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ADVICE #227

How to choose a bank in Portugal?

The main lending institution in Portugal is the State Savings Bank (Caixa Geral de Depósitos). In total, the country has two of the most common types of banks - clearing and savings. The major banking groups include Portugal Banco Commercial Portuguese, Champalimaud Group and Banco Espiríto Santo. Foreign banks present in Portugal - Barclays, Citibank, Deutsch Bank and Rheinhyp have the most departments  - but work mainly in Lisbon and Porto.Over the past decade, the Portuguese banks have been improved, but in comparison with banks in other European countries, they are still frustratingly slow and not especially prepared to work with the foreigners.Choosing a bank in Portugal, it is necessary to be patient and learn Portuguese, or find a translator. Service in local banks is leisurely and even simple transaction can take at least half an hour. With regard to the English language, only a small percentage of citizens speak it in the country, and not all banks are ready to provide English-speaking clerk (websites of the Portuguese banks often do not have the English version). Furthermore, even if the bank's staff understand that they are dealing with a foreigner, all the documents will be made available in Portuguese, if the reansaltion has not been  previously requested (this service is provided by some banks).However, there are many bank departments in the country - in recent years, opening offices directly in the supermarkets has become a common practice. And Portuguese ATMs are among the best in the world.

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