Opening a Bank account in Portugal- what a mission

Mission – opening a bank account

Mission – getting a mobile phone contract

So you think its easy to open a bank account, let me tell you its not, I have been dealing with ABANCA for over three weeks to get an account open. They have questions, more questions and more questions.

However I found a golden nugget at ABANCA. The relationship manager ‘Sophia Rocchi’ who took me on and helped. She is much more than a banker, she had so much advice and help- well beyond banking. I am so thankful, she was allocated to me.

She phoned contacts whilst we were consulting with her- regarding schooling, sport and other activities , such meaningful introductions that go far beyond a bank account. The world needs more people like her. I would base on her kindness open the account with ABANCA even though its been a nightmare getting through their due diligence. (But success comes to those who persevere and I officially have a ABANCA account opened!)

To open the ABANCA account I needed :

  2. Residence permit (I am awaiting mine)
  3. Passport
  4. Proof of address – lease in my name
  5. Proof of source of funds
  6. Proof of income (what on earth happens if you dont have a job?)
  7. Because I am not a resident they also requested my SARS clearance (tax clearance)
  8. Also requested PAYE slip to verify what I was earning whilst in South Africa
  9. Not sure what I need to deposit in the morning, so thats still an unknown

My wife Sue took another approach, she contacted ActivoBank, their approach is somewhat different, they offer to have you an account within an hour. Their requirements are easier to fulfil, but again we did three visits to their branch.

To open the ACTIVO account we needed to supply :

  2. Proof of address (rental agreement), and at the last moment we saw the agreement is from the 1st of May, so have to go back then to conclude the application (visit 4) but are told thereafter all is good.
  3. Passport or ID
  4. 500 EURO’S cash which can draw on immediately when account is opened but you need this in order to open the account

So you take your pick, as to the route you wish to go. I believe that you can open the ACTIVOBANK account online which is an interesting proposition, which I did not try as most websites are in Portuguese, and even with my friend GOOGLE TRANSLATE, it takes ages to read and make sense of the requirements.

Without a BANK account, and a PORTUGUESE IBAN number most businesses that you deal with cannot do any form of contract with you. MEO for instance the WIFI and mobile company would not accept our British pound IBAN. So you are literally stuck! Lots of learning curves and each takes its own element of time, to overcome. So make sure you have TIME, and PATIENCE.

Before leaving South Africa we opened an OFFSHORE account, set on the Isle of Mann, it bears no interest and can only receive deposits from South Africa, so you cant use it like a normal account. However you can draw from it and make payments. This has been a life saviour account whilst we have been waiting for our accounts here to open. My personal banker in South Africa, has been the most incredible help.

Much like any account, the Standard Bank Offshore account has its limitations, in so far as you cant draw more than a certain amount daily which has proved interesting as we buy furniture. It needed three transactions over 72 hours, (24 hours between transactions) to furnish our apartment.

Here is Sue’s car after day 2 – shopping at IKEA.

Getting through all of this has been a stressful experience, but I am learning to take one step at a time, and slowly but surely cover ground and achieve objectives.

I am also learning don’t expect to much to soon, everything has a season and each season cannot be rushed, you have to go with the flow, as swimming upstream is somewhat tougher.

Back in South Africa

Marked the last day for the windmill in Cape Town, (MOWBRAY) as a fire ravaged the city, my home town, and destroyed so many iconic buildings at UCT (University of Cape Town) – sad to see these pictures :

I wonder if these will ever be restored to their former glory?

Whilst fires ravage my home town, our new home Porto has a week of rain – not my favourite or best proposition.

The rain however does have its own beauty, and from our new place, everything looks good, even the wet paths and lack of sunshine.

The view from our patio

The last step to moving in : all the furniture and a month and half’s work comes full circle as we move into our home, and thanks to good advice from Kate Dearlove , we have an IKEA specialist assembling all our new furniture.

The apartment is cement – really modern, never lived in before, its BRAND NEW, just like our lives…


Published by brucemacdirector

Telling meaningful stories whether they shorts or features is what gets me out of bed every day. Passionate about those captured in slavery. Biographical films (The Perfect wave with Scott Eastwood) and (Biblical epic Samson with the late Rutger Hauer, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Zane and Taylor James) My recent short films Beat The Curve, Sex Tourism Labour have been awarded best shorts across the globe in 2020.

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