Portugal Travel Tip: Paying for a Meal

The city’s iconic Francesinha Sandwich has two types of sausage plus ham, steak, bologna, and cheese

One of the first things you will notice in Portugal (and most of Europe) is that a server/waiter will always bring the credit card reader machine to the table and will never take your credit card away from you.  

5 Tips for Paying for a Meal in Portugal:

1. Before you go to Portugal… get yourself a credit card with no international fees and use that as much as possible (best exchange rate by far).  My favorite travel credit cards are the Capital One Venture card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Read More: Travel Reward Credit Cards 101

2. American Express and Discover are usually not accepted outside of hotels and large establishments.  Bring a VISA/MasterCard 

3. If a restaurant only takes cash, they’ll have a sign saying “não temos MB or não temos multibanco“. That means they don’t take card payments, debit or credit. 

TravelerTip: Carry cash with you as some small places will not accept credit cards.

4. when the waiter runs your credit card, they will hand it back to you and you will get the option to pay in Euros or your home currency (USD or CAD).  ALWAYS select Euros to get the best exchange rate (your credit card company gives you a better exchange rate than machine)


5. tips are not included and usually there isn’t a way to add it (you can ask for them to add it before you insert card).  If you want to leave a tip, leave it as cash on the table.  Typical tip depends on type of restaurant but can be loose change at a cafe or up to 10% at a nicer restaurant.

In conclusion

Just remember, unlike in USA and Canada, staff will never bring you the bill until you ask for it and they do this as a courtesy to let you enjoy your dinner experience.

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