Saving money: is it worth opening an international account to travel?

Alexandre Diniz

Publicado 03/mar5 min de leitura


Inset spoke with financial analysts to understand how the modality works and what the advantages of the service are; see how to open a global account from wherever you are

Those who want to travel outside their home country know that planning is essential to save money on international destinations. One of the main points of attention that travelers should have is related to the ways to secure foreign currency: whether before it was necessary to take with them all the cash or have access to an international credit card, today, global accounts are alternatives that facilitate financial transactions, with more affordable exchange rates and possibility of organization in a long run term.

As a kind of extension of the current account, the international account works like a traditional one: it allows you to make transfers, withdraw cash and use your debit to pay for purchases at merchants. The main difference is that the balance is not kept in reais, but in foreign currency, such as dollars or euros. To use it, just open the register in the bank of choice, transfer the money from the Brazilian account linked to the global account and the conversion from real to the currency in question is automatic. The entire operation can be done digitally.

"When you have an international account, you actually send your money out of Brazil. By making a foreign exchange contract, you have that money transit registered at the Banco Central (Central Bank of Brasil) and become part of the investor community that can invest anywhere in the world. What you need to look at is where the platform you're opening the account on is headquartered, because it's under the jurisdiction of the financial authority of the host country of the bank where you put the account, and see what currency you want to put in," explains Gisele Colombo, a certified financial planner at Planejar (Brazilian Financial Planning Association).

Besides the practicality of the global account, since it can be opened and operated through the mobile phone, it can also represent savings for the brazilian traveler. That's because the IOF (Tax on Financial Transactions or FTT – Financial Transaction Tax) charged to transfer money from the national account to the global account is 1.1%, while the rate for international credit cards and prepaid cards - another payment alternative for those who will travel abroad - is 6.38% of the value of purchases in Real.

Comparison international transaction english

To have an idea, considering the dollar at R$ 5.10, a transfer of US$ 1,000 to the global account represents a saving of about R$ 383.20 in relation to the credit card. This amount considers the IOF tax and a spread rate of 2%, charged by banks to perform the operation, which also tends to be cheaper in the operations of global accounts than in transactions through credit card. The amount of taxation varies between institutions. At Inter, for example, the spread on the international account ranges from 0.6% to 1.5%, depending on the customer segment. At C6 Bank, on the other hand, the rate is 2%.

Falling Dollar: international account is an opportunity for financial reserve

According to the financial planner, one of the main advantages of the international account, both for those who will travel or already travel frequently, is the possibility of building a financial reserve in another currency to take advantage of exchange rate variations over time.

"Just think that many times you'll put money together little by little to take a trip or a course abroad. If you have an international account, every month you can buy foreign currency, send it there and will already be gathering the money you need for your future expenses. Besides that, you having a debit card out there, there's no tax incidence", recommends Gisele.

The financial analyst Sidney Lima points out that in the current scenario of falling dollar the financial reserve in the international account is an alternative that can benefit even those who are not organizing a trip for the coming months or do not intend to make purchases in foreign trade. This is because the application ensures diversification and protects the investor from the financial risks of a single country.

"The dollar is accepted all over the world and is seen as a security currency. With the downward movement, I believe it is not only a good, but a great opportunity, considering that it is cheap for the Brazilian investor. There is nothing better than diversification, even more a diversification that you can put in the currency that is the strongest that we have in the whole market," he says.

Another important point to note is that this year we have presidential elections in Brazil, so there are a number of uncertainties that will rotate the prospects of investors. In an election context, the market has a lot of volatility, so it is very important to put part [of the financial resource] in something that is safer.
Sidney Lima, financial analyst

Sidney also evaluates that those who want to take advantage of the moment of appreciation of the exchange rate to acquire the currency should do it as soon as possible. In the specialist's analysis, this movement should not be sustained in the long term, and the recovery of the north american currency should be felt soon. On Wednesday (2), the currency closed the day at R$ 5.109, down 0.91%. In the previous week, the dollar closed up 0.28%, the first weekly appreciation of 2022 so far.

The financial planner Gisele Colombo reinforces that there is no taxation in cases where the money is "stopped" in the international current account. However, if it is earmarked for some investment, fees will be charged on the investment income. "Those with credited income need to pay 15% monthly on exchange variation and 15% on income from financial investments. Sometimes you won't have anything to pay because you had no incomes, but every time you do, even if you don't bring the money to the account in Brazil, you should collect the tax by Carnê-Leão (a monthly tax payment on extra personal income)", he clarifies.

How to open an international account from Brazil?

Some banks already offer brazilians the possibility of having a global account, as is the case of C6 Bank, BS2 and, more recently, from Inter through USEND, American fintech acquired by the institution this year and that operates in 41 states in the United States, besides working with international remittances to more than 60 countries.

C6 Bank and BS2 global accounts can be opened directly from the banks' app and there is no maintenance fee. However, at C6, the cost to open the account and issue the debit card is $30. This amount is converted into Brazilian reals at the official exchange rate of the day and deducted from the C6 Bank current account in Brazil. Clients who have a C6 Carbon card or investments of R$ 20 thousand or more in CDBs at the institution are exempt from the fee. On B2S, there is no fee for opening the account, but the minimum transfer starts at US$12.

Today it is already possible, through Inter's Super App, to download the USEND app and start using it. The modality offers features such as opening the digital account for Brazilians who want to become banked in the United States, receiving in dollars from more than 60 countries around the world and transfers in the US. Unlike other institutions, this global account charges no opening or maintenance fees. In addition to the advantage of fee waivers and the more attractive spread, the account also requires a minimum amount of only $1 for foreign exchange and transfers.

"Soon, Inter customer will be able to enjoy an even more complete experience, with the global USEND account within Inter's international Home on the Super App. He will be able to make dollar reserves, taking advantage of exchange rate windows; receive money from family, friends and payers abroad; make international purchases in dollars and still enjoy other Inter products for the U.S.," explains the Head of International Expansion at Inter, Claudio Guarcello.

Alexandre Diniz


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