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Any foreigner can open a bank account in Belgium. Here is how to proceed.

Why open a bank account in Belgium?

If you wish to stay long-term in Belgium, it's better to open a bank account. The process is pretty easy. You only need an ID paper with a legal postal address on it.

When opening a bank account in Belgium:

  • There is no issue of language for French-speaking nationals as each bank has French-speaking bank advisors
  • You won't need to go to the same bank where you opened your bank account to make transactions
  • You can open a bank account in Belgium even if you are banned from doing so in your home country

The different bank accounts in Belgium

You can open a Zichtrekening (current account), and a spaarrekening (savings account). Of course, many subtleties exist depending on the type of bank account and the bank (interest rate, payment limit, overdraft). It's better to discuss all of this with your bank advisor.

How to open a bank account in Belgium?

The following documents are necessary:

  • Proof of address with a legal address (electricity or water bills for example)
  • The form to open a bank account duly filled and signed
  • ID documentation

Good to know:

  • You can pre-open the bank account upon moving to Belgium (some banks offer this service)

  • No deposit necessary when opening a bank account

Online banking is starting to grow in Belgium too.

Methods of payment

Belgian banks don't have chequebooks. Credit and debit cards are used in Belgium.

Belgian banks offer debit cards. These cards allow you to make payments only if the account has funds in it. If there are no funds, the payment will be rejected. You can ask for a Cirrus, Maestro, Bancontact, or Mister Cash cards.

Credit cards are also available, with some conditions. We recommend that you ask for more information directly at the bank.

Bank account management and fees

Managing your account online is completely free. You can receive your printed bank statements, once or twice a month, by paying a monthly fee.

Banking fees vary depending on the type of benefit you ask for. If you choose to receive most of your benefits online, the amount is between 40 and 70⬠a year.

Finally, as for online banking, once your bank account is open you have to wait two weeks to get the login information (user ID, password.)

Main banks in Belgium

A list of all the banks is available on the dedicated web pages. The most popular ones are ING Belgique, Belfius Banque & Assurances, Beobank, and BNP Paribas Fortis, among others. The biggest banks have at least one agency in each town. Most of the time, they are open from 9 am to 4 pm or 4:30 pm from Monday to Friday. Some are open on Saturdays. In small towns, banks are usually closed at lunch, between 1 pm and 2 pm.

Useful links:

National Bank of Belgium
Golden Pages ' List of banks in Belgium
BPost Bank
Belfius Bank
ING

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