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Using a credit card in Portugal

Get a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees and save money while travelling in Portugal.

If you’re travelling to Portugal with a Visa or Mastercard in hand, you’ll be able to use it at hundreds of restaurants, shops and businesses around the country. Although less widely accepted, some merchants will accept American Express cards. But no matter the brand of your card, you’ll face a foreign transaction fee of 2.5% every time you use your card – unless you have a card that charges no foreign transaction fees.

Compare credit cards for use in Portugal

If you’re looking to apply for a new credit card before you travel to Portugal, look into a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fees and save 2.5% on every transaction.
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Brim World Mastercard
Up to $300 worth of bonuses
1.5 points for every $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $300 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app. 
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
70,000 Points
Up to 6 points per $1 spent
19.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Points ($100 travel rewards). Plus, earn an additional 50,000 Points and get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
N/A
N/A
19.99%
$35 USD
Min. recommended credit score: 725
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Up to $500 worth of bonuses
2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($199 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Collect up to $500 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time using your Brim World Elite Mastercard.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
40,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel) Apply by August 31, 2021.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
40,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$139
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel). Apply by July 1, 2021.
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Canadian Visa and Mastercard credit cards are widely accepted overseas. Check with your bank before travelling to Portugal to confirm whether or not you’ll be able to use your credit card during your trip.
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
20,000 Points
2x points per $1 spent
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 630
Get 20,000 Points (up to $100 in value), plus get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
BMO CashBack Mastercard
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee for nine months.
Tangerine World Mastercard
1.95% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
3.99% rate on balance transfers for 9 months
N/A
12.99%
$20
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
Brim Mastercard
Up to $200 worth of bonuses
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $200 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app.
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
1.95% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first six months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening).
Refresh Financial Secured Card
N/A
N/A
17.99%
$12.95
Min. recommended credit score: Any score
Take advantage of a low annual fee, with no credit check and guaranteed approval once you secure your card with some funds.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
10,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
30,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($150 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 30,000 points and the $150 annual fee waived in the first year. Apply by October 31, 2021
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Home Trust Secured Visa
N/A
N/A
14.90% - 19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: Any score
Choose from three card options: No Annual Fee ($0 annual fee, 19.99% purchase rate), Low Interest Rate ($59 annual fee, 14.90% purchase rate) or a Low Monthly Fee ($5 monthly fee, 14.90% purchase rate).
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite
40,000 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 40,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
Brim World Mastercard
Up to $300 worth of bonuses
1.5 points for every $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $300 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app. 
BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Privilege
50,000 points
5 points per $1 spent
20.99%
$499
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 50,000 welcome points in your first year.
Neo Financial Credit Card
N/A
4% cash back
19.99% - 24.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 600
Earn an average cash back of 4% at Neo partners across Canada, which includes most major gas stations and grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, coffee shops and more.
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
70,000 Points
Up to 6 points per $1 spent
19.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Points ($100 travel rewards). Plus, earn an additional 50,000 Points and get a 1st year annual fee waiver. Apply by September 27, 2021.
Shell AIR MILES World Mastercard from BMO
Up to 1.25x Air Miles
1 Mile for every $15 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get 1.25x Miles on card purchases at Shell locations in Canada.
BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
Up to 10% cash back
1% cash back
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year.
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
$50 in cash back + 1% cash back
Up to 1.5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get $50 in cash back bonuses once you charge your first eligible purchase to your card. Plus, earn 1% cash back for the first 6 months on all eligible purchases.
BMO Rewards Business Mastercard
35,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
14.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 35,000 points and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year (a total value of $295 when you pay with points).
BMO Air Miles Business Mastercard
3,000 Miles
1 Mile for every $10 spent
19.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get up to 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles ($310 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO U.S. Dollar Mastercard
N/A
N/A
19.99%
$35 USD
Min. recommended credit score: 725
When your purchases total US$1,000 or more in a year, the next year's annual fee (US$35) is rebated to your card.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
2,000 Miles
1 Mile for every $12 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Earn a bonus of up to 2,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived in the first year.
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 1.75% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 10% cash back on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills for 3 months.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
800 Miles
1 Mile per $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred.
BMO CashBack Mastercard For Students
5% cash back
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get up to 5% cash back in the first three months (up to max. spend of $2,000). Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months (with a 1% transfer fee).
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
1,000 Miles
1 Mile per $20 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get 1,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (over $100 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
Shell CashBack World Mastercard from BMO
N/A
Up to 3% cash back
19.99%
$79
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Earn 3% cash back at Shell stations in Canada, plus 1.25% cash back on all other spend.
BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Up to $500 worth of bonuses
2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($199 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Collect up to $500 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time using your Brim World Elite Mastercard.
Scotia Momentum No-Fee Visa Card
Up to 5% cash back
1% cash back
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 19.99% thereafter
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases).Plus, get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotia Momentum Mastercard
7.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
Up to 1% cash back
7.99% intro APR for the first 6 months, 20.99% thereafter
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 7.99% introductory interest rate on all eligible purchases for the first 6 months. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
10% cash back
Up to 4% cash back per $1 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases) and pay no annual fee in the first year, including on supplementary cards (A welcome offer value of $350). Apply by August 31, 2021.
Scotiabank SCENE Visa Card
2,500 points
Up to 5 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 2,500 bonus SCENE points when you spend a minimum of $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months as a new SCENE Visa cardholder. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotiabank GM Visa Card
N/A
Up to 5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 5% in GM Earnings on all eligible purchases on the first $5,000 annual spend, and 2% thereafter.
Scotiabank GM Visa Infinite Card
No first year annual fee
Up to 5% cash back
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($79 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get the annual fee waived in the first year on the primary card as well as any supplementary cards. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
40,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$139
Min. recommended credit score: 750
Earn up to 40,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points in your first year (that’s up to $400 towards travel). Apply by July 1, 2021.
ScotiaGold Passport Visa Card
5,000 points
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$110
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Receive 5,000 bonus Scotia Rewards points when you make your first eligible purchase. Eligible purchase must be posted to your account within 2 months of account opening. Apply by July 1, 2021.
Scotia Momentum Visa Card
7.5% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.99%
$39
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Earn 7.5% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in total purchases). Plus, get a 2.99% introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0% balance transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by August 31, 2021.
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What credit cards can I use in Portugal?

Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted cards in Portugal, but you can find many locations that accept American Express credit cards too.

Merchant acceptance
ATM acceptance
Visa
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
Mastercard
check mark iconHigh
check mark iconHigh
American Express
exclamation point iconMedium
check mark iconHigh

Potential credit card fees in Portugal

You should always keep an eye on credit card fees, especially when travelling overseas.

  • Foreign transaction fees. Most credit cards issued by Canadian banks and credit card providers come with foreign transaction fees. Sitting around 2.5% of the total transaction cost, you’ll need to pay this fee every time you use your credit card outside of Canada. Fortunately, there are a few credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fees in Canada.
  • Currency conversion fees. If someone gives you the choice of paying in Canadian dollars or euros with your credit card, always choose the local currency of euro. Paying in Canadian dollars with your card will subject you to a dynamic currency conversion (DCC) that can lead to poor exchange rates and currency conversion fees. Always choose to pay in the local currency and let your bank do the currency conversion.
  • Cash advance fees. If you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, you’ll face a cash advance fee as well as the cash advance interest rate, which is usually charged from the day you withdraw the funds. To avoid the high APR, use your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM.
  • ATM fees. Even using your debit card to withdraw funds from an ATM will likely have you facing an ATM fee. To avoid this fee, you can use a debit card issued by a bank that belongs to an international ATM alliance, such as the Global ATM Alliance that Scotiabank is a member of.

Can I avoid all of these fees?

Yes, here’s how:

  • Apply for a no foreign transaction fee credit card to avoid this fee.
  • Avoid conversion fees by always paying in the local currency.
  • Avoid the high cash advance APR by using your debit card – instead of your credit card – to withdraw cash from an ATM.
  • To skirt around ATM fees, you’ll need to use a debit card from a bank that belongs to an international ATM alliance – plus you’ll need to stick to ATMs that belong to that network.

ATMs in Portugal

ATMs are easy to find in Portugal. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Portugal, but you could find smaller restaurants or shops that accept only cash or have a minimum of €10 before accepting credit cards. Keep around €75 to €100 in cash on you to pay for small items like coffee, snacks, vendors, souvenirs, transportation and other small purchases.

Should I use my credit card to get cash?

No, avoid using your credit card to get cash from an ATM at all costs. You’ll end up paying a cash advance fee as well as interest, which will start adding up from the day of the transaction. If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, use your debit card.

Can I use my credit card to pay for taxis?

Look for the Visa/Mastercard sticker on the taxi or ask your hotel to call a taxi that accepts credit cards as most do not.

Alternatively, call for an Uber ride and pay with your card through the app.

Is it safe to use my credit card in Portugal?

Using your credit card in Portugal is safe, although you’ll need to exercise at least the same level of caution as you would in Canada.

  • Protect your PIN. Don’t write your PIN down anywhere. When entering your PIN, use the other hand to hide it from hidden cameras and onlookers.
  • Select ATMs carefully. Use ATMs found in banks, shopping centres and otherwise busy areas. Avoid ones in isolated areas or unsafe districts.
  • Keep an eye out for skimmers. If you feel that the card slot is not as smooth as it should be or if you think there’s a problem with the keypad, cancel your transaction and use a different ATM. Someone might have installed a card skimmer on the machine.
  • Keep your card physically safe. Instances of pickpocketing and theft are common in areas frequented by tourists. Take extra care when venturing out after dark and always keep a close eye on your wallet or purse when on the streets or on public transportation in larger cities.

How to prepare before travelling to Portugal

  1. Carry at least two credit cards. Ideally, take at least two credit cards with you, with at least one being a Visa or Mastercard. That way, you can avoid being left without money if your primary credit card is lost or stolen or if a merchant doesn’t accept Amex.
  2. Think about foreign transaction fees. Paying foreign transaction fees does not make sense when you can find cards that come with no foreign transaction fees. For each transaction, you’ll save yourself 2.5%.
  3. Inform your bank. Banks monitor accounts to minimize fraudulent transactions. If your bank sees an unexpected purchase made in Portugal, it will have a good reason to temporarily block your card. Let your bank know of your travel plans in advance.
  4. Carry emergency numbers. If your card ends up lost or stolen, you should know which number to call. Write down your credit card providers phone number and carry it on you at all times.
  5. Know how you’ll get cash. You should carry at least some cash on you at all times. Use your debit card to withdraw cash in order to avoid the cash advance interest rate that comes with using a credit card. You can also exchange Canadian dollars for euros.

Next steps

You can avoid unexpected problems by asking yourself these simple questions before you leave for Portugal:

  • Which cards should I take? Carry at least one Mastercard or Visa card and have at least two credit cards with you.
  • Did I inform my bank? Unless you want to deal with the possibility of a blocked card, inform your bank before you head overseas.
  • Will I pay extra fees? Check if your current credit card charges foreign transaction fees. If it does, consider applying for a card that charges no foreign transaction fees.
  • Where will I get money from? Use your debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM – avoid using your credit card unless it’s an emergency. You can also consider converting Canadian dollars to euro or cash in travellers cheques.

Using a credit card in …

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