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how to cash an international check, brazil expat and travel to brazil advice

Great info on how to cash an international check for a Brazil expat, people planning to travel to Brazil, or just looking for Brazil information in general.  Here’s what to do if you get paid in a foreign currency and you live or travel in Brazil.

 How to Cash an International Check the Hard Way

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As for me, I learned the hard way but I use my blog here to share my experience with all you great readers out there so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.  I didn’t think cashing an international check would be a big deal since I have more than one Brazilian bank account.  I even have a corporate account with the central bank here (Banco do Brasil) so I figured this would be an easy thing to do.

Boy was I wrong!

I make money online and one of my payment methods is through ClickBank (yes ClickBank really pays out!).  With a US bank account you can just get direct deposit, no worries.  However if you receive physical checks in the mail in Brazil, like I did then cashing the check becomes a little more tricky.  I first attempted to cash the international check at one of my personal Brazilian bank accounts with Banco Itau.  That did not work.  I couldn’t even deposit the check!  Noone seemed to have any idea what to do.  One of the employees had a senior bank manager come to help me.

I was told to try the mesa do cambio (foreign exchange desk) at the main bank for Itau in the commercial district.  I went all the way to the other side of town to no avail.  They were not able to cash my international check or deposit it into my checking account.  I left feeling disappointed but not before getting the runaround from bank employees.  They told me that Banco do Brasil down the street would be able to do it com certeza (with certainty).

I then went to Banco do Brasil thinking they could handle the transaction but was told by an employee that I would need to go to the branch located on the other side of town (closer to my house).  Before I went to the other bank location I tried at least 8 different foreign exchange shops.  None of them could cash my check.

I finally went to the other Banco do Brasil closer to my house and was again told that they could not cash my international check.  However I was told that they could deposit the check.  The wait for the check to clear could take a month or more though because they have to mail the check to the US and wait for it to clear and be returned (or something along those lines).  The bank employee who I spoke with was very helpful though because he actually sent me to the place that was able to cash my international check!

Take notes, because this type of banking Brazil information could prove invaluable to any Brazil expat or people looking to travel in Brazil.  How to cash an international check in Brazil was like the million dollar question that day for me.  I asked nearly a hundred people and only one knew the answer.  These weren’t just random people off the street either, I was talking to bank employees and people who exchange foreign currencies every day (cambios) and nobody knew the answer.

How to Cash an International Check the Easy Way

Brazil expat information and advice on how to cash an international check, Confidence Cambio in bahia brasilSo the place I went to cash my Clickbank check (drumroll please) was a loja (store) called Confidence Câmbio.  That’s it!  That is how you cash an international check in Brazil.  As far as I know of Confidence is the only place that will do this.  You can also go there to exchange cash as well.

The one I went to was in Salvador, Bahia – Brasil.  It was in a small shopping center at the bottom of a skyscraper called "ondonto" something…  I think it was filled with dentists’ offices.  The neighborhood it was in is called Itagaira.

How lucky was I to finally talk to the banker at the last branch I visited who pointed me in the right direction?  I don’t really believe in luck or chance.  In actuality my first thought was to go to that bank before I spent a whole day and a half searching around the city for a place to cash my check.

If I would have listened to my inner voice I would have saved myself a lot of hassle but eventually I came around and the answer to my predicament found me.

I think things have changed recently with Confidence though.  I was able to take my checks to them and get them cashed right there on the spot.  It usually took about 30 minutes or so for the check to clear and then they would cash it for me.  Things went a little differently the last time I went though.  Instead of cashing my checks they took my checking account info so they could deposit the money straight into my account.  They said that they stopped giving cash on the spot for the checks.

It took a while almost two weeks for the transaction to go through.  Also, you may be required to have a Brazilian bank account now.  I’m not sure because I used my Brazilian checking account.

That’s my experience if anyone knows any differently or has any questions feel free to comment below.




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Guide of Salvador, Bahia - Brasil. Info on Carnival Salvador, doing business in Brasil, travel in Brazil, the economy of Brazil as well as being black in Brazil.  Bahia is seen as the "Soul of Brazil" and heart of Afro Brazilian culture. 


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Dialing Instructions

Brazil City Codes for Customers Dialing From Brazil

Local Calls While in Brazil (Vivo's network) to a Landline or Cellular Number:
Dial the local subscriber's number (7 or 8-digit length).

To Call US while in Brazil: 00 + Long Distance Provider Code (15) + 1 + 123-456-7890.

National Calls While in Brazil (Vivo's network):

0 + long distance code + area code + telephone number (e.g. 0 + LD + 2-digit area code + 7 or 8-digit telephone number).

International Call While in Brazil (Vivo's network) to Another International Destination:
00 + long distance code + country code + national destination code +telephone number (e.g. 00 + LD + variable length CC + variable lengthNDC + variable length telephone number).

Emergency Number While in Brazil:
190 (Police) and 193 (Fire station).


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I recommend this online book to anyone with interest in Brazil, in particular the state of Bahia. This is a great publication in English with beautiful pictures and descriptions of Bahia.  It is a great read, whether you make the trip to Bahia, Brasil or not you will have a thorough understanding of the beautiful culture of this mystical place.  Filled with great info and pictures on Salvador, Bahia and this Mecca of Afro Brazilian culture.

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This is a publication from the Secretary of Tourism for the State of Bahia in Brasil.

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