Portugal Currency

The Portugal currency is the EURO € which is the currency of 19 of the 27 EU member state countries. The EURO is a stable currency with the added advantage of ease of travel in Europe – if you’re crossing the border to explore Spain, you can also use your money there!

What is the Conversion rate of the EURO?

The British pound (GBP £) is currently worth 1.16 EURO € (as of 6 June 2021) and $1 is worth 0.82€.

It’s important to check the exchange rates as they change on a daily basis. I like to use xe.com to calculate my currency conversions.

You can also use the Banco de Portugal converter here.

When did the Portugal Currency Change to EUROS?

The EURO bank notes and coins were introduced to the country on 1 January 2002.

What was the previous Portuguese Currency?

Euros replaced the previous Portugal currency of the Escudo. After EUROs was introduced on 1 January 2002, there was a dual currency transition period until 28 February 2002. At the end of this 2 month overlap, the Escudo was then taken out of circulation and became illegal tender.

The Banco de Portugal (Central Bank of Portugal) exchanged Escudo coins until 31 December 2002. It will continue to exchange Escudo banknotes until 28 February 2022. So if you have any old Escudo bank notes to exchange, do it quickly – there is less than a year to go before they become worth nothing!

Why did Portugal change its currency to EUROS?

Portugal joined the EU (European Union) in 1986 and it was one of the first countries to adopt the EURO on 1 January 1999. Following agreement of using the EURO, it then took a few years to put in place. This was deemed to be a good move for Portugal’s economy, make travel within Europe easier and show solidarity with the EU.

Taking Money to Portugal

If you are visiting Portugal, it may be a good idea to get EUROS exchanged so that you can travel with some cash – not everywhere accepts bank cards in Portugal and there are some more remote areas that are still predominantly a cash based society. If you are in the UK, I recommend using the Post Office – you can actually order currency online with the Post office and get it delivered to your door via courier.

Using ATMs in Portugal

You can probably use your UK bank card in Portugal – check with your bank to make sure before you travel. My Barclays Debit card worked in Portugal and I could draw out cash in EUROS. Don’t accept the banks exchange rate – take it out in local currency otherwise you will probably be charged more.

Also, I would recommend using ATMs that have the Multibanco sign such as Millenium, ActivoBank and Santander. These are the most cost efficient ones to use. Avoid ATMs that don’t have these sign – many will charge high commission and will often charge an additional fee without asking or telling you. Avoid EURONET ATMs – they are particularly notorious for ripping off foreigners.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about How to Send Money to Portugal and Getting a Mortgage in Portugal

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