Netherland is an exciting country that has stroopwafels and windmills and is known to have a rich culture where the majority of the expats are moving due to its economic and political importance. The Dutch have preferred to adopt the cashless country and there are more and more shops and cafés where you cannot even pay by cash. Therefore, it is important to have a bank account. This article will you guide through the whole process of opening a bank account.
In 2016 the Netherlands was the only euro area country where consumers used payment cards more often than cash. They carried out 55% of all transactions using a payment card. According to research conducted by the ECB.
Necessary documents when opening a bank account
To open a bank, you will need the following documents whether you are applying online or in person; proof of identity by either a passport, national identity card. Often you do not need to provide a proof of address. A BSN number is also required, only at N26 or Revolut you can open a bank account without an BSN number.
Best way get a BSN number
You will be required to present BSN (Burgerservicenummer) which is a personal identification number that is issued to every resident whether a native or expat. The easiest way of getting a BSN number is to register for the “Non-residents Records Database” by saying you’re planning to stay for less then 4 months.
Pin and use of creditcards
If you are a member of the EU and already have a European bank account, you can use this account in the Netherlands without any extra cost. The only thing to be aware about is that in the Netherlands the use of credit cards is limited. At most shops and cash machines it is Maestro or as they call it “normal PIN cards” that are used. Using a credit card may give you extra charges if you want to cash out, while in shops you may simply not be able to use your card.
Non EU residents in the Netherlands
In case you are not a member of the EU, you will need to register with the Foreign Police. Various banks have various requirements which you can check with the particular bank. The following documents are regarded valid: a tenancy agreement, gas or electric or water bill for the last three months, bank credit statement for the last three months and in case you are a student, you can present admission certificate from your university.
Is it possible to open a bank account while abroad?
Yes. In case you have a bank account with your home bank, they can assist you to open one in the Netherlands in case that particular bank has a correspondent relationship with Dutch banks. Some banks have international accounts for no residents and one can open an account before arriving in the Netherlands. Banks such as ING and bunq have variations of international accounts. The Majority of the Dutch banks require that you have a Dutch address before opening an account. Though the address does not have to be an official address.
Best banks in the Netherlands
Choosing a bank that meets your expectations is key. Some of the factors to consider when selecting a bank are bank charges and the convenience of the bank. Among the largest banks in the Netherlands include ING, Rabobank, ABN and AMRO. They have different financial products for various groups.
The history of ING Bank goes back to 200 years and it has well-networked branches all over the country. In case you have just arrived in the country, opening a bank account will only take you a few minutes if you have the necessary documents. The cheapest version of a bank account with ING is around 1.50 euro per month.
Rabobank has a minimum monthly fee of 1.30 euros. After opening a bank account, you are issued with a free debit card and access to online banking. Also, there are different products for students. It is possible to pay tuition fee and apartment rent at a fee of 1.25 euro per month. They have well-situated branches all over the country.
In case you are from a member state of the EU, bunq is the best making option. It’s a new banking app in the Dutch that will assist you in opening an International Bank Account Number (IBAN). It is a virtual bank account without any branches and therefore they do not have a physical address. Instead they use video calls to verify your identity. They offer 30-day free trial. You can transact all the banking services using the app.
4. ABN AMRO
ABN AMRO is a traditional bank in the Netherlands and it has many ATMs and branches all over the country. To apply for an account, you will need to have an employment contract and a passport. The bank provides its clients with online banking services which allow you to pay bills and transfer funds.
If you want to open an account here and you are a student, an expat, a non resident or if you don’t a have an EU passport, you will need to register at the website and afterwards visit an office to identify yourself. Check out their information on this process.
5. SNS Bank
SNS Bank is a national bank which has a history of over 200 years. To open a bank account with them, you will need to present yourself in person and have a Dutch address. It has conveniently located ATMs and branches all over the country. It is free to open a bank account but they charge 2.50 euro every month as maintenance fee. You are provided with a free debit card after opening an account. Their services are not in English.
N26 is a new bank in the Netherlands. Officially they are based in Germany but you can apply for their virtual bank account anywhere in Europe. So if you live in the Netherlands you can apply. You do not need to give a proof of address or a BSN number, but you do need a post address to receive the card. You can choose between a Mastercard or a maestro card. In the Netherlands it is wise to choose the maestro card as you can use that card in all shops that accept card payments or as the Dutch call it “pin”.
Although an N26 account comes with an IBAN number that is German, you can use it freely in the Netherlands just like anywhere else in the SEPA-zone countries. The only downside is that you cannot make online payments with iDeal, but you can make the payments with your free credit card that comes with N26.
Many banks charge different fees for opening an account with them and it is important to know the fees charged by a bank before you can think of opening a bank account with them. Among the standard charges in Dutch banks include ATM fees and transfer fees like the SWIFT fees. Other banks have monthly maintenance fees. Check with a particular bank for their charges.
Vincent is an experienced journalist from Kenya as well as a statistician. He has a degree in Applied Statistics with computing from the University of Eldoret.