Cheap Ways to Send Money to Portugal Efficiently

Belem-Tower

Hunting around for the best exchange rate and lowest fees can save you a whole lot of money when you need to transfer funds to Portugal.

There are more than 425,000 people of Portuguese descent living in Canada today, with many situated in the downtown core of Toronto in the neighbourhood known as Little Portugal. What’s more, thousands of Canadians travel to Portugal each year to visit the beautiful beaches, colourful cities and port towns. While Canada and Portugal enjoy strong diplomatic and trade relations, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to send a personal money transfer from Canada to Portugal or vice versa.

Whether you’re sending money to family, buying goods from an overseas seller or you need to transfer funds to pay your property in Portugal, you have plenty of transfer options to choose from. It’s essential that you shop around and compare a range of these options to find an affordable deal.

Compare money transfer services below

Rates last updated May 25th, 2018
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Description Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
TransferWise International Money Transfers
$5
1 - 2 days
Online
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts.
Exclusive: World First International Money Transfers
USD 250
1 day
Online, Phone
Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee and discounted exchange rates for your first trade only.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in more than 130 currencies.
TorFX International Money Transfers
USD 150
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.

Send money overseas in 45 currencies.
Exclusive: OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
USD 150
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
AUD 0
Within an hour
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
The ‘Rate’ and ‘Amount Received’ displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

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Banks versus money transfer companies

If you need to send money from Canada to Portugal, the first option you may very well consider could be your bank since they look after all your other financial needs. With this in mind, why not use their services when you need to send an international money transfer?

Unfortunately, banks have a bad reputation for offering very poor exchange rates to their customers, not to mention charging unnecessarily high transfer fees for each transaction. In other words, a significantly smaller amount of money will arrive in your recipient’s bank account than the amount you pay for the transaction.

The good news is that there are much more affordable options available today. Recent years have seen the rise of specialist online money transfer companies that offer dedicated money transfer services for affordable prices. These companies, for example TransferWise and WorldRemit, offer better exchange rates and lower transfer fees than the big banks. In some cases, companies will even waive their transfer fees completely when you send a large amount, so they can offer you a much better deal when you need to send large amounts of money to Portugal.

Case study: Cristiano sends money to Portugal

Cristiano is living and working in Nova Scotia after meeting a Canadian girl while travelling through Europe. However, he wants to send some of the money he has earned (CAD$2,000) back home to his parents in Lisbon as a gift for their retirement. He decides to compare the services of his Canadian bank with those of a money transfer company to see which provider can offer him the better deal.

BankMoney transfer company
Exchange rate$1 CAD = 0.64 EUR$1 CAD = 0.66 EUR
Transfer fee$25$4
Transfer methodBank account transferOnline transfer
Processing timeThree to five daysOne to three days
Amount received (in EUR)€1,280€1,320

As the table shows, Cristiano can save $21 in transfer fees if he uses a money transfer company instead of his bank and his parents will also receive almost €40 extra. Furthermore, they will also receive the money slightly faster than they would if Cristiano had used his bank to send the funds.

How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Portugal?

You’ll need to consider the following factors when comparing money transfer companies:

  • Exchange rates. The better the exchange rate you can secure, the more money that will arrive in your recipient’s pocket. Shop around for a company that consistently offers great exchange rates, but watch out for companies that attach high transfer fees to their competitive exchange rates.
  • Transfer fees. Consider how much it will cost you to send a transfer. Fees can vary substantially from one provider to the next, and some companies will even allow you to avoid their fees completely if you transfer a large amount of money at once.
  • Transfer methods. How can you place a transfer? Is the transaction handled entirely online or can you also place a transfer over the phone or by visiting a branch location?
  • Transfer options. While some companies only offer one-off transfers, others offer flexible options such as limit orders and forward contracts to help you get the exchange rate you want for your transaction. Some money transfer providers will also offer the convenience of scheduling regular payments in advance.
  • Transfer time. Make sure you look at how long it will take for the funds you send to make it to your recipient. If a company claims to offer super-fast transfers, you might have to be prepared to pay extra for this service.
  • Minimum amounts. Check to see whether there are any minimum transfer limits that you must exceed with each transaction and whether or not it is feasible for you to do so. Some companies have low minimum transfer amounts, around $10, while others have much higher minimums, around $500 or more.
  • Pickup methods. How will your recipient access the money you send? Will the funds go directly to your bank account or can you collect the cash from an agent location?
  • Customer service. Check to see what customer service options are available so that if you ever need help, you can access it quickly and easily. Some companies will offer web chat, online help, email, phone and in-person assistance.

How do I send money to Portugal from Canada?

  • Online money transfer companies. Known for their attractive exchange rates, low transfer fees and convenient transfer options, online money transfer companies can help you send money from Canada to Portugal. TransferWise, WorldRemit and TorFX are three examples of these types of companies.
  • Cash pickup transfer companies. If you want to send funds to Portugal and allow your recipient to collect cash from an agent location, companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram can send your funds in a speedy manner.
  • PayPal. PayPal’s international money transfer service makes it affordable to send smaller amounts of money to Portugal and other locations around the world.
  • Bank transfers. Any major Canadian bank can help you send funds to Portugal, but banks charge higher fees and offer poor exchange rates compared to those offered by specialist online transfer providers.
  • International cheques. International guaranteed cheques can be obtained from your bank and sent overseas, but this transfer method is time consuming and costly. It is the slowest way to send money overseas.

How do I receive money from Portugal in Canada?

  • Online money transfer. There are several online money transfer companies that offer quick and easy transfers from Portugal to Canada.
  • Cash pickup transfer. You can collect funds sent from Portugal via a company like Western Union or MoneyGram from a branch location in Canada.
  • PayPal. PayPal’s international money transfer service makes it simple and convenient to receive small transfer amounts. Both you and your recipient will need PayPal accounts, but these are easy and free to setup.
  • Bank transfers. Your bank offers easy international money transfers and can also offer urgent transfers in the case of an emergency.
  • Cheques. You can cash an international cheque with your Canadian bank, but make sure you’re aware of any fees that will apply to your transaction. It may also take a long time for the cheque to be mailed from Portugal to Canada.

Emergency cash transfers in Portugal

Sometimes you may need to send an emergency cash transfer as quickly as possible between Canada and Portugal. Luckily, there are a couple of companies that offer overseas cash transfers that can be picked up just minutes after the transaction is sent.

When using your bank or another specialist provider to send an emergency transfer, make sure to double check the exchange rate that will apply to your transaction. There’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a higher transaction fee as well, so make sure to closely check all of the details of your transaction before sending your funds.

Cash pickup locations in Portugal/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Portugal

Western Union and MoneyGram are the world’s largest providers of international money transfers. Each company offers hundreds of thousands of agent locations around the globe and makes sending money easy and fast from Canada to Portugal and vice versa.

Details of some popular cash pickup locations are provided below. Make sure your recipient takes along photo ID and a transaction reference number when they go to collect the cash. It’s also recommended that they call ahead to confirm the locations address and hours of operation.

Western Union

Lisbon

  • Millennium BCP
    Avenida Almirante Reis 15 B Anjos Lisboa, Lisboa 1100
    +351-21-3937462
    Open 8:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday
  • Banco BPI
    Rua Da Palma 292 298 0522 Martim Moniz Lisboa, Lisboa 1100394
    +351-808200510
    Open 8:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday

Porto

  • Millennium BCP
    Rua Mouzinho Albuquerque 136 Julio Dinis Porto, Porto 4100
    +351-21-3937462
    Open 8:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday
  • Lucdeia LDA
    Rua Nossa Senhora Fatima 429 Porto, 4050 428
    +351-2-214245179
    Open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday

MoneyGram

Lisbon

  • Novobanco
    Rua da Palma
    Lisboa, 1100391
    218834015
    Open 8:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday
  • Mini Mercado
    Rua da Palma 263 RC
    Lisboa, 1100-391
    961869165
    Open 8am to 11pm seven days

Porto

  • Novobanco
    Rua Julio Dinis
    Porto, 4050327
    228336263
    Open 8:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday
  • Montepio
    Rua da Boavista 782
    Cedofeita Porto, 4050105
    351226009377
    Open 8:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday

Tips for picking up cash in Portugal

Although Portugal is classified as a safe country to visit by the Government of Canada, you should still exercise the following simple safety precautions when picking up cash:

  • Take a friend along to provide extra security
  • Don’t display your cash in public
  • Avoid travelling through any high-crime areas
  • Don’t carry large sums of money around
  • Deposit the funds into your bank account or a safe place as soon as possible

What are the steps to send money to Portugal?

While the exact process for sending money from Canada to Portugal will vary depending on the transfer service provider you choose, you will generally need to:

  1. Set up an account. You can often do this online and you may need to provide your name, address, proof of ID and bank account details.
  2. Enter details about your transaction. You’ll need to provide details about the amount of money you wish to send, in which currency and where it will be going.
  3. Provide your recipient’s details. Provide cash pickup or bank account details for your recipient, including their full name.
  4. Pay for your transfer. Submit your transfer and pay for the transaction. In some cases, you may need to pass on a reference number to your recipient.

There are plenty of options available when you need to send money to Portugal, so compare the choices at your disposal before you hand over any of your hard-earned cash.

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