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Using a Brazilian Bank Account

Payments in Brazil are often made with credit or debit cards. International credit cards are widely accepted, although local cash withdrawal services may be restricted in certain cases.

In spite of the high degree of banking automation in Brazil, and the possibility of paying most utility bills online, many Brazilians still pay their bills at the cashier in their local bank. Therefore, be prepared for large queues at cash tills.

Banking is not free in Brazil. Most banks charge a monthly all-in fee for basic services, including a check book containing 20 checks. Depending on the chosen package of services and account balances, banks award points that can be used to defray charges.

Check books are still widely used, especially by companies, but are being increasingly replaced by debit cards, especially for retail purchases, since many stores simply no longer accept checks. Issuing a check without sufficient funds is a crime, subject to severe administrative and legal sanctions.

In many bank branches there are check dispensers. These function like an ATM, but they issue checks, usually in sheets containing four checks, and are for those who don't need or want a conventional check book. Customers can print out as many checks as they need, when they need them, subject to their arrangements with the bank. This checks-on-demand option actually saves banks money that would otherwise be spent in the printing, storage and distribution of conventional check books. The number of checks to which account holders are entitled will be predetermined in the monthly tariff negotiated with the bank.

Opening hours

Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00.