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The currency in Brazil is the Real (plural is Reais). It is pronounced like hay-ow (plural is hay-ice).
Banking hours are from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Some HSBC branches open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
ATM Machines of banks are generally open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm (although it is common for the locks on the doors to be not operational). Note that not all ATM machines accept international credit cards. The machines that do accept international credit cards will have the symbol(s) of the types of international cards it accepts. Banks that typically have ATM machines that accept international credit cards are HSBC, Citibank and Banco do Brasil.
Generally, ATM machines that accept international credit cards are readily found in large cities. However, if travelling outside the city or to remote areas, it will be much more difficult to find an ATM machine. So plan ahead.
Generally, it is advisable to arrive in Brazil with at least a small amount of local currency (Reais). If you are based in the UK the Post Office can get Reais for you. You cannot get Reais at any of the airport money exchanges in the UK. If this is not possible, most Brazilian airports have an exchange desk or ATM machines.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged in shops with signs showing "Cambio". The exchange rates given for exchanging cash are generally better than those from withdrawing cash from a credit card from an ATM machine (especially with all of the little fees most card companies charge these days).
Be advised that you may encounter difficulties trying to get cash on a weekend. Several foreigners (from Canada and the USA) have encountered problems getting cash from ATM's after "normal" banking hours on a Friday. This is even from Citibank as well as the local Brazilian banks. Shops with signs showing "Cambio" may also not be in the exchange business on a Sunday.
Q: Can foreigners open a bank account in Brazil?A: No, not unless you are a Brazilian resident with permanencia and the required documents.