Nevertheless, you should always have enough cash ready as you can never know where your card will be refused.
When you open a current bank account in Brazil, you will automatically obtain a Brazilian debit card (cartão de débito).
In order to obtain a credit card (cartão de crédito) you have to be aged 18 and submit your CPF, your RG and proof of residence in Brazil and sufficient income. A minimum wage for an international credit card is currently R$ 1.200 per month. Some banks, like Bradesco, also offer debit cards with an included credit card function. The conditions to acquire this card are the same as those for credit cards.
Nearly all banks have ATM facilities, some of which accept foreign credit and debit cards. Look for a respective label at the cash point machine. The permitted withdrawal amount per card per day is usually R$ 1,000. After 10 p.m. the permitted amount is usually only 500 R$ so keep this in mind if you have to withdraw a higher sum.
Be careful if the withdrawal fails. Take the bank receipt if available, as sometimes your account is still charged although you actually do not receive any money. Also take a look if the machine appears to have any unusual devices which are used by criminals to copy banking card data. Use the cash points which are inside a building.
Travellers cheques and money exchange
Currency and US Dollars travellers checks can be cashed in exchange offices (casa de câmbio), banks and also some travel agencies and hotels. The exchange rate for cash is usually slightly better but exchange fees in general are quite high. To change money you will need your passport.
Note that it can be very difficult to change money during weekends, so try always to change enough to come through the weekend or change immediately after your arrival at an international Brazilian airport as there are no time restrictions.
Before leaving Brazil change the local currency for Dollar as the Real cannot be changed outside of Brazil.