Why you need a Dutch bank account as an international student

Why you need a Dutch bank account as an international student

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Are you an international student who is planning to do an exchange or enrol in a degree programme in the Netherlands? ABN AMRO explains the advantages of having a Dutch bank account while you study here.

The Netherlands is known around the world for its prestigious and high-quality education, with many of their research universities ranking highly on several "Top 100 Universities" ranking lists. This makes the Netherlands an ideal choice for international students. Whether you are considering doing an exchange programme or registering for a master's degree, there are many options available.

Banking in the Netherlands

However, as a foreign student, it is important to think about practical matters such as your finances. Most places in the Netherlands only allow payments from a Dutch debit card and do not take credit cards. While it is possible to pay for most things in cash, it can be a rather inconvenient option - and there's still a chance that a place has a sign that says "PIN-only".

Since many students - especially exchange students - are only in the Netherlands for a short period of time, some of them choose not to apply for a Dutch bank account.

So is a Dutch bank account right for you? Here's a few things you should know:

Easy payments

Depending on how long you plan to study in the Netherlands for and what your personal situation is, a Dutch bank account may or may not be worth it for you. If you already have a Maestro / Vpay card or you don't mind paying for most things in cash, then you might not need to get a Dutch bank account. However, keep in mind that there are many places in the Netherlands that do not accept cash or credit cards whatsoever - which gives you more limited options.

A Dutch debit card allows you to seamlessly make payments virtually anywhere in the Netherlands. Whether you want to go out to a restaurant, take public transport or split the bill, having a Dutch bank account ensures that you will never have any issues with paying. Plus, when paying for your university tuition or living expenses, transferring money from a Dutch account is much easier than with a foreign account.

Cash is not always convenient

Some people are comfortable with using cash to pay for everything. However, it may not always be the safest option, especially if you are new to the country and you don't regularly use cash in your home country. While the Netherlands is generally very safe, you could still be at risk of having your cash stolen or accidentally leaving it behind somewhere.

Additionally, some places accept PIN payments exclusively, so you will have to keep in mind as you navigate your daily life as a student in the Netherlands. For example, buying lunch at your university's canteen or grabbing a morning coffee may only be possible with a Dutch debit card.

The benefits of a student bank account

Are you planning to study in the Netherlands for a longer period of time (more than six months) or want to live and work here afterwards? Then, it is strongly recommended to open a student account with a Dutch bank as soon as possible.

Many Dutch banks have student accounts or student packages that offer a wide range of benefits such as:

  • A debit card for payment terminals and ATMs across the Netherlands
  • Mobile pay options (Apple Pay or Google Wallet)
  • Cash withdrawals from ATMs (even abroad)
  • Access to internet and mobile banking 
  • Little-to-no monthly fees for students
  • Free student savings account
  • Special student discounts

Not only is having a bank account useful for daily transactions, but the process of paying for your phone, internet, and energy bills is much simpler! With a Dutch bank account, you can set up direct debit payments so you never miss out on any of your monthly payments!

Working while studying

If you plan to work in the Netherlands alongside your studies, having a Dutch bank account is invaluable to making your life as smooth and stress-free as possible. For example, it makes it easier for you to receive your salary, file income taxes and apply for government subsidies or loans (if eligible).

Apply for a Dutch debit card today

Many international students benefit from having a local bank account while living in the Netherlands. When applying for a student account, it's best to do it as early as possible to ensure that you receive your debit card in time.

Many banks used to require you to provide a Citizen Service Number (BSN) before you could open an account with them. Nowadays, you can already start banking in the Netherlands without it - you just have to make sure that you give it to the bank within a certain time period after opening the account.

Planning to study in the Netherlands soon and looking to open a Dutch bank account? ABN AMRO Students offers 24/7 banking services for international students and expats - all in English!



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