So, you’ve decided to move to the Netherlands or are planning to do so. You’ve taken some time to learn about Dutch expat life, and then you realize, what about your finances? Do you need a Dutch bank account? The quick answer to that is “Yes.”
In all likelihood, you’ll want to open a regular checking account called a betaalrekening. Your local account will have an International Bank Account Number (IBAN), and you can move money between other Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) accounts for free.
A Dutch betaalrekening has the same features as a typical checking account. You can make deposits and withdrawals and conduct various online banking activities. However, a Dutch bank account is not free, and most retail banks in the Netherlands charge a small monthly maintenance fee.
Note: This article is based on our own experience. It’s for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Always consult your own attorney or advisors for legal advice.
Why Open a Dutch Bank Account
It’s not required by law to open a bank account in the Netherlands, and you can live here and manage your finances from a bank account in another country. However, this can be difficult and very expensive. Imagine the costly international transfers! Also, if there are any issues, time zone differences mean delays in having problems sorted out. So, it makes sense to open a bank account in the Netherlands.
Further, most establishments in the Netherlands prefer payment via PIN transactions, also called debit card transactions or pinnen. And for this mode of payment, it’s best to have a debit card from a local bank. (Again, to avoid costly fees.)
Lastly, if you’re staying longer and want to rent an apartment or even get a mortgage to buy a house, you’d most likely need a local bank account.
How to Open Dutch Bank Account
You can open a bank account as a foreigner living in the Netherlands in the same way that a Dutch citizen can. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
Select a bank.
Investigate various banks’ services, fees, and requirements to find the best one for your needs. Some banks provide special services for expats, so look into these options.
The three biggest banks in the country are ABN AMRO, ING, and Rabobank. However, “mobile banks” banks like bunq, N26, and Revolut are becoming more popular with expats because they support multiple languages and make it easy to send money abroad.
Additionally, some banks may require you to have a minimum balance or pay additional fees for using their services as an expat, so check a bank’s terms and conditions carefully before opening an account.
Prepare the required documents.
Here are the basic requirements:
- You must be 18 years old and above.
- You must provide proof of identity, such as a passport or Dutch identity card.
- You must show proof of address, such as a rental agreement or utility bill.
Some banks may also require you to provide additional documentation, such as your work permit, work contract, recent pay slips, or residence permit to prove your residency status. As such, knowing a particular bank’s requirements is important before you take the next step.
Common question: Do I need to speak Dutch?
No. Most banks are more than capable of helping you open an account in English.
Common question: Can I open a Dutch bank account with a BSN?
No. A Dutch BSN (Citizen Service Number) is not required to open a bank account.
Make an appointment.
Contact your preferred bank and make an appointment to open an account. Some banks allow you to open an account online or over the phone, while others require you to visit a branch in person.
Attend your appointment.
Bring the necessary documents with you to your bank appointment. Note that the bank may ask additional questions to verify your residency status and financial history.
Wait for your account to be activated.
After submitting your application and verifying your identity and address, the bank will review your application and activate your account. This process may take several days to complete.
Start using your account!
Once your account is activated, you can use it for banking purposes such as depositing money, paying bills, and making debit card purchases. You will also most likely receive a bank card such as a bankpas, betaalpas or europas from the bank.
You can pick up this card from the bank or opt to have it sent to your address. You will then have to activate this card to use it.
Common Credit Cards in the Netherlands
Credit cards are widely accepted in the Netherlands, and the most commonly used ones are Visa and MasterCard. American Express and Diners Club cards are also accepted at some establishments but are less commonly used.
In addition to these international credit cards, a number of Dutch credit cards are offered by banks and financial institutions in the Netherlands. Some popular Dutch credit cards include:
- ABN AMRO Credit Card
- ING Credit Card
- Rabobank Credit Card
- ANWB Visa Card
- ICS Visa World Card
These Dutch credit cards may offer unique features and benefits, such as cashback or travel rewards.
PIN Transactions in the Netherlands
As mentioned above, pinnen is the country’s most popular form of payment. Many businesses, including supermarkets, restaurants, and retailers may only accept PIN transactions and cash, but not credit cards.
When making a PIN transaction in the Netherlands, a customer uses a debit card and enters a personal identification number (PIN) at a point-of-sale (POS) terminal to authorize the transaction. The purchase amount is immediately deducted from the customer’s bank account.
So, to pay by PIN in the Netherlands, you must have a debit card issued by a Dutch bank. Note that the bank may charge a fee if you use your debit card to purchase or withdraw cash from an ATM outside the Netherlands. So, please check with your bank to find out if there are any fees applied for using your debit card here or overseas.