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Exchange coins and banknotes

At Banco de Portugal’s cash offices, you can exchange valid banknotes in escudos as well as damaged banknotes. You may also exchange banknotes and coins for different denominations.

If you are unable to exchange money in person, you may send it by mail to Banco de Portugal, using the registered delivery service for declared value items (Correio Registado com Serviço Especial de Valor Declarado).”[1]

Those sending money to be exchanged by mail must comply with the following requirements:

1. Banknotes/coins must be secured in two envelopes:

  • banknotes to be exchanged must be placed inside the first envelope, which should be sealed and marked with ‘Contém Numerário’ (contains cash) on the front, with a breakdown of the banknotes within.
  • the first envelope must be placed inside a second envelope, which must be sent using the “Correio Registado com Serviço Especial de Valor Declarado” service to the following address:
        Banco de Portugal
        Apartado 81
        2584-908 Carregado

2. The sender must be identified (name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address) and must provide the details required for the bank transfer (IBAN, for accounts domiciled in Portugal, or SWIFT CODE and any other bank details needed, for bank accounts domiciled abroad).

Exchange banknotes in escudos

Banknotes in escudos may also be exchanged for euro banknotes and/or coins at Banco de Portugal cash offices, up to 20 years after they have been withdrawn from circulation. The deadline for exchanging escudo coins passed on 31 December 2002.

A valid banknote in escudos that is damaged or mutilated may be exchanged for euro banknote(s) and/or coin(s) in the following situations:

  • When entire or in fragments which, when joined together, form the exact and unequivocal same banknote;
  • When incomplete, presenting a fragment with at least 75% of the total area and including the right or left half;
  • When incomplete and in fragments which, when joined together, make up, at least, the area referred to in the aforementioned point.
Exchange banknotes in foreign currency

Banco de Portugal does not exchange foreign banknotes, except banknotes of countries that have joined the euro, and only during a period established by the European Central Bank (usually a two-month period after the date when the Member State in question joined the euro).

The banknotes of countries that have joined the euro are exchanged for euro banknotes and/or coins, at an irrevocable exchange rate, free of charge, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., in five of Banco de Portugal’s branches:

  • Lisbon cash office;
  • Porto Branch cash office;
  • Madeira Regional Delegation – Funchal;
  • Açores Regional Delegation – Ponta Delgada;
  • Faro Agency.

Banco de Portugal may exchange up to a maximum amount corresponding to €1,000.00 per transaction, per person/day.

When a new Member State joins the euro, Banco de Portugal publishes the terms and conditions of the corresponding exchange of banknotes on its institutional website and through a circular-letter addressed to the banking sector.

Exchange of damaged banknotes

Banco de Portugal replaces mutilated or damaged banknotes for a banknote of equal value, fit for circulation, where:

  • The authenticity of the banknote is confirmed; 
  • In the case of the banknote being mutilated, the fragment of the banknote presented is at least 50%, or, if less, where the applicant proves that the missing parts have been destroyed.

If doubts remain about whether the banknotes' mutilation or damage was intentional, the applicant must identify himself/herself and explain in writing what caused the mutilation and damage or what happened to the missing parts of the banknote.

If the banknote has ink stains or is dirty, a written explanation should also be given of the circumstances in which this occurred.

 

Neutralised banknotes

A neutralised banknote is a banknote damaged by the action of anti-theft devices installed in ATMs (of the Multibanco network) or in banknote transportation cases (called Intelligent Banknote Neutralisation Systems - IBNSs). 

Neutralised banknotes should not be accepted under any circumstances.

If you inadvertently take possession of a neutralised banknote, you should go immediately to a police station of the Polícia Judiciária, Banco de Portugal or a credit institution.

The credit institution that exchanges neutralised banknotes must not apply any rate, fee or charge of any kind.

Exchange of damaged coins

Banco de Portugal reimburses or replaces euro coins that have become unfit for circulation where:

  • Their authenticity is confirmed;
  • The coins presented have become unfit for circulation due to prolonged circulation or an accident.

Banco de Portugal may refuse to reimburse euro coins that are unfit for circulation which have been altered either deliberately or by a process that could be reasonably expected to have the effect of altering them, notwithstanding reimbursement of coins collected for charitable purposes, such as ‘fountain coins’ (Article 8 of Regulation (EU) No 1210/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2010) . 

If analysing the coin presented gives rise to doubts over its genuineness, it should be withdrawn and submitted for analysis under the terms defined by Banco de Portugal.

 

Exchange operations

At its cash offices, Banco de Portugal provides the desired denominations and quantities of banknotes and/or metal coins for direct exchange.

The conditions are as follows:

  • The banknotes to be exchanged should be grouped according to denomination and, preferably, faced and oriented, i.e. with heads upwards and all following suit;
  • The coins to be exchanged should be separated according to denomination;
  • The currency requisition form should be filled in by the applicant (see associated documents), in which the sum and denomination of the submitted banknotes and/or coins are specified, as are also the amounts requested in exchange.

[1] The delivery service for declared value items (Serviço Especial de Valor Declarado) is designed to protect the content of mail, containing valuable items or documents, to the amount declared by the sender (up to €5,000). It should be used when the sender ships items with a disposable value, banknotes or other securities. In the event of loss, malfunction or total destruction, the customer will be reimbursed for the real value of said loss, which cannot exceed the declared value.