Expats setting up their new life in the Netherlands will need to open a Dutch bank account to receive their salaries, rent an apartment, or to just take a trip down to the supermarket where they can "pin" for groceries.
Banks in the Netherlands
Before you go to open your bank account, you need to choose which bank suits your needs or principles. You should also take into account that most banks charge a yearly fee for having an account with them.
Biggest banks in the Netherlands
Digital / Mobile banks
Banks offering student accounts to internationals
Once you have selected your bank you should check out the details of the accounts offered to see whether they suit your needs and requirements.
How to open a Dutch bank account
To open a private bank account in the Netherlands you will need to either make an appointment online, or simply walk into your nearest branch with all of your details. In some cases, it is possible to have a bank employee come and meet you at home or at work to set up the account.
Documents for a Dutch bank account
To open a bank account in the Netherlands you will need the following:
- Your BSN number (Burgerservicenummer)
- A valid form of ID (passport or identity card - often a drivers licence is not acceptable)
- Proof of address (i.e. a rental contract)
- Residency permit if you come from outside of the EU
Once all the details have been processed you will have to simply wait until your account is approved and your new pinpas is sent out to you.
Banking for businesses in the Netherlands
If you have start up your business in the Netherlands and want to open a Dutch bank account, the process is essentially the same as it is for opening a private account. As well as the above personal details, you should also have all of the necessary details concerning your business, for example, your KvK number and a record of your turnover. Most banks have different types of business accounts depending on the turnover of your company.
Banks offering business accounts
Student bank accounts in the Netherlands
If you are coming to the Netherlands to study, it is advised you open a student bank account. This will make a your life in the Netherlands a lot easier. Several banks in the Netherlands, including ABN AMRO, offer student bank accounts specifically designed for international students.
Internet banking in the Netherlands
It is becoming increasingly common for both Dutch and expats in the Netherlands to organise their financial affairs online via internet banking. Internet banking in the Netherlands is convenient, secure and allows you to do almost all of the transactions that you would be able to do in person.
Be aware that some banks in the Netherlands offer Internet services only in Dutch. However, you can always receive a tutorial from the bank clerk when you open your account (or you can learn Dutch!).
E.dentifier card readers
In order to log-in to your Internet banking, you will need to get a hold of an e.dentifier. The e.dentifier is a card reader which will help you safely log in as well as complete any transactions you wish to make. Note that every Dutch bank has its own card reader. If you request to have access to Internet banking when you open a bank account, you will probably be provided with your own e.dentifier when your account is verified.
In some cases your bank may also use your mobile phone number to communicate further codes with you, to ensure absolute security.
Also, if you have a smartphone it is also possible to do many different transactions using an Internet banking programme on your phone.
What is iDeal?
iDeal is a method of paying online using your debit card rather than your credit card. You use your e.dentifier and your pin-code to pay for goods.
Loans in the Netherlands
Loans provided by banks, such as ABN AMRO, are the most common method of lending money in the Netherlands. There are, however, a number of credit agencies and, if the amount you need to borrow is not so large, you can always use a credit card. How much you receive (or even if you are granted the loan at all) will depend on several factors such as your age, financial assets, income and residency status.
There are a number of comparison websites which you can use to assess your options when it comes to taking out a loan in the Netherlands. Alternatively, you can simply walk into your bank and speak with an advisor.
Credit cards in the Netherlands
Credit cards are not widely used in the Netherlands, mainly thanks to the popularity of the online debit card payment system iDeal. However, it is possible to get your hands on one.
Most of the major Dutch banks will be able to offer you a credit card, such as ABN AMRO, as long as you earn a minimum amount of net income per month which can be proven by way of an employment contract. The net amounts required differ from bank to bank. Cards with different limits can be offered depending on your net monthly income and whether or not you are studying in the Netherlands.
Repayment of credit card debt in the Netherlands is commonly done on a monthly basis, via a direct debit from your regular account. If you want to delay a payment longer than this then you may be subject to a much higher interest rate.
What is the SEPA?
SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area and is an agreement made by the European Union which came into effect on February 1, 2014. It means that there will no longer be any difference between domestic and cross-border euro payments within Europe. Ultimately, you or your business will start using your IBAN rather than your normal account number.
What is my IBAN?
IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It is a unique number which allows your bank account number to be identified and understood by all financial institutions worldwide.
Can I open an offshore account with a Dutch bank?
Yes, several major Dutch banks, as well as smaller ones, offer this service.