Bank reccomendations for portugal

Hi - looking for reccomendations for banks in Portugal. Currently with millenium bcp but quite un happy. Charges is one issue and another is TDS they are deducting on fund dividend despite tax consultant, lawyer and fund house advice that we are not liable for tax deduction since we are not residents in Portugal and do not live in a tax Haven.

We live in Singapore and need a bank to hold some currency as well as the investment certificates of our fund investments.

Quite unhappy with BPI too, they rarely reply to emails and charge €8 monthly so I am thinking of closing the account and move to another bank, any other recommendations?

Hi we are also from singapore and unhappy with millenium although it got a bit better when they gave us premium / local relationship manager in Arganil .Our friends complain about other banks so will stay in the pot rather than jumping in the fire.

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Welcome to banking in Portugal.

If you can manage to open Activo then you can avoid fees. And you will get the level of service you are paying for.

A bank needs to make money. They can do that off of activity, or off direct fees. Simply holding your money creates costs (you are a customer to be kept track of) while not generating any revenue (in the EU, banks are making near jack shit on deposits - remember negative interest rates?)

If you have no activity, there will be fees. If you are not there, you generate no activity.

That the fees are high represents the regulatory and other overhead costs of being in the EU.


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My issue is not the fees but getting the right tax witholding. Get the bank needing to make money. my email clearly says it is the misapplied 10% withholding tax that is the cause of the consternation. I hope that is not a form of income for them (Meant as a joke).


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Fair point. I haven’t seen the withholding issue. You should be able to get that back somehow but certainly you shouldn’t have to pay it in the first place.

Bison seems to be fine in this regard.

I do Bison for depository then Activo for transactional/minor banking since Bison doesn’t have useful regular banking services and Activo is free with EUR500 min. I say you get what you pay for but really they aren’t too bad just there are very few branches and few staff and not a lot of services. The app works, their exchange rate is decent, and you can get a debit card - I don’t use mine, my home cards exchange at midmarket, but it’s handy to have in the oddball cases where some gas pump won’t take a non-EU card.


Thanks everyone, many good reviews here for activo, I guess I will be making the change then…

Hi Isabella,

May I ask what process did you follow to request a change of RM. We are with Millennium and really receiving poor service from our RM, who hardly responds to texts and emails. In portugal currently, and trying to get stuff done in a short time and the RM is really slowing the process down.


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Very interesting to hear that considering Activo is owned by the Millenium group.

That logic makes a lot of sense. The fee does seem justifiable but would be great if they actually provided some degree of service.

We just went into our local branch in arganil and got premium acct set up by the lady sitting in premium who was originally from south africa so language no problem .she transferred our acct from lisbon and has remained our RM since .Millenium continue to make mistakes but she sorts it out .

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Bison is a wealth management bank. They aren’t set up to do retail transactional banking. This isn’t abnormal at all. They are more of a brokerage than a bank, they just need/want the banking license to move money around with other banks and the like, especially in a multi-currency environment.

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