What is the currency in Brazil? Currency and Payment

France By Western Union May 8, 2024

Traveling to Brazil? Get fully informed about the currency in Brazil, the real, which you’ll use for all your purchases. Whether it’s about the form that Brazilian currency takes or payment methods, withdrawals, or exchanges, you need to properly educate yourself before you set off.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about money in Brazil so that you can travel with peace of mind.

What is the official currency in Brazil?

The official currency of Brazil is the Brazilian real, which is issued by the country’s central bank — the Banco Central do Brasil:

  • Its local name is: “real,” or “reais” in the plural
  • Its symbol is: “R$,”
  • Its abbreviation is “BRL,”
  • 1 euro is worth around 5.42 reais,
  • Each real can be divided into 100 centavos (cents).

Check the latest euro-real conversion rate.

What are the coins and banknotes in Brazilian currency?

The currency in Brazil consists of various coins and banknotes, ranging from 1 centavo to 100 reais:

  • Coins in Brazilian currency: 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos and 1 real,
  • Brazilian banknotes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 Brazilian reais.

Note that the 1-real note is still valid and accepted, although it is no longer printed. In order to distinguish the banknotes from one another, each one is a different color and has a unique animal on the back: a Hawksbill sea turtle on the 2-real note, a macaw on the 10-real note, and a brown grouper on the 100-real note).

Send money to Brazil with Western Union

With Western Union, you can send money to Brazil in just a few clicks at a great rate.

How can you pay in Brazil?

There are several payment methods in Brazil: cash, bank card, check, Pix or digital wallet. While cash was long the main means of paying with Brazilian money, Pix has now taken over. For tourists, payment by bank card is still the safest and most convenient option.

Let’s go over the details of these different payment methods:

  • Cash: Although cash is still very common, it has been used less and less in recent years, with people favoring Pix. In particular, it can now be difficult to exchange or pay with large denominations, as a lot of taxis and merchants don’t carry small amounts of Brazilian cash. If you have 50-real or 100-real notes, consider changing them at the airport (with baggage handlers for example) or at foreign exchange counters.
  • Bank card (credit or debit): Bank cards are very popular in Brazil. This is also the safest means of payment for tourists, and most businesses in major cities have a payment terminal. When you pay by card, the merchant will often ask you “credit or debit?” (“E debito ou credito?“).
  • Pix: This is the preferred payment method for Brazilians, and it is used everywhere. This instant payment system was created by the Banco Central do Brasil and allows you to pay for your purchases by scanning a QR code. It also allows you to make fee-free interbank transfers. However, Pix is not currently accessible to French people or Europeans in general.
  • Check: This means of payment, which is still very widespread but not often used, is usually used to make payments in several installments. However, you can only pay with Brazilian checks, as banks and businesses don’t accept foreign ones.
  • Digital wallet: These payment systems, which include Mercado Pago and PicPay, are becoming increasingly popular in Brazil and allow quick and easy payments.

If you can, pay using Pix, which is accepted everywhere in the country. Otherwise, you should preferably pay by bank card, as this is still the safest option. However, always plan to have enough Brazilian currency with you for small purchases or when traveling outside of major cities.

Can you pay in euro in Brazil?

It’s rare to be able to pay in euro in Brazil, as most establishments only accept reais. Even if you have the option to pay in euro, it’s recommended to always pay in Brazilian currency to avoid the risk of scams. However, keeping euro on you can be useful in case of emergency.

Where can you exchange money in Brazil?

You can exchange your money in Brazil:

  • At foreign exchange counters known as câmbios, which are very common in cities,
  • At Western Union agent locations,
  • At foreign exchange counters at airports (quite unfavorable),
  • At banks,
  • At hotels,
  • At some tourist locations.

To avoid losing money, don’t make exchanges at hotels or airports as they offer unfavorable rates. Foreign exchange counters are the most preferable place. The Banco Central do Brasil has also created the Câmbio Legal smartphone app, which you can use to locate your nearest authorized foreign exchange location.

To avoid low conversion rates and high fees, it is important to properly educate yourself before exchanging any currency in Brazil. In particular, check the exchange rate offered by the bank or foreign exchange office against actual market rates. If you want to exchange your Brazilian currency at a bank, you should also check the fee withheld by the institution, which could be large.

Finally, as with currency in Argentina, always let your French bank know the dates you’re traveling to Brazil to avoid the risk of them applying a block once you’re there.

Western Union guarantees the best exchange rates in Brazil. Whatever your need, we offer a favorable rate for Brazilian currency in a safe, fast and convenient environment, seven days a week.

Where can you withdraw money in Brazil?

You can withdraw money in Brazil at one of the large number of ATMs of major banks (HSBC, Caixa, Itaù, Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, or Santander), which can be found everywhere in major cities and tourist areas. Withdrawal limits are generally 1000 to 1500 reais, equivalent to 185 to 276 euro.

The most convenient way to withdraw money in Brazil is at a “banco 24/24,” which you can find everywhere (supermarkets, subways, gas stations, shopping malls). These terminals generally take a commission of 24 reais (approximately 4.40 euro) per withdrawal. You can also go into a bank — check whether the ATMs accept foreign bank cards (the Visa or Mastercard logo will be displayed).

Note that the risk of bank card piracy is quite high in Brazil, so be very vigilant when making withdrawals. Choose ATMs inside banks, rather than outside, and once you’ve made your withdrawal, check your bank account regularly to see if there have been any abnormal transactions.

When you withdraw money in Brazil, various fees will be withheld including one from your bank and one from the bank that owns the ATM. So, during a trip to Brazil it’s recommended to pay by bank card as often as possible in order to avoid paying fees constantly, and only to make withdrawals for one-off needs.

You can also withdraw money at Western Union locations in major Brazilian cities and enjoy the best exchange rate.


  • What is the Brazilian real exchange rate?

The Brazilian real exchange rate is approximately:

  • 1 euro = 5.42 reais,
  • 1 real = 0.18 euro.

Easily convert EUR to BRL with Western Union, whatever the amount.

  • How can I send money to Brazil?

With Western Union, easily send money to Brazil from France:

  • Online in a few clicks via our website,
  • With our mobile app,
  • In person, by going to an agent location.

Your receiver can get the money in cash, in their account (via their Brazilian IBAN) or in their mobile wallet.