Money? What Money?
Even if we don’t have much, trust us, it’s still a good idea to have a safe and accessible place to keep it.
Here is some guidance on how to sort out your finances when you move to the Netherlands.
Is it necessary to change bank accounts?
One of the first things you’ll want to consider is whether you need to change bank accounts or if you can get by with your current account.
To help you make this decision, here is a list of benefits to changing bank accounts:
- In the Netherlands, paying with a debit card (usually Maestro) is common, these cards are provided by Dutch banks, and allow Dutch residents to have a cashless lifestyle.
- Many supermarkets, shops, or others will not accept Mastercard or Visa, which means that unless you have a Dutch debit card, you sometimes depend on cash.
- Having a Dutch bank account makes transfers to other Dutch accounts easier.
- For non-EU students, having a Dutch bank account will allow you to use it in other EU countries, which is useful for travelling
- Non-EU students will also need a Dutch bank account to renew their residency permit and to be refunded for your proof of sufficient funds.
Tip: To save money, try to transfer money from your home currency to Euro when the exchange rate is low.
Certain banks such as ING offer student plans that allow you to open a bank account free of charge and no extra charges on banking services such as iDeal and Direct Debit.
If you’re a medical student, ABN AMRO also offers a special plan for you.
TIP: It can be difficult finding complete information in English so don’t hesitate to ask a Dutch-speaking friend to give you a hand!
Online banks are the same as traditional banks, except that they have no physical offices. They offer international ATM withdrawals and transfers free of charge with real-time transfer rates, making them ideal for travelling.
You will obtain a MasterCard, but no Maestro debit card, and may need to pay extra fees for using banking services.
Registration typically takes under a day and is available in English, which is advantageous for international students. Bunq and N26 are the most popular online banks in the Netherlands, but other companies such as Revolut are also common.
Opening an account
In the Netherlands, it is required to make appointments to open bank accounts, unless they are online banks. Keep in mind that making an appointment may take several weeks.
You will be asked to provide copies of a valid ID or passport, a residence permit for non-EU students, a proof of residency such as a rental contract, and a BSN number ( see below).
After your account has been opened, you will receive a credit card and a PIN code. Remember that in the Netherlands, you must remember the code that is given to you, you can not choose your own code.
TIP: to activate contactless payment, you will need to enter your pin once during a transaction.
BSN numbers are citizen service numbers given to you when you register as living in the Netherlands, used as identification in public affairs such as health care, education and governmental issues, but is also used in finance.
This number will be necessary to open a Dutch bank account, but you may ask for a postponement in case you have not received your number yet.
Dutch online banks such as Bunq require a BSN number but international accounts such as Revolut do not.
An IBAN is an International Bank Account Number. These are widely used in EU countries, and allow you to identify the country, the bank, and the account number.
IBANs are also necessary for making bank transfers. You can usually find your IBAN number on your bank’s website or mobile app.
Example: NL01 INGB 0000 0000 00
Did you know that thrift shopping is fairly popular in the Netherlands?