HomeFITNESSFed up with commissions? Save with the minimum banking services account

Fed up with commissions? Save with the minimum banking services account

The minimum banking services account is an account that offers an ever-increasing range of banking services, at little or no cost.

If you want to save on bank fees, it’s worth considering a minimum banking services.

The system for accessing basic banking services has existed since 2000, but has undergone changes in order to correct or adjust some of its rules and even better publicize the service. A Law No. 44/220 of August 19which once again extended the services included in this account, entered into force on January 1, 2021.

With the entry of the new law, the possibility of making five free MB Way transfers per month, was the last of the amendments introduced, and with it another step was taken towards greater implementation of minimum banking services. Know everything about this account.

What is a minimum banking services account?

A minimum banking services account is a current account which allows its holder to have access to a range of banking services considered essential for sound financial management, in exchange for reduced commissions, when compared to most other types of accounts.

The increase in commissions in banking has led to an increase in adherence to this type of account, created by decision of the Bank of Portugal. However, it has strict rules both in terms of access and the services it includes.

What is the cost of the minimum services account?

For the set of services included in the minimum banking services account, your bank cannot annually charge an amount greater than 1% of the value of the Social Support Index (IAS), that is 4.80 euros according to the IAS value in 2023 (which is 480.43 euros).

Some banks do not charge this annual feeso if you want to know what each bank charges for this account, use the commission comparator provided by Banco de Portugal on Bank Customer Portal.

What services are included in the minimum banking services account?

The holder of this account has access, at no additional cost, to a set of services, namely:

  • Availability of a debit card accepted as a means of payment in the European Union (ie Visa or Mastercard network card, for example);
  • Access to the movement of the account through ATM, homebanking and to bank branches;
  • Withdrawal and deposit of cash and checks at the bank counter;
  • Making payments for goods and services and direct debits;
  • Transfers made through boxs ATM, with no limitation on the number of operations carried out annually;
  • Intrabank transfers (i.e. transfers to accounts of the same bank), with no limitation on the number of transactions carried out annually;
  • 24 SEPA+ interbank transfersfor each calendar year, carried out through homebanking;
  • 5 transfers per month, with a limit of 30 euros per operation, carried out through payment applications operated by third parties (such as MB Way).

What if I exceed the number of free trades included in the account?

If this happens, you will be charged, in these operations, the amount in price.

For example, if you exceed 24 annual SEPA+ transfers, or 5 transfers per month, with a limit of 30 euros per operation, from MBWay, the ones you make more are subject to commissions and expenses provided for in the bank’s price list, which you can consult on the bank’s website or on the homebanking.

What are the advantages of having a minimum banking services account?

Most banks charge account maintenance fees and fees on SEPA+ transfers made on the homebanking. And there are already banks that are starting to charge cash withdrawals over the counter.

Thus, the advantages of this account are centered on cost reduction. At a time when banks are raising commissions, this account can represent a significant gain in your available budget.

By having this account can I have housing credit?

Of course. The minimum services account only intends that you can have a set of services at a reduced cost. It does not prevent you from contracting other products and services with the bank.

In fact, you can at any time contract products and services not included in the Minimum Banking Services account, set up term deposits or take out mortgage loans. Bear in mind, however, that all services not included are subject to fees and expenses set out in the bank’s price list.

Who can open such an account?

Despite being a relatively lower cost banking service, anyone can access the minimum banking services, as long as you do not have another current account at another bank. In other words, this must be your only current account.

There are, however, some exceptions:

  • You may be the holder of other demand deposit accounts, if you are joint holder of the minimum banking services account with a person aged over 65 (or with a degree of permanent disability equal to or greater than 60%) who does not have other accounts .
  • You can have an individual minimum banking services account if you have another minimum banking services account in which you are joint holder with a person aged over 65 (or with a degree of permanent disability equal to or greater than 60%) who has no other accounts.

If you only have a single demand deposit account, you can convert it into a minimum banking services account if you so wish and thus reduce your bank costs.

In fact, in the first statement of each year, banks must inform their customers of the possibility of convert your demand deposit account into a Minimum Banking Services account. It is up to you to check whether you are covered by the access conditions. If you are, don’t hesitate.

Which institutions provide this service?

Not all banks offer this type of account. To make this type of account available, they must offer their customers all the services included in the definition of Minimum Banking Services, and not all banks operating in Portugal offer them.

But for the institutions that offer them, the availability of this option is mandatory. You can consult the banks that provide the account of minimum banking services here.

Does the bank have to inform me that it has this type of account?

Yes he has. If the bank makes this account created by Banco de Portugal available, it has the duty to inform you.

In fact, the Bank of Portugal has been encouraging people to subscribe to this account, which is why it obliges banks to:

  • In the first statement of the year, informing its customers that they can convert their account into a minimum banking account;
  • Attached to the first annual statement, include an information document on the minimum banking services, so that you can assess whether you meet the respective access conditions and decide whether you want to convert them;
  • Have a poster clearly visible at its branches with information on the conditions for accessing and maintaining minimum banking service accounts, the services provided and the means of alternative dispute resolution available to holders;
  • Include in your bank’s price list the account for minimum banking services on the sheet relating to demand deposits.

How can I open this account?

Opening this account has additional procedures. You will have to declare, on the account opening forms or in attached documents, that you meet the requirements to open the account.

That is, who does not hold another demand deposit account, or who has another account, in the minimum banking services account is co-holder with a person over 65 years old (or with a degree of permanent disability equal to or greater to 60%) who have no other accounts.

If you have accounts at other banks, you will also have to declare that you have already closed them.

Can the bank refuse its opening?

You can, as long as you do not verify the conditions of access, that is, when at least one of the following situations is verified:

  • At the time of the request to open a minimum banking services account, the bank knows that it has accounts opened at other banks;
  • Do not want to declare that you do not hold demand deposit accounts at other banks or that accounts at other banks are closed.

In both cases, accounts are excepted in which he is the co-holder of a minimum banking services account with a person over 65 years of age or with a degree of permanent disability greater than 60% (no other accounts).

My bank has this type of account. Can I convert my account?

anytime he can convert your account into a minimum banking services account if it fits the conditions of access.

If you have accounts at other banks, close them and declare that you have done so when opening your minimum banking services account.

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Can the bank close my minimum banking services account?

You can, but only in certain situations, namely:

  • If you have used the account for purposes contrary to law;
  • If you made incorrect statements when opening an account and therefore did not meet the access requirements.

Additionally, with 60 days’ notice, the bank may close your minimum banking services account if:

  • The account has not been used, debit or credit, for more than 24 months;
  • Stop legally residing in the European Union;
  • Have a minimum banking services account at another bank.

The bank will have to communicate to you, on paper or durable medium, the grounds for closure, the possible demand for payment of fees due for misuse of the account and the complaint procedures and means of alternative dispute resolution.

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Banking institutions that provide this specific product are now automatically obliged to grant at least two entities as a means of resolving disputes that enable the alternative resolution of disputes.

As the current jurisdiction of the courts of first instance is fixed at the amount of 5 thousand euros, so, if the customer of this type of account has a conflict with his banking institution for an amount equal to or less than this amount, he can use of these means of alternative dispute resolution in order to try to resolve the divergence between the parties.

Article originally published in July 2019. Last updated in February 2023.

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