We're kind of broke, at least in reais. We've been waiting for a wire transfer for a long time! And until this first, guinea pig one goes through, it's not worth taking the risk of transferring more money across continents. Better to eat the finance charges and just pay with credit cards or take money out with a US debit card than find out your whole month's salary is lost in the ether between Panama City and Rio de Janeiro...
Since we still had a little money in Italy, we decided to get that out first and see how much of a hassle it would be. Our wire transfer request went out on the 23rd of July. On the 12th of August, we received a letter from my husband's Brazilian bank, letting us know that as of the 2nd of August some money had arrived in his name and bank account number. But it wasn't deposited. Nope. We need to "appear in person at the bank" with proof of why we are receiving this money, and then they'll release it into his account.
Let's go over that again, shall we? Because it seems the Brazilians don't understand the very concept of a wire transfer. And when that's added to all the other nonsense we've dealt with since opening an account with The Bank That Shall Not Be Named, one is overwhelmed by proof that this country still has a way to go before it can lose its "3rd World" name tag. Sorry, Brazil.
The time it takes to open an account: about 3 months
The time it takes to close an account: don't even think about it!
The time it takes to authorize your cards once they arrive: 30-45 minutes as you run around with employees who don't speak English and won't talk to me because I'm obviously a "Senhora" and not male.
The time it takes for your debit card to be cloned in the bank's own ATM machine: 5 seconds
The time it takes for them to freeze the card: one day, give or take (score points for efficiency!)
The time it takes to actually notify the cardholder: 5 days after the card's been frozen
The time it takes to send new ones and reinstate your debit card privileges: 9 business days
Can you use your card on the internet? Sorry. It's considered "international" because you are, apparently. No Ticketmaster for us, thank you very much.
This makes me miss the U.S., just a little bitty much. Even though I'm sure things aren't quite as easy in these heightened days of bureaucratic frenzy...