Updated 2 months ago

Money, money, money – you can’t escape it. And to manage your money, you’ll need a bank account while you are living in the Netherlands. Most banking and bill paying is done online, and you can even arrange for mortgages or additional accounts through the internet.  

To open your initial accounts, though, you are still required to show up in a branch office and present certain documents. Proof of address, your passport, and some kind of residence permit are required to open an account. You will also need a BSN number, which some older websites still refer to as a sofinummer. Depend on the type of account you plan to open, you may also be required to provide proof of employment.

Dutch banking

Once you’ve set up an account, you’ll receive your bank pass (“PINpas”) in the mail. You will also receive directions on how to set up the four-digit PIN. You will also receive a small card reader, which is required for online banking. This reader is a security measure so that you will never have to enter your PIN online.

Fees are comparable across major banks, though if fees are a big concern then a comparison website can help you sort out the differences between banks. There are no fees for using an ATM, even one that’s out-of-network or even out-of-country. As long as the ATM accepts Maestro cards, there should be no problem withdrawing euros, although you may incur a fee if the currency changes.  

The PIN is nearly universal, though there are some individual vendors and stores that remain cash-only, or else they require you to purchase more than five euros’ worth of goods before you are allowed to use your PIN. Transactions are updated almost instantaneously, so if you check your balance it is in real time – there is no “float” period.  

RFID-enabled payment methods are becoming more prominent;  for small purchases (up to 25 euros) you can pay by touching your card to a newer PIN machine, and the amount will be automatically deducted without your having to entire your PIN. Please be aware that not all shops have PIN devices that are capable of this.

Credit cards, or lack thereof

Despite the online and electronic savvy of Dutch banking, credit cards are frowned upon, and if you want to pay with one your best bet is to stick with a shop that has the RFID-enabled PIN machines mentioned above. Even then, if your credit card is not enabled with an EMV chip (so that you need to enter a PIN to use it), you are out of luck.  

This being said, it is possible to arrange for a credit card, but the conditions are rather strict. You must be able to show proof of income, and the monthly credit limit can be low. Credit cards still require you to enter a PIN number if you are making a payment in person. 

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