This is one of the articles in my travel tips that you must read. In this article I’ll show you everything there is to know about toll roads in Portugal and how to pay the electronic ones (ex SCUTS). SCUTS (without costs for the users) were virtual toll roads in Portugal that the Portuguese State supported.
The SCUT system was introduced in 1997 and eliminated in 2011. Since then, those who use these highways have to pay via electronic toll.
Here’s how to pay the electronic tolls (ex-SCUTS)
1. Toll roads in Portugal – if you enter in Portugal with a foreign vehicle, you can choose from a list of four options to pay the electronic tolls:
Option 1 – EASYtoll
EASYtoll is a system that associates the license plate to the credit card (Visa or Mastercard).
To subscribe EASYtoll you have to go through one of these four country entries with this logotype: A28 – Viana do Castelo service area; 3.5 km from Chaves/Verin border; A25 – Alto de Leomil (Vilar Formoso) service area; A22 – Castro Marim/Ayamonte (see map of the Portuguese highways below).
A few kilometres ahead of one of the 4 above-mentioned country entries, you’ll see a sign like this:
To get to the Easytoll system, you must leave the highway, in the indicated place. In 2 of the 4 places, the Easytoll system is located in a service area. In the other 2 cases, you’ll just need to make a small detour (see photo below).
From then on, you may use the toll roads in Portugal without any problems.
Important information: By subscribing EASYtoll service you will pay 0.74 € and each journey has an administrative fee of 0.32 € (apart from the tolls).
Example: You arrive in Portugal today and use the highway with electronic tolls to Porto, you will pay 0.74 € plus 0.32 € aside from toll rates. Tomorrow you’ll use the highway from Porto to Viana do Castelo so you’ll pay 0.32 € plus toll rates. At night, on your way back, you’ll still have to pay the toll rates plus the 0.32 €.
Option 2 – Toll Card
Toll Card is a prepaid card (5, 10, 20 or 40 €) that you can purchase in CTT stores (Portuguese post-offices), service areas or at tollcard.pt. The activation and association of the credit card to the license plate is made via SMS. You may activate several cards at the same time and accumulate balance of each card.
To know your balance you have to go to the website tollcard.pt or await for an SMS that lets you know your balance ran out.
By purchasing a prepaid card you will pay an additional 0.74 € for administrative fees and for each journey you will pay more 0.32 € aside from the toll rates.
Example: You arrive in Portugal today and use the highway with electronic tolls to Porto, you will pay 0.74 € plus 0.32 € aside from the toll rates. Tomorrow, if you use the highway from Porto to Viana do Castelo, you will pay 0.32 € plus toll rates. At night, on your way back, you’ll still have to pay the toll rates plus the 0.32 €.
If you buy the card on the internet, you won’t get a virtual card so you will have to save the receipt in your computer. On the right side of the receipt you will find the prepaid number allowing you to access the site to know your balance.
Information: the Toll Card is valid a year after activation. If you have purchased several Toll Cards and didn’t activate them, you can take them to the Portuguese post office (CTT) to be refunded.
Toll service is a prepaid ticket valid for 3 days and with a fixed cost of 20 € (+ 0.74 € of administrative fees). The ticket may be purchased in the Cepsa service areas of Viana do Castelo (A28), Abrantes (A23), Olhão (A22), at the airport of Porto, at the Portuguese post offices (CTT) EASYtoll and in portugaltolls.com.
The association of the ticket with the license plate is made at the moment of the purchase.
Via Verde is a device to put in the windshield that is valid in all Portuguese highways and electronic tolls, allowing to pay the tolls without stopping.
The rental of the device VVV (Via Verde Visitors) costs 6 € in the first week and 1.50 € in the following weeks. When you rent VVV, you will have to leave a refundable deposit of 27.50€. You can use the device for 3 months. To purchase Via Verde, you will have to go to a Via Verde store (visit viaverde.pt to check the location of the stores).
Every time you go through a toll, the toll rate will be debited from your bank account.
Important information: Easytoll and Toll Card systems only allow the payment of the electronic tolls. For the “normal” toll roads in Portugal (with toll gates) you’ll have to stop to retrieve a ticket and, especially, never use the lane reserved for Via Verde subscribers.
To use the lane reserved for Via Verde subscribers, you must have Via Verde device that you can buy at Via Verde stores.
If, by mistake, you take the lane reserved for Via Verde subscribers, know that you can pay the tolls (as well as the fine) after using the highways by going to the site pagamentodeportagens.pt.
You should also know that you’ll have until 23h59 of the day when you use the highways with electronic tolls to subscribe the Easytoll or Toll Card systems. After that period of time you won’t be able to pay the tolls – you’ll have to pay them by going to the site pagamentodeportagens.pt (tolls + fine).
If you use highways managed by the companies Via Livre (A27/A28/A22) or Ascendi (A24/A25/A17/A29/A13/A41/A42/A4) without having chosen one of the 4 above-mentioned options (Easytoll, Toll Card, etc.), you’ll have to wait for a letter sent to your home so that you can pay the tolls and fine. These two companies don’t accept the site pagamentodeportagens.pt for payments.
If you’re travelling by plane and want to rent a car, you have two options to pay the electronic toll roads in Portugal:
Option 1 – Via Verde
When you rent a car, ask for a ViaVerde device that will allow you to pay the tolls when you return the vehicle. The upside of this device is that it is valid for all the Portuguese highways. The downside, however, is that you have to pay 1.50 € per day (to a maximum of 18.50 € per rental).
Option 2 – CTT
If you haven’t chosen Via Verde option when renting your car, you’ll have to go to a Portuguese post office (CTT) to pay the electronic tolls. By giving the rental car’s license plate number you’ll know how much you’ll have to pay.
You’ll have 5 days to pay in the post office after every time you use highways with electronic tolls.
Exemple: if you use today a highway with electronic tolls (ex-SCUTS), you’ll have to wait 1 day until the system logs this information; after that you’ll have 5 days to pay the electronic tolls you used. Tomorrow, if you use a highway with electronic tolls, you’ll have to wait another day so that the new values are associated to your car.
My suggestion is that you go to a post office every 3 days (after using a highway with electronic tolls).
The downside of this option is that it’s possible that you can’t pay all the electronic tolls. Exemple: use the toll roads in Portugal in the day of your departure or in the previous day. Since you won’t be able to pay (because you went to your home country), the rent-a-car company will get a fine which will subsequently be debited from you bank account.
If you’re living in the country and have a vehicle with a Portuguese license plate, you have some options to pay the electronic toll roads in Portugal:
Option 1 – Via Verde
Buying a Via Verde device costs 27.50 € and allows the toll rate to be debited from your bank account whenever you pass through a toll. The upside of this device is that it is valid in all the Portuguese highways.
Option 2 – CTT
In a CTT store, post office or Payshop, giving your license plate number. CTT also gives you the possibility to pay in the Multibanco network (ATM terminals) or Homebanking – to do so you need to ask for a MB Reference. It can be on-line, on the CTT site, or sending an SMS to the number 68881 with the text «CTTMBspaceLicensePlatespaceNIF» (e.g.: «CTTMB AA-00-00 123456789»). SMS cost is 0.30 € + VAT.
You may subscribe a prepaid contract by purchasing a Prepaid Via Verde or a Prepaid Anonymous that you can get in the CTT stores. Prepaid Via Verde is valid for all the toll roads in Portugal and the Prepaid Anonymous is only valid for the highways with electronic tolls.
Do not forget to pay during the 5 business days after you use a toll.
If you live in the country and often use the toll roads in Portugal, then I would advise you to buy a Via Verde device.
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