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IWCP - International Women's Club of Paraná

Banking & Finance

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General

Banks are open between 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

To open an account, obtain a credit card or credit, you will need a CPF number (see Legal and Administrative). Banks may appear inflexible and unhelpful regarding this requirement but it is against the law to open an account without a CPF number and they face significant penalties if they do so.

Until you have a local account, you can use Travellers' Cheques. In some cases, you can cash cheques from your home bank using an American Express (or, less commonly, a Diners' Club) card as a guarantee. Most travel agencies and hotels will change money for you: the official rate for the day is available at 11.00 a.m. which they generally prefer to wait for.

You can obtain cash advances against an international Visa or MasterCard if you have a PIN. Automatic teller machines at HSBC, Banco do Brasíl, Bradesco and Unibanco will accept your card.

Some newcomers to Brasíl find the level of physical security at banks off-putting. Armed guards are a Federal requirement and many banks have adopted revolving doors equipped with metal detectors. The deterrent associated with these measures is, however, very effective and, in Curitiba, armed robberies are very rare.

Caution should be exercised when using ATM machines at night: no banks in Brasíl use the "through-the-wall" arrangement seen in other countries and all have secure access facilities. You should ensure that the selected outlet is well lit and avoid lingering outside the lobby when you have completed your transaction. In addition, avoid contact in the ATM lobbies with strangers offering assistance (no matter how plausible or well dressed they are).

Banks

The main banks in Curitiba are HSBC, Banestado, Bradesco, Caixa Economico, Itaú, Real and Unibanco.

In addition to their own proprietary ATM networks, Brazilian bank cards are acceptable at the nationwide chain of Banco24Horas machines. Banestado is the state bank and the only bank at which certain payments can be made.

BankBoston, Citibank and Lloyds have branches in Curitiba. Unless you have an account with them at home they are not very convenient for personal use. They have only one branch each, located in the city centre and their bank cards don't work at other banks' machines. However, it is possible to have money transferred to them from overseas.

Bank accounts and credit

When you open a current (or checking) account, you will be issued with a cheque book. Dependent upon the bank you choose, you will receive them either one at a time or in batches:  New cheque books are delivered to your home or collected from your branch. Some banks have service charges based upon the number of cheques you write: many banks print the limit for which the bank will guarantee payment on the face of the cheque.

It is essential that you establish overdraft facilities in advance. A cheque returned for insufficient funds can have serious consequences that include entry of your name into central databases to which all banks (and many retail outlets) have access. Removing your name from the blacklist can take up to a year and is, of course, a complicated process. A second returned cheque would usually lead to a closure of your accounts and cancellation of your credit card. Cheques are widely accepted, principally because Brazilian consumers appreciate the consequences of writing cheques that may not be honoured.

You will also receive a cash machine card when you open your account: this can be used as a debit card in most supermarkets and many shops as well. Cash machines limit the amount you can withdraw in one day and at any one time as a security measure. It is usually up to R$600.

Transferring money

Whilst much of the bureaucracy associated with Brazilian exchange control has been removed, inward remittances are still monitored by the Central Bank and you will have to sign a number of documents acknowledging receipt of funds transferred from overseas. It is advisable to let your bank in Brasíl know that you have arranged a transfer from overseas.

The IWCP is a non-profit, non-secretarian, non-political organization whose main purpose is to provide a forum through which international women can meet in Curitiba.