Currency in Brazil is transacted using the Real or “Heh-All” as it is called. Plurality of the Real is Reais or “Heh-eyes”. This currency fluctuates to the dollar and as of now it’s US$ 1.00 = BRL 3.14550 and dropping . As the Brazil economy recovers the dollar continues to slide. Unemployment however is still above 20%.
Brazilians divide the Real into 100 Centavos, much like the American Penny. Paper money (bank notes) are circulated thusly: R$ 1 R$5 R$10 R$50 and R$100. Coins: R$ 0,01 R$ 0,05 R$ 0,10 R$ 0,25 R$ 0,50 and R$ 1.
Accessing your credit cards in larger cities in Brazil is quite commonplace in most shops, stores, hotels, restaurants and rental agencies. ATMs are available at many banks but you won’t find them at many convenience stores you happen to stop by. Some of the bank’s ATMs don’t accept foreign credit cards. Banco Bradesco and Banco do Brazil accept Visa/Plus, some other ATMs accept MasterCard/Cirrus. Calling MasterCard at 1800-424-7787 will provide you with information as to their locations.
One can rarely go wrong carrying travelers’ checks when going abroad. They’re relatively easy to replace and don’t pose a target to a potential thief. American Express Travelers Cheques seem to be the most convenient as in larger cities a police report (which can be a very time consuming project) is generally not required if they’re lost or stolen. One to thing note however is that sometimes, depending on where you go to exchange, travelers checks are traded at a lesser rate than cash. It may be a small price to pay for the security.
Time permitting and transportation available, it’s not a bad idea to shop around for the best exchange rates. Banks are typically the best place to find them but you can also try hotels, travel agencies and exchange houses (Casas de Cambio). Additionally the best rates are found in the larger cities, so if you’re heading out to remote areas exchange your money before you go.