Foreign Payments in Brazil
Despite all the different manners of sending money to Brazil, sometimes this is not a really easy process. In this article you will learn some tips for transferring money to the country.
Investments in Brazil and the continuing foreign presence felt in the country increases every day. New investors from all parts of the world search the country in order to enter into contracts. However, there are some difficulties a foreigner can face when dealing with sending money to and from Brazil.
Bureaucracy is, undoubtedly, the worst problem which foreigners will realize when they arrive in Brazil. There is a huge amount of repeated and usually unnecessary paperwork that has to be provided for business; every step takes much more than that it could and should. The bureaucratic system is such that Brazil had, during the final phase of the Military Dictatorship, from 1979 until 1986, a Ministry of Debureaucratization, in order to increase the public administration's efficiency.
According to the annual Doing Business report, made by World Bank Group in 2013; Brazil was ranked 130 out of 185 in the list of countries easiest to do business in – a decrease compared to 2012, when the country was in 128th position. The problems went from starting a business – which takes,on average, 122 days, while in Peru it takes 60 and in Chile, 32 – to how many days are necessary to spend paying taxes – which, in Brazil, corresponds to 156 days, almost half a year.
There are many obstacles when sending money from Brazil abroad, despite all the different options that make this transaction very easily possible. In fact, this operation used to be a nightmare due to the country's bureaucracy and lack of options. Now it may be less of a nightmare but still proves testing because of the amount of details needed to be processed.
In February 2013, the Central Bank of Brazil regulated the use of IBAN, the International Bank Account Number, as an identification standard for international transfers of resources to bank accounts kept in Brazil. It facilitates the communication and processing of cross-border payment transactions.
The system was originally set up for use in the European Union but it is now used worldwide in many countries.The system has only recently been set up in Brazil, so from July 2013 on, financial institutions should provide the account identification to their clients in the IBAN format, and should accept the received transfers with the use of the referred code.
Until recent years, the only company that could provide the money transferring service was Western Union, probably the most well-known in terms of remittance in the world. Using Western Union, the beneficiary doesn't have to pay any fees or taxes to withdraw the money. The sender is the one who has to fill out a form specifying the place, the amount of money and the name of who will receive it, plus pay the fee.
Then a Money Transfer Control Number is issued, and using it, it is possible to track the process on the internet. Less than 24 hours later, the money can be withdrawn in one of the 410,000 authorized agencies of the company spread through the world.
Bank Transfer By Payment Order
It is possible to send money abroad through a bank transfer, and in this case it is necessary to go to any agency and then ask for the remittance through a banker's order. By this means, the beneficiary is requested to have an account, and both the receiver and the sender would be charged for the service. To send money abroad, it is necessary to know the receiver's data,a bank code where the money will be withdrawn also known as a SWIFT code. Most banks already have some semi filled forms with the SWIFT number already included, available on their websites.
The disadvantage of this process is that both sender and receiver are charged. The banks abroad usually charge between USD 20 and USD 40, and the institutions in Brazil will deduct between USD 20 to USD 100 according to the amount being transferred.
Bank Account Abroad
It is also possible to transfer the money from/to an account abroad. It is not worth it to open an account only for this purpose, though. That's because sending money from one country to another follows the same logic of a bank transfer made by a banker's order, with the difference that in the last case both beneficiary and sender have an account in financial institutions. This means that besides paying the costs of the process itself, the client has to pay for the costs of opening the account and having all the taxes charged in a foreign currency.
The exception are banks in Brazil which provide the opportunity to open an account abroad in the same institution. HSBC Premier clients, whose monthly income passes BRL 7000 or who has investments of at least BRL 5000 in the bank have the possibility to send money abroad through internet banking. In this case, the monthly fee costs from BRL 45 to BRL 49 and there are no taxes for making the transference from one account to the other.
Foreigners who own a VISA credit card can open an account via internet at Caixa Econômica Federal to send money to Brazil. There will be a transfer tax of 2,5% of the amount transferred, and the money will be debited to the user's credit card. To open the E-conta or E-account, it's necessary to live abroad, to be 18 years or older and to have a CPF. The activation of the account created online will only happen after the client sends an identity document or the passport to Caixa Econômica. This process must be finished within 30 days.
The money then can be transferred to any Caixa's account in Brazil or be withdrawn in a preselected agency of the bank, in a way that the beneficiary doesn't have to be a current account holder. The limit for monthly remittances is of BRL 30,000 and each operation cannot pass BRL 10,000. The amount sent will get to the beneficiary in two working days.
It is also possible to transfer money, in dollars or euros, to 41 different countries, using the Post Office, through Vale Postal Eletrônico. In this case, it is necessary to have data from both sender and beneficiary. The most important forms of data are the identification documents of the sender, the name of the institution abroad to where the transfer will be made and both identification and address of the beneficiary.
The maximum limit for remittances varies according to the agreements made between the nations. The maximum amount possible to send to Brazil is EUR 3,000, but it can also vary according to the agreements. This service is not available for receiving money from the United States. Regardless of the destination of the remittance; the price of the operation is BRL 35 plus 1,5% of the amount sent.
Both private people and legal entities can use this system to send money abroad. In the case of a private person, it is necessary to present:
- ID card (RG) or Labor’s Card and Social Welfare or driver's license.
In the case of a legal entity, it is necessary to present CNPJ and Required Documents of the Individual Legal Representative.
It is important to notice that this service is not available for all countries,and that there is a limit of the amount of money that can be transferred according to the country where it is going to be send to. The list of countries and the amount which can be sent or received from them can be found in this link.
If the person is carrying BRL 10,000 or under or the equivalent amount in a foreign currency, there is no need to inform the authorities about the money. In cases where more than BRL 10,000 have to be transported, it is necessary to make the Declaração de Porte de Valores, DPV, at customs, which is a declaration that you are carrying a certain amount of money. There is no limit for it; no taxes or fees will be charged on the money.
The details when making the contract are also essential to avoid loopholes or changes in what has been agreed previously. It is strictly necessary to avoid ambiguity and to make sure that all the exceptions for the cases are included in the contract, no matter how improbable they might be.
Written contracts are more preferable over verbal contracts if you can. Even though they are legally enforceable, it is very difficult to prove that some clause is right due to the simple fact that there are no clauses, so if what was agreed is not executed, there is no way to complain or prove that your complaint is valid. Unless you take someone to witness the handshake agreement, the advice is to stick to the old plan. In these cases, generally, the judges determine a fair solution to both parts of the case, but it is advisable to not take any unnecessary risks.
Razão Social vs. Nome Fantasia
In the case of legal entities, the process of receiving money has greater chances of going wrong than if it was with a natural person. That is because Brazilian companies have two different names – the razão social and the nome fantasia – and it is necessary to send money to a company using its razão social.
We can explain. Razão social is the company's register name. It is also known as nome comercial, denominação social or firma empresarial and is the name given to the legal entity. Nome fantasia, in its turn, also called nome de fachada or marca empresarial, is the popular name of a company. So, for instance, in Bahia, Ceará, Piauí and Rio Grande do Norte, the company that manufactures and distributes Coca-Cola Company products is Norsa Refrigerantes Ltda. Coca-Cola is the nome fantasia, and Norsa Refrigerantes Ltda, the razão social. This means that if Coca-Cola has money from abroad to receive, it should be sent in the name of Norsa Refrigerantes Ltda, not in Coca-Cola's.
The problem is that, since foreigners are not used to this kind of register, they tend to send money to the company's nome fantasia, and then the remittance gets stuck in the bank for lack of matching data.
Track Your Remittance
Each bank has its own procedures, and in some of them there are people who manually check the information given in order to match to the remittance receiver in Brazil. Since this is not a rule and not all banks follow this procedure, it is necessary to keep track of the money and see whether it got stuck in the bank or whether it was sent back to the sender.
For this reason, it's important to notice that the receiver will not be warned if there is no match of information. It varies from bank to bank, but usually, the financial institutions will spend between 24 to 72 hours to release the money. If you know your company is about to receive money and haven't heard anything from the bank after 3 or 4 days, check if there wasn't a problem with the information given.
Also, keep in mind that it is not possible to pay in Brazil either in Brazilian Reais or in some other specific currencies, like Norwegian Crowns; in these cases, it's necessary to pay in dollars or euros.
Another important thing is that the IBAN of both sender and receiver need to be in the same currency – otherwise the information on the bank system won't match and the remittance will get stuck again.