATM Maschine in Portugal
ATM Maschine in Portugal

Be careful: do not confuse the ATM machines

There are other cash withdrawal providers in Portugal. Euronet operates ATMs in Portugal. At Euronet, for example, withdrawing money in Germany usually costs between 1.95 euros and 4.99 euros. We recommend that you inform yourself beforehand.

This is not a multibanco machine 

Multibanco Portugal MB - The Multibanco ATMs

Multibanco Portugal
Multibanco Portugal

Cash withdrawals in Portugal are mainly made at Multibanco ATMs . This is the easiest way to access your bank account. Transfers can also be made using this system. For the Multibanco system you need a valid bank card with a chip and PIN code.

Any cardholder of the international cards accepted in the Multibanco network can withdraw money at any time . The vending machine software is available in five languages. It issues values ​​between 10 and 400 euros, available by selecting predefined or user-selected amounts. The user cannot withdraw more than 400 euros per day, the maximum amount per withdrawal is 200 euros. 

Multibanco ATM Portugal
Multibanco ATM Portugal
Multibanco Menu
Multibanco Menu

Levantamentos = withdrawl

Ferragudo - Algarve

* Please note: The information published on this website has been compiled to the best of our knowledge and belief and is intended to provide guidance when planning your trip. Changes can occur at any time, so we assume no liability for the accuracy of the information. We therefore expressly recommend that you find out more about this topic before you start your journey, e.g. B. at your bank or credit card company.