Update: Payments Predicament

(See original post Payments Predicament. This update also includes some Brazilian Perspectives – double whammy!)

Ok, I was definitely mistaken about the consumer banking system here in Brazil.

I was accurate about the terrible customer service in the branches – no argument there, but what I didn’t know was that online and ATM technology would allow me to avoid the banks nearly all together (all together if I can help it).

See comments of those more in-the-know on consumer banking technology. However, this does highlight the segregation issues in the country – again, the (relatively) wealthy and educated have a better experience than those that are not.

Thanks to everyone for my education on Brazilian consumer banking!!!

Danielle says:

Do you know you can make deposits into people’s accounts at other banks through the ATM if you have their account number? You don’t have to wait in the teller line — just the ATM line– which is usually a bit shorter. We had to pay our rent at the landlord’s bank, too, but I just did it at the ATM. With big companies (like our car insurance), they give us an agência and an account number, and also some kind of ID number (I think it’s called DI or NI or some acronym like that). It distinguishes your payment from the presumably high number of payments into that account. When you’re making the deposit at the ATM, it gives you the option of making a deposit with one of those numbers.

If there are some deposits that you have to make monthly, it’s worth asking the person you’re paying if you can have their direct numbers! Good luck

Ana says:

you can pay at the ATM machine or making a TED online from your bank account to their bank account.

Corinne says:

You can do almost all (if not all) of your banking transactions online. You can make transfers (DOC for amounts less than R$5000 and TED for transactions more the R$5000) from your account online. There is a charge (between R$5 and R$10) for a transfer to an account in another bank. If the person has an account in your same bank (regardless of the branch) there is no charge. You will need the person’s CPF to make the transfer though. You can set up these transfers to happen at periodic intervals if you wish (like once a month). If you get a bill (boleto bancário) for any of your bills, you can pay that online too. There is a different link for whether it is títulos (rent, insurance, school, etc.) or utilities. The títulos can only be paid online until they are due, if you miss it, you are stuck waiting in line at the bank the bill was issued, but utilities can be paid online late. However, you do not have to wait until it is due to pay online – you can pay early or even schedule the bill to be paided online at a certain date (like the due date). You can also use the ATM to pay bills and make deposits like Danielle said, however the bill paying must be from an ATM where you have your account, whereas you do not need to have an account to make a deposit via ATM. I think a lot of people wait in line because they do not have bank accounts (a lot of people earning up to 3 minimum salaries get paid in cash) or don’t trust the internet (which is my husband’s reason). However, I have been doing all banking via internet for almost 10 years now in Brazil and have not had a problem. You can even send money via Western Union or wire transfer internationally online (for Banco do Brasil).

Ray says:


Many of these things mentioned by Danielle and Corinne are somewhat new, I didn’t even know about them in such details, my brother usually tells me people don’t need to stay in line anymore and everything can be done on the ATM’s or on line from your computer.
Perhaps, your husband, ( like me) isn’t aware of the new changes, considering you guys were living in the US until recently.
I can almost guarantee you all those people at the lines inside the banks are people who are not technology savvy or afraid of computers and prefer to go and wait and have it done the “old school” way.
I have always known that Brazilian banks are the most advanced in the world. Banks from other countries, including the US and Europe are always learning from Brazilian banks and adopting their technological advances.
The reason Brazilian banks got so sophisticated was because they had to adapt to survive during the crazy inflation years, in the late 70′s and during the 80′s.
When I lived in Brazil in the 90′s, I always used the “office boys” at the places I worked and never ever stayed in line for anything.
Great post, thanks for sharing. I really needed to learn all these new bank tricks in preparation for my return ;)



If the bill you have to pay has a bar code (and most of them have now) you can go to your ATM, select “Pagamentos”, then there is an option “com código de barra”. You’ll see a red light flashing, you just need to put the bar code under the flashing and the machine will read it. Sometimes, depending on what you’re paying, it will ask how much of the bill you want to pay, and confirm the date.
For bills that exceed the amount of money that you can withdrawal from your account using the ATM card you’ll probably will have to go in the regular line. This is what happens to my grandmother health care plan.
For telephone, electric bill, IPTU, cable, gas etc it’s easier if you go to your bank and ask to do the recurring payment (Debito automatico).
You only need to go the the bank where the bill is from if you have passed due date. If you look at your bill it’ll probably be written somewhere: “Pagável em qualquer banco até o vencimento”, which means, you can pay in any bank before due date.
I think that a lot of people go to the regular line because they have problems to understand the ATM machine and/or don’t have internet access.
I’m living in US for two and half years now and I just can’t understand why they don’t have bar codes here. Actually when I saw that I would have to send the check to pay some bills by mail I thought to myself, “this is weird”, and I just asked for recurring payment whenever possible. Cultural differences :) .

Good luck there :)

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7 Responses to Update: Payments Predicament

  1. Ray says:


    This has certainly been an eye oppening post for me. I am learning a lot from all the comments.


  2. danielle says:

    Haha, Ray knows I adore him, but I don’t know if we can go as far to say that Brazilian banks are the most advanced in the world! The ATMs offer a lot of services that American ATMs should offer, but American ATMs don’t need much of those services because the things they offer can be done more efficiently online or with better customer services reps. The Brazilian agência system is really, really outdated. The fact that you can only do most of your bank services at the branch where you opened the account is very, very limiting. So I think both countries can learn from each other’s bank systems. With our powers combined…

    Anyway, BAB, glad to know things will be easier for you now.

  3. Rachel says:

    Glad to hear it! Mr Rant is a huge fan of online banking. I can’t remember the last time we actually had to set foot in one.

  4. Today I went to the bank armed with my new education on banking options and guess what… the ATM’s weren’t working. So since I had my daughter with me, I got a “preferential” number, but the guy in the preferential line was sucking up tons of time, so EVERYBODY, including the flood of people that came into the bank after me, got to go before me. I was too angry to get a regular number, so I complained in bad Portuguese at the desk. Eventually they ushered me to the next attendant. I wanted cash too, but instead of giving me the amount of money I asked for, he gave me more money than was actually in my account (my Portuguese is not THAT bad), causing I’m certain an overdraft fee, despite the fact that I made him put it back. I then wanted to ask a few question about my statement and some random charges, but the guy sent me back to the desk where they spoke so fast I couldn’t understand their reasoning for the charges, but only that it was probably lame and invalid. So I gave up.

    So much for information being power. (just kidding!) Still, another frustrating day of banking in Sao Paulo…

  5. Ray says:

    Dear B.A.B,
    It will get better, I promisse. 🙂

    Dear Danielle,
    It isn’t my opinion regarding the Brazilian Banking system being the most advanced in the world. It is a industry known fact, they actually had to get sophisticated enough to survive the years of rampant inflation. On the opposite end, you have the American Banking system that is held back by the regulations created to prevent another crash similar to the one of 1929. We will talk more about it when we met in person. 😉


  6. Pingback: bank vs. banco | born again brazilian

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