ATMs widely available. Credit cards accepted in most midrange and top-end hotels and restaurants.
ATMs are the handiest way to access money in Rio. Unfortunately, there has been an alarming rise in card cloning, with travelers returning home to find unauthorized withdrawals on their cards. When possible use high-traffic ATMs inside bank buildings during banking hours. Always cover your hands when inputting your PIN, and check your account frequently to make sure you haven’t been hacked.
ATMs for most card networks are widely available. Citibank, Bradesco, Banco do Brasil and the Banco24Horas all accept foreign cards (Itaú does not).
You can find ATMs in the following locations:
For exchanging cash, casas de cambio (exchange offices) cluster behind the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Copacabana and along Visconde de Pirajá near Praça General Osório in Ipanema.
Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in Rio; MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are also accepted by many hotels, restaurants and shops.
Credit-card fraud is rife in Rio so be very careful. When making purchases keep your credit card in sight at all times. Have staff bring the machine to your table or follow them up to the cashier – don’t give them your card.
The monetary unit of Brazil is the real (R$; pronounced hay-ow); the plural is reais (pronounced hay-ice).
The real is made up of 100 centavos. Most prices are quoted in reais, though some tour operators and hoteliers prefer to list their rates in US dollars or euros.
In restaurants the serviço (service charge) is usually included in the bill and is mandatory; when it is not included in the bill, it’s customary to leave a 10% tip. If a waiter is friendly and helpful, you can give more.
There are many other places where tipping is not customary but is a welcome gesture. The workers at local juice stands, bars and coffee corners, and street- and beach-vendors, are all tipped on occasion. Parking assistants receive no wages and are dependent on tips, usually about R$4. Taxi drivers are not usually tipped, but it is common to round up the fare.