Cash and Currency Tips
By David W. Schneider
When I go to Rio I like to bring a mixture of several credit cards, debit cards and also some cash.
Credit and Debit Cards are accepted almost everywhere you go in Rio and is the safest way to pay for things. The banks negotiate the best exchange rate and you can easily monitor your purchases online. There are several US Banks in Copacabana and Ipanema where you can use your debit card at an ATM machine to withdraw Brazilian money. Using the ATM Machine is a great way to safeguard your money because you can take out as you need. This is convenient and safe but there is a cost. Most banks charge an international ATM service fee for withdrawing money in Brazil and in the past it has been about $5US per transaction. They also have daily limits of about R1000 per day but that much depends on your bank.
CitiBank - Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana, 828 - Copacabana (Between Constante Ramos & Dias da Rocha)
CitiBank - Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 250 - Ipanema (Near Viinicus de Moraes)
CitiBank - Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 459 - Ipanema (Near Rua Garcia d'Avila)
HSBC - Avenida Nossa Senhora. de Copacabana, 817 - Copacabana (Between Rua Constante Ramos & Rua Dias da Rocha)
HSBC - Avenida Nossa Sra. de Copacabana, 1246, Copacabana (Between Rua Sousa Lima & Rua Francisco Sa)
HSBC - Rua Visconde de Piraja 608, Ipanema (Near Avenida Henrique Dumont)
Bring some US Dollars to Rio and Exchange for Brazilian Currency at a "Cambio". Cash is good to pay for items in Rio where you can't use credit cards, like street vendors and taxi cabs. There are many currency exchange stores or cambios located all over the place in Rio. You can easily spot them because they have the exchange rate chart in the window. Most of their rates are the same no matter what store you goto in Copacabana, but good to compare to find the best rate. Before you go to a cambio in Rio I would look at a currency exchange website like www.xe.com where you can see the current exchange rate for $1US dollar to the Brazilian real. Expect to get a little less than what the rate is posted for the day. Best to bring One Hundred Dollar Bills to the exchange because they give a lesser rate on small bills.