The Dutch very rarely pay with cash. They love paying by card. It is helpful to open a Dutch bank account. There are several reasons to do so:
- International money transfers are usually costly and take several days to process.
- Credit cards are not widely accepted. The debit card you receive when opening a Dutch bank account is easy and free of charge to pay at supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants.
- Especially in major cities, paying by debit card is the norm. There's already quite a number of stores and restaurants that don't even accept cash anymore.
- A Dutch bank account offers the option to pay through the iDeal payment method, used in Dutch webshops and to pay energy bills, payment requests, etc.
You need a Dutch bank account for e.g.:
- automatic monthly payments of your tuition fee or rent
- a Dutch phone subscription with automatic payment per month
- reimbursement of your immigration deposit (proof of financial means) for non-EU students
Are you a citizen from a EU country with the euro as currency? Since the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA(opens in new window)) it is possible for Dutch companies to collect money from a foreign bank account. If you already have a SEPA account, it might not be necessary to open a Dutch bank account. Contact your own bank for more information.
Choosing a bank
You can open a student bank account with a bank branch of your choice. You can opt for a traditional bank or an online bank. Both have their own terms & conditions and several packages or accounts with different rates. At some banks, only specific nationalities can apply.
These large well-established banks have physical branches you can visit for personal contact with a clerk. They also offer a banking app which allows you to arrange your finances online. Most of these banks charge an annual fee for the use of your account. The process of opening an account may take up to two weeks to complete. Although it can differ slightly, depending on the bank you choose, you will generally need most of the following documents:
- A valid passport
- BSN (social security number). You will receive this after your registration with the municipality(opens in new window). A Tax Identification Number from your home country may be a substitute.
- Proof of enrolment from the AUAS
- Proof of address in the Netherlands (i.e. a rental contract)
- An original extract from the Personal Records Database (BRP)
Examples of traditional Dutch banks are given here. Note that this is not an exhaustive list and that some banks do not have an English website:
Also called mobile or neo banks. At most of these options assistance is only available digitally. Often, no fee is charged for opening an account, but may be charged for an upgraded bankcard or at some point for withdrawing or depositing money. Overall, they charge fewer fees while travelling or for withdrawing foreign currencies. Opening of your account is relatively fast, while fewer documents are requested to do so. They may include:
- A valid ID: for EU citizens sometimes plastic ID cards or driver’s licenses are also accepted
- Proof of residence: BSN (social security number) or residence permit for non-EU students
- An online money deposit to activate the account
Examples of online banks are given here. Note that this is not an exhaustive list:
Are you a minor?
At most banks it is possible to open a bank account for minors; students who are not yet 18 years of age. Usually, either the physical presence or written consent of a parent or legal guardian is needed. Identification of some sort is obligatory in these cases. Check the exact rules and regulations with the bank of your choice.