Open a Bank Account

Open a bank account in the Netherlands

How to open a bank account in the Netherlands?

If you are living in the Netherlands, getting a Dutch bank account is one of the first things that you need to do. In order to open one, you will need to visit the branch of the bank directly, and the process can be a little daunting. With the help of this article, you will be able to open a bank account in no time and be able to select the best account that suits your needs and requirements.

7 Easy Steps: Opening a Dutch Bank Account

  1. Do your research and pick the best bank for your needs
    Check that they provide customer service or apps in English, pick the best rates, etc.
  2. Call them and book an appointment ASAP
    Appointments can take weeks to get, so you really should book them as soon as you can and possibly even with different banks so that you can explore your options better.
  3. Get all your documents in order
    When you call the bank they will tell you exactly which documents you need, so make sure you have them ready to go before your appointment.
  4. Go to the appointment
    Remember to take all the necessary documents with you.
  5. Wait for your bank card and PIN codes to arrive in the mail
    Within two weeks, you should receive several letters in the mail containing your bank card, or cards, and the corresponding PIN codes.
  6. Set up your Internet Banking and Smartphone Apps
    Download your bank’s app and set up your Internet Banking account so that you have easy access to all the information you need.
  7. Enjoy your new account!z
    Not too hard was it?

Documents That You Will Need

  • Document of identity- Like any other bank, a Dutch bank requires you to procure a document of identity. Valid passports, ID cards, or ID cards of certain EU countries will be accepted. If you have a residence permit, it is ideal to bring it as well.
  • BSN number- Your BSN number, which you will have acquired upon your arrival to the Netherlands and after registering with your local municipality, is used as an identifier by tax authorities to determine your fiscal identity. While opening a bank account in the Netherlands providing this number is mandatory.
  • Proof of Address- Proof of your address showing where you live (like a utility bill or contract of rent) may be required by certain Dutch banks.
  • Proof of Income -  Having a valid proof of income that shows your employment status is a must. Your contract of employment or pay slips will do.

Dutch Banks

The main banks that you can find in the Netherlands include:

  • ABN-AMRO (great English customer service/app)
  • ING Bank (great English customer service/app)
  • Bunq (Online based bank)
  • SNS Bank
  • Rabobank (not too English friendly)

ABN-AMRO (my recommendation) and ING Bank are both very popular in the Netherlands. From experience, they both have excellent customer service in English, and also feature internet banking and app experiences in English.

Bunq is a bank where you can open your bank account in the easiest way. The entire process takes just five minutes with the help of your smartphone. The access that you get to this account is complete, real-time access. You can also make instant payments with the help of this bank account. If customer service is important to you do not worry, as their services are available in different languages that include Dutch, English, Italian, Spanish and German.

Opening a Bank Account

One of the biggest hassles of opening a bank account in a bank like ABN-AMRO or ING is that you will have to head to the bank in person. You may only do this during opening hours, which tend to fall at the same time as working hours, so keep this in mind. Some banks will be open during the weekends, but these are very busy times and it is therefore important that you call in advance and book a meeting.

It may take you weeks before you are able to have a meeting with a bank, so call as early as you can when you arrive in the Netherlands.

Banks in the Netherlands may check your credit ratings by consulting with the BKR, also known as the Central Credit Registration Office when you go in to open an account

When you go to open a Dutch Bank account, you will be given what is known as a Private Bank Account. This type of bank account (privérekening) includes various types of cards, although having a 'bankpas' (regular bank card) is important and standard procedure. You will be able to choose the option of picking up your private-bank card with the help of your identification document. You will then be provided with a PIN code of 4 digits either on the mailing address that you had provided or directly when you go to receive your card. You also have the option of changing your PIN number and set it according to your wishes at the bank.

Methods of Payment

Contactless payment

The Netherlands is experiencing a boom in the use of 'pinpas' for transactions that are small. In order to speed up the process of payment, the latest debit cards are being equipped with capabilities of contactless payment. If you are purchasing something within €25, you are not required to type in your PIN number and may simply hover the card over the payment machine, but if you are making a purchase that costs you over that value you would always be required to put in your PIN number.

If your card does not have contactless payment options, you can always insert the chip of your card into the machine and insert your PIN code like a regular payment.

Credit Cards in the Netherlands

Most commercial banks in the Netherlands are tied up with either VISA or MasterCard, for the provision of a credit card. In order to be eligible for a credit card, you might be required to become a loyal member of the bank for a stipulated amount of time. A

Internet Banking in the Netherlands

Some banks like the ABN-AMRO have payment apps and online banking are a common feature in the Netherlands. You will most likely have to download an app onto your smartphone to be able to use these features, but you can also opt for only using Internet Banking on a computer. The information that you find on these platforms is usually available in English which is highly convenient. With your smartphone, you will be able to authorize online payments by scanning a QR code at check-out, and then inserting your PIN code.

If you are interested in apps that help with fast and occasional payments, then apps like Tikkie are hugely popular in the Netherlands. These apps have been optimized to allow you to send payment requests of specific amounts to the person that you receive money from, via social media platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

IBAN Acceptgiro

The IBAN Acceptgiro is another popular method of payment of bills in the Netherlands. As a part of this payment method, you write down the bank details of your bank and sign on a yellow slip that is attached to the bottom of the invoice, showing you the amount that you would have to pay. You can either proceed to pay this amount online or take the traditional route and choose to pay by visiting the bank.

Transferring Money Out of the Country

If you wish to transfer money abroad from the Netherlands, most international bank transfers have a specific fee. However, being a fixed rate, these charges are usually cheaper than the charges levied by money unions. Online payment methods include options like Transferwise and PayPal, but they are good only for small amounts of money. You will not be able to send money to certain countries (such as Somalia), so keep that in mind.

Good Things To Know -
if you don't have a bank account (yet)

If you don't have a Dutch bank account you should have no trouble withdrawing money from an account that is based overseas via an ATM. Most of the ATMs that you find in the Netherlands are capable of accepting a wide range of debit and credit cards and the options that you see on the screen are available in many different languages.  You will not be required to pay any service charge if your card belongs to any of the 18 countries that fall under the Eurozone (post-Brexit Britain will no longer be a part of this group). If you want to exchange your foreign currency for Euros, you can easily do this at a Post Office or the exchange office of GWK.

Most of the credit cards from major companies are accepted all over the Netherlands, however, there are some exceptions to this rule. Whilst you will have no problem in hotels, restaurants, touristy places, and huge departmental stores, certain supermarkets (like Albert Heijn, the most popular in the Netherlands) do not accept credit cards.

Cash is a popular choice of payment in the Netherlands, but the most widely used method of payment is the “pinnen” or payment through a debit card that has a PIN code. Some places in the Netherlands do not accept cards that have the magnetic swipe feature. Examples of such places include ticket booths for trains, where only chip-and-pin cards are accepted.

Since 2002, the Netherlands has had the Euro as the official currency. Denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 are available... It is important to note that 1 and 2 cent coins have now been discontinued in the Netherlands. For example, if you pay for a coffee that costs you 1.98€ with a 2€ coin, you will not get change back. However, Bank payments and statements have the exact values depicted on them.

With the help of this information, I hope I have been able to provide you with a clear picture of how the banking system in the Netherlands works. With the help of this guide, opening a bank account and choosing the best-suited account for your needs and requirements will be a little easier.

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