Novo Banco

Has any non-resident worked with Novo Banco? If yes, what was the eperience in opening a bank account etc.

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I don’t know your reason for wanting Novo Banco. There are 2 reasons to avoid it.

The Bank of Portugal created Novo Bank in 2014 out of the assets of a failed bank. Novo Bank has survived only because of huge injections of cash from the country’s bank bailout fund. They’ve had net losses every year since 2014. The good news in 2019 was they reduced their loss by 25% from the prior year - they only lost 1059 million.

The bad news continued. The Observador’s archive of Novo Banco articles, in reverse chronological order:

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It’s not surprising a company with no profits has poor customer satisfaction. Or that on an online complaint site, their generic response is contact us by email, while other companies’ responses to complaints are public.


Hi there @GSUDIE ,

Disclosure: I represent a low-risk GV fund called Pela Terra Farmland.

Broadly, I’d agree with @dancebert . The consensus in the market is that if you’re a US investor, the best is Byson, and if you’re not then Millennium BCP are the best.

Hope that’s helpful!


What if I am looking to only get a loan and not actually invest with the bank?

I would avoid. I wired $24,000 into my account there, and now that they have my money, they’ve stopped answering their emails…super shade…for more than 2 weeks now.

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Hmm let’s see - I don’t plan on wiring too much money there. Just inflow abs outflow for rental income and mortgage payments. I will visit them in person when I am there in a few days. So far the bank manager has been super responsive via email with me. Hopefully I can build a relationship with her for when I need to communicate in the future.

The guy at Novo Banco finally got back to me last week and was incredibly helpful. All good now - I think he was on holiday. Bottom line as that they’re fine, as far as I can tell.

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Whew! Yes I feel so much better now :-). We all have to get used to the August lull period in EU hahahah


Disclosure: I do work for one of the banks I mention, my answer is only an opinion from what I see on a daily basis

As already said before Novo Banco, is a very recent bank (2014), and comes from a failed bank. Every year they have negative results, and this will continue in the future.

Regarding your question about looking for a loan with them, I can assure you that Novo Bank it’s not the bank you are looking for.

In terms of getting loan/credit (Credit card, personal loan, overdraft, etc) as a non PT citizen, you probably should open an account with Millennium BCP or Santander. Usually only 6 months after opening an account, you should have credit options available for you.

Usually, Santander is more “generous” regarding credit card limits (You can easily get 10.000€ on their Classic Mundo 123 card) and Millennium BCP focus more on high personal loans for non PT citizens (You can get almost the double, then on any other Portuguese bank).

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Thanks for the information. At this stage I am already signed up for my loan etc which went very well abs pretty quickly and I got a good rate as well.

However, once it’s been a year or so I will want a second bank account so definitely appreciate the input.
Right now my plan is to just use it for the loan not looking to invest in it etc. I not yet planning on getting a credit card either for at least 5 more years.

Are credit card applications for foreigners difficult?

Credit card application is usually easier than a loan application. I don’t know how they work in Novo Banco. But for Millennium BCP and Santander if you are a client for more than 6 months, with at least 2000€ in to your account every month you should get approved for a 5000/6000€ without additional papers asked. Also every 3 months you can raise your limit 1000€ on the app or website.

As for Santander the maximum limit they allow without showing source of income papers is 10.000€ and 15.000€ for Millennium BCP, they can approve this limits based only in your account history. Anything above this, the bank will ask for some papers. Also this information only means that accounts managers have the power to do this, if they will do it for you it depends on the relationship you have with them. I don’t want anyone to think that if they receive 5000€ on their account every month for 6 months, managers will approve a 15.000€ credit card without asking questions. They have the power to do it, but it’s up to them if they do without any additional papers.

In Portugal we don’t have No Pre-Set Spending Limit cards like in the US, or charge cards without any limit at all. Although the maximum limit is 500.000€, and I think that is more than enough for 90% of the clients.