Since 1 January 2002 Portugal has used the euro, along with Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain. Prices jumped, but the easy conversion (100 escudos equalled €0.50) made the changeover less painful than in other countries. Some people still talk in escudos.
Banks and bureaux de change are free to set their own rates and commissions, so a low commission might mean a skewed exchange rate.
These are a safe way to carry money as they will be replaced if lost or stolen, but are less convenient than the card-in-machine method. Amex, Thomas Cook or Visa are most widely recognised. It’s best to get cheques in euros, and keep a record of the ones you’ve cashed in case you do mislay them. However, although travellers cheques are easily exchanged, with better rates than for cash, they are poor value because commission is so high.