Foreign Exchange Guide to Brazil
The domestic currency in Brazil is the Brazilian real with currency code BRL. Read this foreign exchange guide to Brazil and the Brazilian real with money transfer and travel tips plus Brazilian real exchange cross rates.
In this guide we review :
- Brazilian real info - general info about the Brazilian real
- Brazilian real in the markets - recent BRL moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Brazil - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Brazilian real cash online - travel money for Brazil
- Sending money to Brazil - save on Brazilian real bank transfers to Brazil
- Brazilian real exchange rates - latest & historic exchange rates.
Brazilian real (BRL) general currency information
Trading in Brazil’s real contributes to around 1% of the foreign exchange market daily turnover. The real is subdivided into 100 centavos.
The value of Brazil’s real is heavily influenced by commodities prices, given that the country’s top exports include iron ore, crude oil and the ‘soft’ commodities, especially soybeans.
As an emerging market currency, the real is considered riskier than currencies from major developed nations, which means that its value will fall against those currencies (especially JPY, USD, CHF, GBP and EUR) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.
Since the year 2000, the real’s highest valuation against the US dollar occurred in July 2011 when the exchange rate for USD/BRL fell to just 1.531. Its lowest value came in September 2015, when USD/BRL reached 4.248 following a plunge in commodities prices.
What is the Brazilian real currency code and symbol?
The three letter currency code for the Brazilian real is BRL and the symbol is R$.
Which countries use the Brazilian real?
It is the domestic currency in Brazil.
Brazilian real (BRL) in the markets
Against the US dollar, between mid-2016 and early 2018, the Brazilian real had been fairly stable, barring short periods or days of extreme volatility. Things changed in the second quarter of this year, however, with the real weakening to a two-year low of 3.71 per dollar. At the time of this report in mid-May, the real had also weakened to 4.376 to the euro – also a two-year low.
Year-end forecasts for the real are difficult given an uncertain presidential election in October. One thing that is certain is that real volatility will increase throughout the summer months, ahead of the election.
Further to the election, themes acting against the real in 2018 will include higher US interest rates and the stronger dollar that accompanies those, and the emergence of a currency crisis in Argentina, which has unnerved investors in emerging markets.
Supporting the real this year will be higher oil prices. Oil rallied in May to a long-term high above $70 per barrel.
The interactive chart below shows the BRL to USD exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.
Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for Brazil
Brazil is generally the most expensive country in South America so keep that in mind when deciding how much cash to carry on you. Brazil's currency unit is the real (plural = reais) and is made up of 100 centavos. its best to carry nothing larger than 10 or 20 reais bank notes. This will make it easier to make small purchases as well as easier for small vendors, stores and restaurants to provide you with change. Using a credit or debit card can be an ideal way to avoid carrying more cash than you require for just incidental expenses. Most hotels, restaurants and stores in Brazil readily accept Visa and Mastercard. If possible choose a credit card which doesn't charge for currency conversion to save money on international transaction fees when travelling through South America, as most most issuing banks will charge a foreign transaction fee of from 2 to 3% and may have additional fees.
Brazil's major cities have excellent metro systems, with Rio’s system being expanded for the 2016 Olympic Games. Otherwise the local buses are decent and fairly priced and can be a good way to get to know a city. Outside of Rio rail travel is all but non existent in Brazil so you will have to rely on either airlines or intercity buses.
In Brazil, as with most countries in South America it is often a good idea to travel with a combination of currencies to have along with your credit card. Sometimes foreign cards may not be accepted at ATMs and often cash is the only way to pay so have some local currency and some US dollars on hand as well as you can generally pay with USD everywhere. However in some cases the only ATMs that give USD are at airports and major banks. Small towns may not have ATMs at all. Travelling with a Prepaid Travel Card can make life easier.Make a point to check your bank account for strange withdrawals as cards get skinned fairly often. Be sure to have travel insurance when traveling in South America, you could consider choosing a credit card that comes with complimentary travel insurance.
Brazil Trip Checklist
- Compare BRL travel cash rates - probably why you are here!
- Search Hotel deals - Save on your accomodation in Brazil
- Lonely Planet - world's best travel guide (coupon and deals)
Travel money for Brazil
Save money and time by Ordering your Brazilian real online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the BRL cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Brazilian real otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Travel Money for Brazil
Sending money to Brazil
When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to Brazil you need to start with finding out the latest Brazilian real foreign-transfer exchange rate.
Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much you can save (we make that calculation easy here).
Getting a better deal when sending money to Brazil
When sending money to Brazil it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Brazilian real amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted BRL amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Brazil.
Use our Send to BRL calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Brazilian real deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!