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Know your rights when making payments in Europe.
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Bank customers may at any time ask to change their payment account (for example, of the current account).
Consumer bank customers and micro-enterprises can switch their account from one payment service provider (the “sending provider”) to another payment service provider (the “destination provider”) with its head office or branch in Portugal, provided the accounts are denominated in the same currency.
The “sending provider” and the “destination provider” are obliged to inform the customer about the process of changing the account:
The tasks they are entrusted to perform at each stage of the account change process;
The deadlines for completing each of these stages;
Any fees that may be owed by the bank customer;
The information that the bank customer must provide;
Alternative dispute resolution procedures.
This information is available free of charge at the branches and places of public service of the payment service providers, as well as on their websites.
At the request of the customer, this information must be provided, free of charge, on paper or on another durable medium.
The account change must be requested, in writing, from the payment service provider to which the bank customer wishes to change their account (i.e. the destination provider).
If the account has more than one holder, the authorisation must be signed by all holders.
In the account change request, the customer must authorise the fulfilment of the tasks that are intended to be covered by the account change service, identifying, if possible in an individualised manner:
recurring credit transfers of which they are the beneficiary, standing orders and direct debit authorisations that are to be included in the account change service and, if so wished, the date from which they will begin to be carried out from the new account;
if the remaining balance of the account of origin is to be transferred to the new account, the date on which the transfer is to take place;
if the account of origin is to be closed, the date on which that account should be closed.
Transferring the remaining balance from the account of origin to the target account, closing the account of origin, and running services from the target account occurs:
on the date indicated by the customer in the authorisation, if this date corresponds, at least, to six business days after the date on which the destination provider receives the documents from the sending provider;
on the sixth business day following the date of receipt by the destination provider of the documents sent by the sending provider, if the bank customer does not indicate a date, or if that date is less than six business days after the destination provider received the documents sent by the sending provider.
The account change process is initiated at the request of the customer, through authorisation addressed to the destination provider. It is up to the payment service providers involved in the process to carry out all subsequent tasks.
The account change process is initiated by the destination provider who, within two business days of the customer’s request, requests the sending provider to:
Provide the destination provider and the bank customer, if requested, with information on standing orders, recurring credit transfers to the customer, and direct debits;
Perform the other tasks entrusted to the sending provider, according to the terms and on the date indicated in the authorisation.
Upon receipt of the request for account change addressed by the destination provider, the sending provider has a deadline of five business days to:
Provide the destination provider and the bank customer with a list of existing standing orders and available information on the direct debit authorisations subject to the change;
Provide the destination provider and bank customer, if requested, with available information on recurring credit transfers to the customer and the recurring direct debits ordered by the creditor that have been executed in the account in the last 13 months.
From the date indicated by the customer in the authorisation (at least six business days after the date the destination provider receives the documents from the sending provider), the sending provider must:
No longer accept credit transfers and direct debits in the account of origin, should it not have an automatic redirection system of credit transfers to the bank customer and of direct debits to the new account;
Cancel permanent orders;
Transfer the remaining positive balance from the account of origin to the new account;
Close the account.
If the account of origin has associated payment instruments, the sending provider may only block such instruments from the date specified in the bank customer’s authorisation.
Upon receiving the information from the sending provider, the destination provider has five business days to:
Enter the permanent credit transfer orders requested by the bank customer and execute them with effect from the date specified in the authorisation;
Initiate the necessary steps to accept direct debits with effect from the date specified in the authorisation;
Whenever applicable, inform the bank customer of the set of mechanisms that allow it to control the direct debit authorisations granted;
Communicate the data of the new account to the payers identified in the authorisation that make recurring credit transfers to the account of the bank customer and transmit the authorisation of the customer to the payers;
Communicate to the beneficiaries identified in the authorisation that use direct debits to collect funds from the bank customer’s account, the data of the new account, as well as the date from which direct debits are to be collected from that account, and to transmit to the beneficiaries a copy of the bank customer authorisation;
If the bank customer chooses to personally provide the payer or beneficiary with the information referred to in the two previous points, provide the bank customer with model letters with the payment account details, as well as the start date indicated in the authorisation.
In the account change process, the bank customer may choose to close the account of origin. To do this, the bank customer must expressly request such closure in the authorisation that it provides to the destination provider.
The account of origin must be closed free of charge by the sending provider on the date of the authorisation granted by the bank customer or within a limit of one month, if the bank customer has no obligations outstanding in that account and provided that the account provider has completed its tasks in the account change process.
If there are outstanding obligations that prevent the account from being closed or other legal relationships that may be affected by closing the account on the due date, the sending provider should immediately inform the bank customer of this fact and of the consequences thereof.
The “sending provider” and the “destination provider” may charge fees for certain tasks associated with the account change service.
The customer must be informed of these costs before opting for the change.
The cost value must be reasonable and in line with the actual costs incurred.
Payment service providers involved in the account change process may not charge fees in the following situations:
Provision of information about the account change service;
Provision to the customer of personal information related to permanent orders and direct debits;
Submission of the list of standing orders in the account of origin and the available information on the direct debit authorisations subject to change;
Submission of available information on recurring credit transfers to the customer and recurring direct debits ordered by the lender that have been executed in the customer’s account in the last 13 months;
Closing the account of origin.
The payment account change is not instantaneous. The sending and destination providers have deadlines for the tasks associated with the account change.
Until the account change process is complete, payments can be made through the account of origin (for example, direct debits). The customer must therefore have sufficient funds in the account of origin for these payments to be made.
The account change service is only possible between payment service providers located in Portugal.
However, if bank customers intend to switch their account to a payment service provider located in another Member State of the European Union, they may request assistance from the payment service provider in Portugal with whom they hold the account.
In this case, upon receipt of the customer’s request, the sending provider:
Provides the bank customer free of charge with a list of active permanent credit transfer orders and direct debit authorisations ordered by the borrower, if any, as well as information available on recurring credit transfers to the customer and direct debits by creditors that have been executed in the consumer’s payment account in the last 13 months;
Transfers the positive balance from the account of origin to the new account, provided that the customer’s request includes all the elements necessary to identify the new payment service provider and the customer’s payment account;
Closes the account free of charge on the date specified by the bank customer (at least six business days after the date the service provider receives the customer’s authorisation, unless otherwise agreed) or, within a limit of one month, if the customer has no outstanding obligations on the account.
If there are outstanding obligations that prevent the account from being closed or other legal relationships that may be affected by the closure on the due date, the sending provider should immediately inform the bank customer of this fact and of the consequences thereof.
Decree-Law No. 107/2017 (only in Portuguese)
Instruction No. 14/2018 (only in Portuguese)
Legal Regime of Payment Services and Electronic Money (only in Portuguese)
Opening an account abroad
Services – Complaining about an institution