Brazilian Currency: Quick Guide

Banknote 2 Brazilian reais note.

Have you ever found yourself lost in a foreign country, trying to make sense of their currency? I certainly have! A few years ago, I embarked on a spontaneous trip to Brazil, eager to immerse myself in its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes. Little did I know that navigating the Brazilian currency, known as the real, would become an unexpected adventure. Today we will learn everything about the Brazilian real! We will learn what the Brazilian currency symbol is, explore the exchange rate of the Brazilian real with your local currency, take a look at what Brazilian banknotes and coins are like (including pictures), will learn everything about the history of the real currency and which currencies came before our beloved real! So, let’s go with Today’s A Dica do Dia!

What is the Brazilian Real?

The Brazilian real (BRL) is the official currency of Brazil. It was introduced in 1994 as part of a monetary reform to stabilize the country’s economy. Before the real, Brazil had a history of high inflation and multiple currency changes. The real replaced the previous currency, the cruzeiro, at a rate of 1 real to 2,750 cruzeiros reais.

Brazilian Currency Rate

The Brazilian real’s exchange rate is constantly changing, as with any currency. See below the rate with any other currency!:

Brazilian Currency Symbol

The symbol for the Brazilian real is R$. It is often written with the symbol before the amount, similar to the US dollar ($). The “R” stands for “real” and the “$” for money.

Brazilian Currency Pronunciation

If you come to Brazil for a long time, it will be very important to learn Portuguese. Anyway, if you stay for a short time will be very useful to learn how to pronounce the Brazilian currency pronunciation. In Portuguese the word in singular is real and the plural form is reais, see how we pronounce them:



Brazilian Currency Pictures

The Brazilian real comes in both coins and banknotes. The coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos, as well as 1 real. The banknotes come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 reais. Each banknote features a different Brazilian animal on the back, such as the jaguar, the maned wolf, and the blue macaw. Let’s see Brazilian currency pictures.

Brazilian Note

The Brazilian real’s banknotes are made of polymer, a type of plastic, making them more durable and harder to counterfeit. The notes also have tactile features for the visually impaired, such as raised dots and lines.

2 Brazilian Reais Note

5 Brazilian Reais Note

10 Brazilian Reais Note

20 Brazilian Reais Note

50 Brazilian Reais Note

100 Brazilian Reais Note

200 Brazilian Reais Note

Brazilian Currency Coins

The Brazilian real coins are made of stainless steel and have different designs on the front, including the Brazilian coat of arms and famous Brazilian landmarks. The 1 real coin features the Southern Cross constellation, which is also depicted on the Brazilian flag. Let’s see brazilian coins pictures.

Brazilian Currency History

The Brazilian real has a relatively short history compared to other currencies. It was introduced in 1994 as part of a monetary reform to combat high inflation and stabilize the economy.

Over the years, the Brazilian currency has faced challenges, including economic recessions and fluctuations in the global market. Despite these obstacles, the real has remained the official currency of Brazil and has played a vital role in the country’s economic growth.

Understanding the history of the Brazilian currency helps shed light on its significance and the economic journey of Brazil as a nation.

Brazilian Old Currency and Transition to Real

Before the real, Brazil had a long history of different currencies. The first official currency was the Portuguese real, introduced in 1690. See the different coins that Brazil had:

Now, let’s take a look at a historical overview of the Brazilian currency:

1690 The Portuguese real, is introduced in Brazil during Portuguese colonization, called in plural réis.
1747 First Brazilian coin, the old Brazilian real
1942 Introduction of the Cruzeiro as the official currency, replacing the real. 1 cruzeiro = 1000 réis
1967 New cruzeiro or novo cruzeiro as a result of inflation and economic instability. 1 new cruzeiro = 1000 old Cruzeiros
1970 The second cruzeiro replaces the novo cruzeiro. Coin will be named just cruzeiro again.
1986 The cruzado will be the new coin. 1 cruzado = 1000 second cruzeiros.
1989 The cruzado novo or new cruzeiro is created. 1 cruzado novo = 1000 cruzados.
1990 Launch of the third cruzeiro.
1994 The launch of the new Brazilian currency, the real, as a measure to stabilize the economy.

The old Brazilian currency, known as the cruzeiro, was in circulation for several decades. It was initially introduced in 1942 as a tool to stabilize the Brazilian economy. Over the years, the cruzeiro underwent various changes and updates, with new banknotes and coins featuring different designs and denominations. There were times with hiperinflation that were provoquing continuous currency changes and inestability as you can see on the table.

The transition to the real occurred in 1994 as part of the Plano Real, a comprehensive economic stabilization plan implemented by the Brazilian government.

The Plano Real: Brazil’s Economic Stabilization Plan

The Plano Real was a bold and successful initiative aimed at combating hyperinflation and establishing a stable currency for Brazil. It involved a series of measures, including the introduction of the real, strict fiscal discipline, and market liberalization.

The real was seen as a symbol of stability and confidence in the Brazilian economy. The transition to the real involved the demonetization of the cruzeiro, with people exchanging their old currency for the new notes and coins. The process aimed to reduce inflation and regulate the Brazilian monetary system.

The introduction of the real brought significant changes to the Brazilian economy. It helped control inflation, attract foreign investors, and promote economic growth. The currency’s stability and credibility have played a crucial role in Brazil’s economic development and its position on the global stage.

With a deeper understanding of the old Brazilian currency and the transition to the real, we can appreciate the importance of economic stability and the role the real plays in Brazil today.

Why is the Brazilian Real Important?

The Brazilian currency is an essential part of Brazil’s economy and plays a significant role in international trade. Brazil is one of the world’s largest economies and is a major exporter of commodities such as soybeans, iron ore, and oil. The real’s value can impact the prices of these exports, making it crucial for businesses and investors to understand and monitor.

How to Exchange Brazilian Currency

If you are planning to visit Brazil, you will need to exchange your currency for Brazilian reais. The easiest way to do this is by using an ATM or exchanging money at a currency exchange office. It is recommended to avoid exchanging money at banks, airports or hotels, as they often have higher fees and less favorable exchange rates.

Tips for Using Brazilian Currency

Here are some tips for using Brazilian currency:

  • Always carry small bills and coins for smaller purchases, as many places may not accept larger bills.
  • Be cautious when using credit or debit cards, as fraud is prevalent in Brazil. It is best to use them at reputable establishments and keep an eye on your account for any suspicious activity.
  • When paying with cash, always count your change and make sure you receive the correct amount.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide has provided you with a deep dive into the Brazilian currency, . We explored Brazilian real symbol, exchange rates, history, pictures of its notes and coins and we learned to pronounce it. It is a fascinating currency with a rich history and unique features. It plays a crucial role in Brazil’s economy and is an essential part of international trade. By understanding the Brazilian currency, you can have a better understanding of Brazil’s culture and economy, making your visit to this beautiful country even more enriching.

Click on the links below to check out related Dicas:
Money in Portuguese
Bank in Portuguese
Brazilian Payment Methods
Brazil Dictatorship

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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