No BSN? International students can still open a bank account
The time has nearly come, you’re about to move to the Netherlands to go to university. Before you set off, you do one last check to make sure you’ve thought of everything. Whatever you do, make sure you open a bank account as soon as possible. ABN AMRO explains how you can already do that before your departure, which is convenient for various reasons.
Until June 2023, you needed to have a Dutch personal identification number (BSN) before you could open a bank account in the Netherlands. This was compulsory for reasons relating to the prevention of money laundering. It meant that it would take longer before you could start using a Dutch debit card to pay in shops or withdraw cash.
However, it is now possible to open a bank account without a BSN. Do apply for a BSN as soon as possible, though, because the bank will need it further down the line.
Benefits of a Dutch bank account
Opening an account with a Dutch bank will save you money. You will, for example, prevent having to pay fees for money transfers to the Netherlands. Furthermore, many student accounts come with a free debit card, which means no charge for making cash withdrawals. So, save yourself the money and effort, and open a free student account before moving to the Netherlands.
Guarantee for universities
Many universities in the Netherlands will ask you to deposit an amount of anywhere between 5.000 and 10.000 euros as a financial guarantee. Obviously, this money will be returned to you, but you’ll need a Dutch bank account for that. This is another reason why it is handy to already have a bank account when you get to the Netherlands, because it allows you to get the money back quickly. Plus, you won’t have to worry about being able to pay the rent or having money to buy groceries either.
Paying for rent and groceries
When it comes to digitalisation, the Netherlands is a frontrunner. Virtually everyone uses a debit card to pay for their purchases in the shops, but you can also use Apple Pay or cash of course. Cash is easy to withdraw from one of the bank’s own ATMs or from the yellow Geldmaat ATMs. When paying online, most Dutch people use iDEAL, which offers an easy, fast and secure way to confirm payments in your mobile banking app or internet banking platform.
Everyone knows that university is expensive. Just think of what you’ll be spending on books, tuition fees and a place to live - not to mention all the fun things you want to see and do in the Netherlands. Luckily, many shops offer student discounts, so make sure you ask about that before buying a new laptop or outfit.
You have probably heard that the Dutch can be rather direct. They tend to get to the point right away and don’t beat around the bush. This may take some getting used to. But actually, the Dutch see it differently: they simply want to be honest with you. So, don’t be taken aback when you’re confronted with this “honesty”.
The Dutch also have a strong sense of fairness. You’re bound to get a first-hand experience of that when there’s a bill that needs paying, which is when the Dutch generally prefer to, well, “go Dutch”. When you’re going out to dinner with friends and one of them picks up the tab, don’t be surprised if they send you a Tikkie payment request for your share of the bill fairly quickly afterwards.
Having a Dutch bank account ensures that you are able to pay that Tikkie easily and conveniently and that you are able to keep your Dutch friends happy!
Not sure which Dutch bank to go with? ABN AMRO offers banking services with affordable packages for students - all in English!