Advice on open a bank account

hello!

I'm moving to Brussels and need to open a bank account. Any advice on which bank is best? What are your experiences with ING,DEXIA and Fortis?

Best!

Laura

oh definitely Dexia :-)

I have no idea about Dexia or Fortis, but I just opened mine last friday at ING.

Am not sure what are your requirements but the important things to look for would be a bank which can allow you to do home banking/online banking. That way you don't have to run to the bank every time you need to do some transaction.

Secondly, would you require a credit card?
if you do, I just learnt that there is a Visa and Mastercards, and both works slightly differently in Belgium.
Visa card is the type commonly used, and payment is via an autodebit by end of the month. This also means that you will need to always have sufficient amount left in your account to cover what you have paid with your visa.
Mastercard, on the other hand, is used ala `American credit card" (quoting my relocation agent!). You have option to pay less than the full amount at month end, but of course you will be charged an interest for any outstanding amount.

Funny I have a visa card and I don't have to pay it off each month but I choose to.

All the banks do home banking.

Dexia does not exist!

That was what ING officer told me..and when I checked with my colleague,  it was same case for her, I.e. ING's visa for expats need to be paid in full by month end.

Anyway not sure if this has to do with our credit standing, maybe our wages are lower.

There are visa cards which need to be paid off and visa cards which don't there is no specific credit card for an expat.

ING just want your trade and seem to have cornered the market. There are cheaper banks like Argenta. ING is a poor choice with regards VFM.

Laura,

How were you able to open a bank account here in Belgium? Didn't you need to have the "rijksregisternummer" that we Belgians have? Or do you already have that?
I was told that someone needs that number in order to open a new bank account?

Anyway, I have BNPParibas Fortis. I like that bank, they always help me with my questions. Never had any problems up til now. :)

Definitely Fortis

Su-ann Khoo :

That was what ING officer told me..and when I checked with my colleague,  it was same case for her, I.e. ING's visa for expats need to be paid in full by month end.

Anyway not sure if this has to do with our credit standing, maybe our wages are lower.

Yep,
their "Classic visa" card has to be paid in full at the month end.
I switched over to the ING mastercard from the Classic last year and it allowed me to spread my payments over a few months (I needed the extra cash to fund a home move) having the bill paid monthly was a life saver, and the interest rate is very competitive.

I'm now in a situation where I may soon change my banking to Dexia as I deal with them for my business and it would be easier for me to combine my personal and professional banking in the same place.
I haven't had the time to check out the costs and pros/cons but I will update the thread once I know more.

EDIT/
I should say that I'm not classed as an Ex Pat as I am a Belgian Resident, so I don't think it was just the Visa card for Ex Pats that needs to be cleared off completely each month.

At my company I hear that a lot of foreign colleagues go to ING as well. I wonder why? 
As a native I can say that KBC, BNP Parisbas - Fortis and Belfius (Dexia) are the most reliable with the best services.

For me ING were the simplest choice as they made it very easy to open the account where as Fortis and Belfius (then dexia) were extremely unhelpful.
A lot of my former colleagues had the same experience

ING waived the fees for 3 years (am not sure if the other banks do the same) and was very forward in providing information...so, thats one of the reason I went for them. Am quite satisfied with their services so far.

I opened a Belfus account on just my UK Passport. Once your 25 bank accounts are a small fee every month

However I left Belfus due to there bad customer service and went with a indapent part of Fintro by reomendation

People's experience of banks can be very dependent on the branch used. If you base choice on costs, a bank like Poste Belge and Argenta would be best.

I agree with schoolmum: a bank is only as good as it's branch.

We used Argenta for a while (less costs), but decided to go back to AXA where the bank manager is also our insurer. He knows us and is always there to help.

If you are a serial expat HSBC is excellent. Unfortunately they have no branch in Belgium.

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