New ATM Withdrawal Limits for Foreign Cards in Brazil

With the recent deals to Brazil, some of you will be heading down to Rio in the next few months. Here is something to consider in your trip preparation.

Brazil, for a long time, had a 1,000 Reais (BRL) or about $500 USD ATM daily withdrawal limit for foreign cards. We recently have seen many posts on various forums like TripAdvisor that tourists are having problems withdrawing more than 300 BRL per day from ATMs. This new regulation was unannounced by the Brazilian financial authorities and seemed to have been in effect since February 1st, 2013.

Flag of Brazil. Photo: gaby_bra, used under Creative Commons License (By 2.0)

Flag of Brazil. Photo: gaby_bra, used under Creative Commons License (By 2.0)

Brazil has become more expensive to visit due to the rapid growth of the economy and 300 BRL does not go very far. This not only makes it annoying but more expensive as most Brazilian ATMs charge 10 BRL for foreign card withdrawals. So how can you be prepared for this new ATM withdrawal limit?

Use No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card As Much As Possible.

In Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, most hotels, restaurants and shopping centers take credit cards. Our favorite credit card at the moment is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Card. It has no foreign transaction fees. It carries a $95 annual fee but is waived the first year. But, be careful using any Visa or Mastercard abroad; often you will be hit with dynamic currency conversion without you realizing it.

Our “go to” card when it is accepted internationally is the American Express Platinum Charge Card. It has no transaction fees and guarantees to never be hit with dynamic currency conversion. However, it is not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard and carries a $450 annual fee.

Bring Multiple ATM Cards

If you have bank accounts with multiple banks, get ATM cards for those accounts before leaving for the trip and bring them.

Bring Cash

Cash is always the king. Having crisp US dollar bills never hurt.

Convert US Dollars to Real before leaving

This is an expensive option as the exchange rate and fees usually eat up any savings.


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