Relocated from Brazil, but need to send money back to loved ones at home? The good news is there are multiple ways to do exactly that. But, before pressing ahead with sending money to Brazil, it’s worth taking a little time to consider your options. Different international money transfer methods can come with different fees and exchange rates, which means that some will offer you better value for money than others.

If you’re keen to ensure that your recipient gets as much in Brazilian reais with each transfer as possible, then this guide will come in handy. We’ll look at the various factors in play when you convert pounds, dollars, euros, or any other currency to reais, and lay out options you should consider when supporting the people you care about.

Currency exchange explained

When sending money to Brazil, the actual amount that ends up with your loved one depends on how the Brazilian real, which is issued by the Central Bank of Brazil, compares to the currency you’re currently using, in terms of value. This is known as the exchange rate.

Let’s say you’re a Brazilian living in the US, wanting to send money to your loved one back in São Paulo. Looking the exchange rate up online, you see that 1 USD = 5.46 BRL. This hypothetical currency pair shows that one dollar will buy you 5.46 reais, although it’s important to remember that the way the currencies stack up is prone to change. In fact, one dollar may convert to a different amount in reais the very next time you’re sending money to Brazil.

What’s behind these fluctuations? A number of possible factors, including:

  • Inflation
  • Interest rates
  • Government debt
  • Political stability
  • Economic stability
  • Brazil’s imports vs exports
  • Market forces on the international currency market

In other words, if there’s a political upheaval back home in Brazil, a crisis that affects the markets, or simply a change in the economic policies of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government, there could be an impact on the exchange rate. While such factors are beyond your control, you can still make sure you land the most cost-effective money transfer by picking the most competitive remittance company you can find.

Sending money to Brazil: converting to reais

When it comes to converting USD to BRL, GBP to BRP, EUR to BRL, or any other currency to BRL, you’ll have a couple of options on the menu.

Bank: Brazilians abroad may automatically consider sending money back home through their bank account. This can be a tempting option, as you won’t have to set up an account with another company, and all you have to do is instruct your bank to make the international transfer. However, it may not be the most cost-effective way to provide funds to your loved ones.

Money transfer service: You may find that sending money to Brazil through a dedicated remittance company gives you more value. This can particularly be the case with remittance companies that are based entirely online. Since they don’t have to pay the high overheads to run land-based outlets, they can often pass on savings to customers in the form of competitive rates and great exchange rates.

Using Remitly to send money to Brazil

One prominent example of a remittance company based purely online is Remitly, which currently caters to over five million customers worldwide. Remitly has partnerships in place with a series of banks based in Brazil, including Caixa and Banco do Brasil, empowering us to provide a swift, seamless, and secure money transfer service.

To get started, it’s just a matter of creating your own Remitly account through the website or app. Some basic personal details will be required, including information relating to your payment method. Then, you simply add details for your recipient , and you can go ahead with the transfer. Bear in mind that Remitly may ask for additional documentation depending on the amount you’re sending or if we are unable to verify your identity.

Curious to know what the Remitly exchange rates are right now? Click here for more information.

Sending money from Brazil: converting reais to another currency

What about converting Brazilian reais to pounds, Brazilian reais to dollars, Brazilian reais to euros, or Brazilian reais to any other currency for that matter? The same rule of thumb applies, which is that some research can help Brazilian nationals get the most for their money. Anyone looking to send money out of the country should enquire with their bank and compare the exchange rate and any fees to what’s offered by dedicated remittance companies in Brazil.

What about exchanging BRL outside Brazil?

Brazilians outside their home country have a number of ways to purchase local currency using reais. Popular options include:

  • Converting cash at a high street currency exchange desk
  • Purchasing local currency at a bank
  • Withdrawing local currency using ATM machines
  • Purchasing goods and services using your Brazilian bank card

Many people visiting other countries may naturally gravitate to currency exchange desks and banks when it comes to securing local currency. Both options are convenient, especially if you happen to be in a large town or city where they are likely to be easy to find. On the other hand, you may well find that their fees and/or exchange rates aren’t the most competitive.

Similarly, while you may simply be able to draw cash with your bank card, or pay your way with your Brazilian debit or credit card, the banking fees may swiftly rack up this way. Any Brazilians spending an extended amount of time in a new country may therefore want to consider setting up a local bank account, which can provide a cheaper way to live and work there.

If you’d like some tips on doing exactly that, why not check out our guides to setting up bank accounts in the UK, the US, France, and Spain?

Finding the best Brazilian real exchange rate

Whether you decide to use a bank or remittance company when sending money to Brazil, it’s useful to have a working knowledge of how the conversion works. The calculation itself is simple to understand, and looks like this:

Send Currency x Exchange Rate = Receive Amount

Let’s consider how this plays out in three example scenarios.

How to find dollar to real rates

For our first example, let’s say you’re currently based in the US and looking to send 100 USD to your loved one back home. Checking the exchange rate, you can see it is currently 1 USD = 5.46 BRL. The conversion for your transfer therefore looks like this:

100 USD x 5.46 BRL = 546 BRL

So does your recipient actually receive 546 BRL? Not necessarily. There are often fees to deduct from this conversion amount. Let’s imagine your hypothetical remittance company charges 8 USD per transfer. This equates to 43.68 BRL. So, what your friend or family member in Brazil actually receives can be worked out like this:

   546 BRL – 43.68 BRL = 502.32 BRL

By contrast, as of this writing, sending through Remitly’s Economy remittance option costs 1.99 USD per transfer. This would mean your recipient receives significantly more reais compared to the hypothetical scenario above.

How to find euro to real rates

What if you’re based in France and sending 100 EUR to Brazil? Going by the hypothetical exchange rate of 1 EUR = 6.32 BRL, the conversion would look like this:

100 EUR x 6.32 BRL = 632 BRL

At this point, you’ll simply have to subtract any fees to see how much money will actually end up with your loved one in Brazil.

How to find pound to real rates

Finally, let’s say you’re currently based in the United Kingdom and sending money to Brazil. If the amount is 100 GBP and the hypothetical exchange rate is 1 GBP = 7.37 BRL, then we can work the conversion out as follows:

100 GBP x 7.36 BRL = 736 BRL

Once again, the fees should be deducted to see what the conversion actually amounts to for your recipient.

Getting the best deal

Brazilians living in countries across the world have a choice of ways to send money back home, whether they’re looking to transfer funds as occasional gifts, or provide vital, ongoing financial support for loved ones. This guide has hopefully demonstrated the importance of doing some research so you can ensure your transfer translates to the maximum possible amount of Brazilian reais in your recipient’s bank account (and pocket).

About Remitly

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This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topics discussed herein. This publication is not a substitute for seeking advice from an applicable specialist or professional. The content in this publication does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice from Remitly or any of its affiliates and should not be relied upon as such. While we strive to keep our posts up to date and accurate, we cannot represent, warrant or otherwise guarantee that the content is accurate, complete or up to date.