Opening a bank account
If you are a non-EU national and you intend to stay in the Netherlands for a year or longer, we recommend you to open a Dutch bank account. It can be practical for a number of reasons. Before coming to the country, make sure you know what is required to be able to open a bank account in the Netherlands.
A debit card is the most commonly used type of payment in the Netherlands. Credit cards are not widely accepted in the Netherlands: supermarkets, small shops and bars/cafés often do not accept credit cards.
Debit cards are used for everyday matters such as paying in supermarkets and university cafeterias, and for paying for recurring costs such as rent and your mobile phone subscription. Furthermore, in the Netherlands online banking is the easiest and probably cheapest way to pay bills and make money transfers. When you open a Dutch bank account a debit card, often including online services, will be provided for by your bank.
General requirements for opening a Dutch bank account
There are generally three requirements for opening a Dutch bank account:
- You must have a valid identification;
- You must have a Dutch address where you will live during your stay;
- You need a letter of acceptance from your hosting Faculty, a letter of appointment or proof of income;
Banks may also ask for your Citizen Service Number (BSN). This is a unique identification number assigned by the Dutch government, which you obtain when you register with the municipality.
Other money matters
Even if you intend to open a Dutch bank account you still need to have other means of payment at your disposal after your arrival. We strongly recommend you to bring:
- Credit card (Visa or Mastercard);
- A debit card that allows using an ATM (cash machine) in the Netherlands. Cirrus and Maestro are widely accepted, but check with your bank to make sure;
- Another solution is traveller's cheques, as these are insured. However, note that traveller's cheques are not accepted in stores. You will have to exchange them for cash at a bank or change bureau first.
If you are staying in the Netherlands for less than one year, you may have to pay fees to open a bank account. If you are only here for a short period of time, we recommend that you use your account back home, if possible.