For a number of practical reasons, you are strongly advised to open a Dutch bank account when living in The Netherlands, although you may be wondering, which is the best bank in The Netherlands to open an account with? The answer is not so straightforward. Many of the largest Dutch retail banks offer their own range of services and benefits, but it is up to you to decide which of these suits you best.
It is recommended that you compare your options before selecting a bank and consider your own banking needs first. This includes factors such as account types, interest rates, customer satisfaction rates and the account opening processes, offers and fees. To help you compare and decide on the best bank in The Netherlands for yourself, YoungCapital has put together a comprehensive list of the biggest Dutch banks and their benefits and weaknesses.
Using a Dutch bank account will make your time in The Netherlands both cheaper and easier. Although it is possible to use an international bank account at larger retail stores and for ATM use, you will likely be charged an annoying foreign currency conversion fee for every purchase you make, which adds up quickly. With the Dutch being very debt-adverse people, credit cards are also very unpopular. Local stores and big supermarket chains won't accept them and there are no signs of them catching on in The Netherlands any time soon.
Living in The Netherlands with a Dutch bank account will make your life much more convenient too. For starters, when living in The Netherlands it’s mandatory for those over-18 to get a health insurance package. But to apply and pay for this, Dutch health insurance providers will usually require Dutch bank account details. For Dutch-based subscription fees like a phone contract or a gym membership, only a Dutch account will be accepted for payment. Finally, bank transfers are much faster compared to using an international account and having a Dutch bank account will allow you to take advantage of the super-fast iDEAL payment system that is prominent in nearly all Dutch online payments. All these incentives and the fact it's quick and easy to open a Dutch bank account, make it a no-brainer to do so.
The largest and most reputable banks in The Netherlands include ABN AMRO, Rabobank, ING, SNS Bank and Bunq. All of these Dutch banks offer a standard checking account or a ‘betaalrekening’ as they call it. These accounts give you access to the primary bank functions like debit card payments, transactions, transfers, cash withdrawals and their own version of internet/mobile banking. These accounts will come with a small monthly maintenance fee, and for account types with more benefits and features, this monthly fee will be higher. If you would like to visit a physical branch of a Dutch bank, they are typically open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm. With this information in mind, let's take a look at the best banks in The Netherlands, and remember the best bank for you could be different from someone else.
If you’re not comfortable speaking Dutch, or after a service-oriented banking experience, then ABN AMRO could be the best bank in The Netherlands for you. At only €1.55 per month, ABN AMRO offers one of the cheapest standard current accounts of all the traditional Dutch banks. Although, those planning to save may be disappointed by ABN AMRO banks’s very low-interest rates for saving. ABN AMRO, however, does offer a free account for students that comes with its own tailored benefits. Overall, ABN AMRO stands above the other Dutch banks when it comes to service for customers and expats as well as their accessibility features.
For those new to Dutch banking, or expats, ABN AMRO banks’s customer-friendly service is a significant inducement to bank with them. ABN AMRO customers have access to their service and assistance (provided in Dutch and English) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will have access to speak to a personal adviser about your banking requirements through ABN AMRO’s online and mobile banking whenever you need to, and staff in the physical branches can offer further extensive support. This support includes an explanation of how the Dutch banks operate, how to obtain insurance, and potentially how to find a house. This ‘above and beyond’ service to assist you in navigating Dutch banking is what makes ABN AMRO stand out as one of the best banks in The Netherlands.
Rabobank is a modern Dutch bank that was one of the first banks in The Netherlands to introduce digital banking and payments. Today, they offer advanced payment methods that other Dutch banks do not, like Apple watch pay. Rabobank offers a secure banking experience, boasting high safety ratings internationally, and a free automatic switching service that moves your direct debits from your old payment account to your new one. Rabobank may appeal to you more if you are environmentally conscious, as they allow you to direct your savings towards sustainable causes through their green deposits and savings accounts.
To open a standard current account with Rabobank will cost you just €1.55 a month, but it can only be done at a physical branch with an appointment, as it is not possible to set up an account online. Rabobank’s ‘Totaal Pakket’ account, which comes with extra deluxe features will cost €4.80 a month. If you’re a student, then you’re in luck as Rabobank also offers a free student account with a debit card and access to their online banking. All of these accounts are available online and on mobile too, so banking on the go is always possible.
One major disadvantage of using Rabobank is that their website and internet banking are all in Dutch and don’t provide any information in English. Their branches also arent guaranteed to offer an English service. Because of this, while banking with Rabobank has its advantages, it may be impractical and challenging to bank with them if you don’t have a basic understanding of Dutch. If you can navigate their services, then Rabobank stands out as a strong candidate for the best bank in The Netherlands.
The largest Dutch retail bank, ING (Internationale Nederlanden Group) is one of the best banks in The Netherlands for convenience and availability alone. Their standard account costs around €1.95 per month and can be opened online or at one of the hundreds of physical branches across The Netherlands. ING themselves claim that setting up an account at one of their locations can be done within 20 minutes, provided all the correct documentation is present. This speed and convince may be tempting to those who would like to set up a Dutch bank account without the long waiting times.
Banking with ING is a solid choice if you’re after a simple, fuss-free account opening experience. ING’s customer support is decent too, with plenty of physical branches as well as their mobile app and the majority of their website being available in English. ING also offers an array of complimentary accounts for students and younger customers that are free to use. Despite its service being up to scratch, the banking experience itself lacks unique features to make it stand above the competition and, similarly to ABN AMRO, they only give minuscule interest rates for savings.
SNS Bank is a fantastic choice to open an account with for those who can speak Dutch, with a number of features that help it stand out as one of the best banks in the Netherlands. SNS Bank is actually run by a larger Dutch banking company called Devolksbank (or ‘the people's bank’ in English), with SNS itself being the largest Devolksbank brand bank in The Netherlands over ASN Bank, BLG Wonen and RegioBank. The secret to SNS Bank’s success? Its customer-oriented approach, with accessibility to its services and availability to its branches, SNS customers always have a connection to support if they need it.
There are over 200 SNS branches throughout The Netherlands, so access to physical support is never too far away and makes SNS Bank a convenient choice to bank with. You can open a standard account with SNS Bank for €2.75 a month, but SNS also offer young people, student and joint account options that are worth looking into if you meet the criteria. One benefit to opening an SNS Bank account is that it can be done in not only The Netherlands but anywhere in the EU. A BSN number is also not needed to open an account, so if you would like to open a Dutch bank account before arriving in The Netherlands then SNS could be a viable option.
SNS Bank's no-frills approach to banking is both a strength and a weakness. It makes banking with them a straightforward and simple experience, but a lack of extra features and benefits makes SNS Bank struggle to stand out amongst the competition. One major drawback to banking with SNS Bank is that there is no English-language version of its website or app, so if you don't have a strong command of the Dutch language then you will struggle to use their services. If you’re able to navigate their customer-friendly Dutch services, then you should be considering SNS Bank as one of the best banks in The Netherlands for you due to its convince and accessibility.
Something that has caught on quickly and successfully in The Netherlands is online banks with no physical branches. Especially after the global pandemic, the increase in popularity of online bank cards and 24-hour mobile banking has made online banks like N26, Wise and Revolut an attractive choice to bank with. In YoungCapital’s opinion, the best bank in The Netherlands for online banking is Bunq Bank. Operating as a green bank, Bunq is committed to saving money, time, and the environment for its customers. On top of investing responsibly and ethically, Bunq offers its customers the chance to reduce their CO2 footprint by managing their finances with them. With every €100 that you spend, Bunq will plant a tree on your behalf!
Being a green bank isn't the only thing Bunq has going for it, however, as they make opening an account with them a breeze. Applying for a bank account with Bunq can be done online quickly and easily with no BSN required upfront. For their standard account, it is free to sign up and there are no monthly maintenance fees. With no physical branches, it's crucial that Bunq’s mobile and online banking is accessible and simple to navigate, which it absolutely is. Bunq Bank offers its services in Dutch, English, German and Spanish so you don't need to worry about a language barrier. Bunq’s easy signup process and accessibility features are why it is considered the best bank in The Netherlands, even though it has no physical branches, which can seem unappealing when choosing to invest your money with them.
Bunq also offers a ton of extra features to make managing your finances with them smooth and painless. For those who prioritise saving, Bunq offers the highest interest rate for savings in The Netherlands. It is nine times higher than any other traditional bank, which is paid to you every month. On top of that, the Bunq app also provides salary sorting for budgeting, auto-roundups for saving and receipt scanning for instant cost splitting. With Bunq you are able to have both a Maestro and MasterCard linked to one account and you can spend outside The Netherlands with zero currency exchange costs.
How Do I Open a Dutch Bank Account?
While the options for the best bank in The Netherlands all have their own features and benefits, when it comes to opening an account with them, the process and documents needed are near identical. Similarly to anywhere else in the world, opening a Dutch bank account will require a few legal documents and proof of your identity. The majority of the Dutch banks mentioned in this article make opening your account easier by allowing you to apply on your phone or computer using their mobile banking app or website. Whether you choose to open your bank account in person or online, you will need to have these documents ready:
- Valid proof of identity (passport or ID card)
- Proof of Dutch residence
- Your personal BSN number
- You may also need your residence permit if you're not from the EU
If you are planning on opening a joint account in The Netherlands, then both of the account holders will need to provide these documents. In addition to these, some banks might request for you to supply evidence of income, like a payslip or employment contract. On top of your proof of identity, the bank may also require you to verify your identity through your phone camera or by visiting a physical bank branch. Completed all the checks? Then your application should be successful. In the next few working days, you should receive access to your bank account, your account details, bank card and in some cases an E-dentifier to allow you to sign in to online banking. Make sure you store your account details in a secure and safe place in case you require them in the future.
Can I Open a Dutch Bank Account Without BSN?
When deciding on which bank is the best bank in The Netherlands for yourself, you may need to consider factors like your BSN. A Burger Service Number or BSN is your unique and personal Dutch social service number that everyone registered in the Personal Records Database is required to have. Your BSN can be used to identify yourself when applying for things like a Dutch bank account or health insurance.
If you haven't received your BSN yet or don't plan on receiving it, then your options for opening an account may become limited. Most bank providers will require your BSN number as part of the process of opening your account. Although ING Group will allow you to open your account without one if you can provide your BSN number at a later time. There are also some online banks where you can open a Dutch bank account without a BSN, such as Bunq and N26, so these may be a viable option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the biggest banks in The Netherlands?
Can I open a Dutch bank account without BSN?
Do I need a Dutch bank account when living in The Netherlands?
The largest and most reputable banks in The Netherlands include ABN AMRO, Rabobank, ING, SNS Bank and Bunq. Each of these banks provides its own benefits and drawbacks, and it is up to you to decide which you prefer and which suits you best.
If you haven't received your BSN yet or don't plan on receiving it, then your options for opening a Dutch bank account may become limited. Most bank providers will require your BSN number as part of the process of opening your account. Although certain banks will allow you to open your account without one if you can provide your BSN number at a later time.
Although it is possible to get by in The Netherlands with an international bank account, it can prove difficult as well as expensive, so it makes sense to open a Dutch bank account. With a Dutch bank account, you can access Dutch services and payment systems not possible with an international bank account and save money on currency conversion fees.
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