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How to Send Money to Brazil

Sending money to Brazil is way more complex than most foreign citizens expect. Brazil has a history of extreme regulation of monies entering and leaving the country.

Commercial banks in Brazil such as Bradesco, Itau, Santander, and Banco do Brasil may take weeks to release funds until clients have provided many documents required, filed additional applications for currency exchange add-on to their existing account. To make things worse, their slow currency exchange departments take substantial time to thoroughly review the documents, and disconnection between the bank back-office and the branch manager interacting with you is the norm.

Some of the documents required by Brazilian banks to allow funds to enter the country are:

  1. Contract showing the purpose of the payment
  2. Tax returns for the fund's sender (to show the source of funds)
  3. Tax returns for the fund's receiver (to show taxes are up to date)
  4. IDs for all parties involved
  5. Proof of address for all parties involved

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for foreign buyers of real estate in Brazil to ask us for help after being unable to send funds to the seller despite diligent communication with the Brazilian banks.

On this page, we explore the different ways to send money to Brazil, their pros, and their cons.

Legal Advisory in Brazil
info@oliveiralawyers.com
+55-11-4349-1915 Brazil
+1-212-300-7174 USA
Schedule a Consultation Now

Sending Money to Brazil

Traditional Ways to Send Money to Brazil

In terms of how to send money when buying real estate in Brazil, there are two main approaches:

1. Send the money directly to the seller

Sending the payment directly by bank transfer (e.g.: from your Chase, Bank of America, etc.) to the seller may be the preferred approach for sending a smaller downpayment (e.g., no more than 10% of the total purchase price).

Downside - Risk of Paying Seller Before Closing

We don't like to see our clients paying large amounts to the seller by bank transfer previous to closing. Sending a full payment to sellers before the closing will put you in a very fragile position since a seller may not necessarily attend the closing later on (e.g., seller dies between payment and closing date, seller change his mind about selling, or seller intends to defraud the buyer).

Upside - Let the Seller Do the Leg Work

The biggest upside of sending monies directly to a real estate seller is that this person is highly motivated to be paid. As long as you give the seller a clear and conspicuous heads up about the fact that their bank will ask them for lots of documents and require a lot of communication, the seller will be the one bearing the burden of making the bank release the funds. 

2. Use power of attorney to have a lawyer or a local trust party deliver payment by check at closing

Through a power of attorney (POA), you can have a lawyer or a family member representing you at the closing. A valid POA allows you to transfer the closing funds to the POA holder instead of the seller.

The POA holder can then use your funds to obtain a certified check at his bank and use this certified check to pay the seller during the closing. The advantage of this approach is that the seller will not get your money until the moment that they sign the transfer of title.

Downside - Can You Trust Your POA?

Sending your money to someone in Brazil involves substantial risk. Is this person reliable? What if this person end up kidnapped because of the money?

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Alternative Ways to Send Money to Brazil

Until a few years ago, the so-called apps were not authorized to work in Brazil. The Bolsonaro administration has gradually reduced the barriers for such apps to operate in Brazil as well as red tape across the administration's departments.

Western Union

Today Western Union operates in most main Brazilian cities. While you can send money to Brazil by depositing in a western union store in your country of residency for the Brazilian counterparty to withdraw the funds in Brazil, most remittances are capped at really low amounts. Most stores will cap the remittance to R$10.000,00 while others will have even lower caps.

Wise (former TransferWise)

Wise is currently considered the easiest way to send money to Brazil. While it is not clear how much Wise operations have been vetted by the Brazilian authorities, we are aware of a large number of foreign individuals successfully sending money to Brazil through Wise. 

Just like Western Union, Wise is also limited to lower amounts. However, it looks like Wise actually allows larger amounts to be sent to Brazil (e.g.: up to USD10,000).

Warning: the fact that you have remitted funds to Brazil successfully through Wise in the past does not mean you will continue to be able to do so. Many of our clients have reported increased document requirements over time (e.g., copies of passport, source of funds, etc.) and even plain refusal of the company in allowing additional remittances.

wise

Copy of an actual warning from Wise.

Being aware of such risks is important so you don't end up learning you cannot send more money right before a bill becomes past due in Brazil. 

Watch our Video About Sending Money to Brazil to Buy Real Estate

3.  Open a bank account in Brazil

By opening a bank account in Brazil you may be able to transfer your funds from abroad to your bank account in Brazil. Most banks will still require you to send money through a traditional wire transfer, meaning you may still be requested documents to release the money in Brazil.

If buying a property in Brazil

You would then issue a certified check with the funds from your Brazilian bank to attend the closing in person. Your check should be handed to the seller only after the seller signs the transfer of title at closing. The downsides of this approach for parties living outside of Brazil would be the multiple trips required to Brazil (open the bank account, attend the closing, etc.)

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How to Send Large Amounts of Money to Brazil

We assume that you have a legitimate reason to send large amounts of money to someone in Brazil. Most of our clients need to send a large amount of money when buying real estate properties in Brazil. Some of our clients need to send money because they are buying a collectible or a piece of art.

Large remittances to Brazil are highly scrutinized and no legitimate bank or financial institution in Brazil will allow them without a substantial amount of paperwork and red tape. Do not rely on individuals, intermediaries, or small agencies abroad as they may be operating off books. If someone takes your money and does not credit you in Brazil, you may be out of luck for good.

Sophisticated Recipients

Professional sellers of luxury real estate in Brazil are usually the parties best prepared to interact with their bankers and enable such remittances to be received through a regular commercial bank such as Itau, Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, or Santander.

All Other Recipients

Most of the other sellers, whether middle-class citizens or even private wealthy sellers of real estate in Brazil have no clue about the red tape involved in receiving substantial sums of money from abroad.

Because of such lack of experience, and the optimistic nature of Brazilians, such sellers will usually get into a sale transaction with a foreign buyer without understanding the complexity of such transaction. It is not a surprise that many of these transactions will end up in trouble.

Sellers will get annoyed when they do not get their money on time, buyers will get spooked when their money gets entangled between the sender and the receiver bank, and attorneys may need to get involved when it is unclear if penalty clauses addressing late payment will be applicable or not.

Top 7 Tips to Avoid Payment Related Issues

So, now you know that sending large amounts of money to Brazil will almost inevitably result in some level of headache. What can you do to reduce the friction of such transactions? Tips to reduce friction and headache:

  1. Provisioning in the contract a longer period for remittance of downpayment and closing payment
  2. Asking sellers to discuss with their bank account manager all the required documents and steps to receive the monies sent from abroad. This will assure the seller is aware of the timeline and also get the documents required prepared without delays.

  3. Writing a purchase and sale agreement addressing how to allocate the penalty in case of payment delays. 

  4. Considering working with a Brazilian bank specializing in currency exchange, which is usually faster in handling large money remittances to Brazil.

  5. Factoring in how friendly and willing to work through potential hiccups is the seller. A seller easy to work with may offset part of the red tape and challenges of remitting large amounts of money to Brazil.

  6. Avoiding schemes designed to avoid the Brazilian regulations. Relying on non-registered financial providers and individuals may result in a complete loss of your monies in addition to civil and even criminal penalties.

  7. Hiring an attorney specializing in international business transactions to assist you with your purchase.

Legal Advisory in Brazil
info@oliveiralawyers.com
+55-11-4349-1915 Brazil
+1-212-300-7174 USA
Schedule a Consultation Now


How to Pick Banks in Brazil

Traditional banks in Brazil such as Bradesco, Itau, and Banco do Brasil usually take several days to process a wire transfer from abroad. It is not uncommon for people to wait weeks until the funds are released.

Banks specializing in currency exchange are usually much faster. They can review documents quicker and get a wire transfer released in just a few days.

The situation may be even worse in smaller towns

When a party tries to receive a wire transfer in smaller Brazilian towns or branches in the suburbs of any towns chances of trouble increase even more since local branches have little to zero experience with international wire transfers.

We usually assist our clients by using partner banks specializing in currency exchange to expedite the remittance process. Bankers who have been handling wire transfers for many years are better prepared to assist with wire transfers of larger sums.

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Sending Money to Brazil F.A.Q.

1. What is the best way to send money to Brazil?

For smaller amounts, sending money through the apps may make sense. For larger amounts (e.g., the total required for a cash purchase of real estate), a traditional wire transfer is the way to go.

From an accounting and tax authority perspective, any monies entering the country must be declared by the receiving party. Because of such requirements, the use of regular wire transfers with the support of an accountant to properly file your tax return in Brazil will bring maximum peace of mind. 

1. How do I send money to someone in Brazil?

To send little money, consider apps such as Western Union and Wise. To send more money, you will need to send through a regular wire transfer not forgetting that the recipient party will need to show documents, contracts, and proof of destination for the monies sent by wire transfer.

2. How to send little money to Brazil from the USA

Western Union and Wise work are some of the money transfer services available in Brazil. Such money transmitters work well for US-based parties sending little amounts. Through these services, you can have a money transfer directly to the recipient account or available as cash pickup in Brazil.

To send more money (e.g.: over $10,000) it is not possible to send money online. You will need to send through a regular wire transfer not forgetting that the recipient party will need to show documents, contracts, and proof of destination for the monies sent by wire transfer.

3. How to send money to Brazil from Canada?

Same as for US parties. See our answer to question #2.

4. Can I take money with me to Brazil?

Travelers to Brazil can bring up to R$10.000 in cash without any formalities. For amounts over R$10.000, it is necessary that the person completes an e-DVB notice previous to arriving in Brazil. 

Although the Brazilian revenue does not address what would happen if someone was bringing a large amount of cash (e.g., USD100,000), we assume that the carrier could be temporarily stopped by the police to assess the origin and purpose of such money.

In addition to the above inconvenience, there is also the risk of getting the cash stolen.

Therefore, we highly recommend for travelers to Brazil not to carry significant amounts of cash on them.

5. How to send money to Brazil via Paypal?

Answer coming soon.

6. Best way to send money to Brazil from the USA?

Answer coming soon.

7. Cheapest way to send money to Brazil?

Answer coming soon.

8. Easiest way to send money to Brazil?

Answer coming soon.

9. How much money can I send to Brazil?

Answer coming soon.

10. Best app to send money to Brazil? How to send money online to Brazil?

Answer coming soon.

11. How to send money to Brazil bank account?

Answer coming soon.

12. How to send money to Brazil from the UAE?

Answer coming soon.

13. How to send money to Brazil using a credit card?

Answer coming soon.

14. What are the rules to send money to Brazil?

Answer coming soon.

15. Ways to send money securely to Brazil from USA?

Answer coming soon.

16. What is the most money you can send to Brazil?

Answer coming soon.

Legal Advisory in Brazil
info@oliveiralawyers.com
+55-11-4349-1915 Brazil
+1-212-300-7174 USA
Schedule a Consultation Now

Become a Pro in Brazil Real Estate!

To learn all about purchasing real estate in Brazil, check our How to Buy Properties in Brazil guide.

Learn about the advantages of buying real estate in Brazil in our Why Buying Real Estate in Brazil guide. Find opportunities and decide where to buy using our Know Where to Buy Real Estate in Brazil guide.

Legal Advisory in Brazil
info@oliveiralawyers.com
+55-11-4349-1915 Brazil
+1-212-300-7174 USA
Schedule a Consultation Now

This content is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For legal issues or decisions of any kind, the reader should retain and consult legal counsel. You should not act or rely on the information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

Legal Advisory in Brazil
info@oliveiralawyers.com
+55-11-4349-1915 Brazil
+1-212-300-7174 USA
Schedule a Consultation Now