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How to receive money in Portugal

Whether you’re a freelancer working remotely, a student living in Portugal or a fully-fledged expat, this article will help you to receive money in Portugal from the UK in the most convenient and cost-effective way.

Portugal is an increasingly popular destination for UK citizens, whether for retirement or working abroad. If you’re living in Portugal, how can you ensure you receive timely payments from the UK and other countries?

Bank transfer

Assuming the money is being sent within the EU (including the UK), if you use a bank transfer, you’ll need to provide the sender with your International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and SWIFT code; these can both be found on your bank statement. While receiving currency in Portugal through a bank transfer is one of the most secure methods you can use, charges such as fees and any exchange rate mark-up are often poorly communicated.

High-street money transfer operators

High-street operators can be convenient, as your sender should be able to locate various options in most towns across Portugal. No registration is required; your sender simply hands over their money and pays the corresponding fees. They’ll then receive a code, which they pass on to you. Afterwards, you go to your closest branch and collect the money. Obviously, you’ll need to make sure there’s a branch close to where you are. This is a fast way to receive your money and fees can vary. It is also important to check if your service is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, or its counterparts in other countries, to ensure that your money is protected.

Foreign exchange (FX) broker

This is a common  way to send money if you’re dealing with a larger amount – for example, if you’re looking to buy a house in Portugal and need money transferred from the UK to a Portuguese account. FX brokers tend to be specialists in currency transactions so they can get excellent exchange rates, and they often don’t charge a fee. Money will often be delivered to your account on the same day it’s transferred. The setup process can be time consuming, as your sender will need to open an FX account with the broker and then pay money into it.

Online money transfer service

For convenience’s sake, it may be that your sender finds that the best way to transfer money is to use an online payments or transfer service from the comfort of their own home. You can generally rely on high levels of transaction security; however fees and exchange rates vary.

International payments or money transfer apps

There’s an increasing desire for the ability to make payments on the move, and the growing trend for mobility is seeing new digital products reach the marketplace regularly. The financial technology – or ‘fintech’ – sector keeps on expanding, and there are new and disruptive brands and products popping up all the time. The FX possibilities and rates are difficult to assess due to the ever-changing nature of the sector, so it’s best to proceed on a case-by-case basis.


A great way to make international payments is PagoFX, recently launched by Santander – one of the world’s leading banks. You don’t need to be a Santander customer to use PagoFX, it’s open to anyone with a UK debit card and gives you transparent low costs and no hidden fees. No matter who is sending you money from the UK, they’ll know exactly what exchange rate they’re getting and how many euros you will receive.

Payments can arrive in just a few minutes, if sent before the cut-off time on a business day. The cut-off for euros is currently 2.30pm UK time, but you can find more information on cut-off times here. As PagoFX is backed by one of the world’s most trusted banks, you and your sender can feel confident that your money and personal data are protected with bank-level security,

Download PagoFX today from the App Store or Google Play or sign up and start making payments at

(Information correct as of 1 June 2020)