How to open a bank account in the Netherlands

If you want to open a bank account in the Netherlands, you’re going to want to read this guide. Whether at a branch, online, or through an app, here’s everything you need to know.

6 min read

So you’ve moved to the Netherlands, or are considering making the move. You already know all about stroopwafels and when to use the word gezellig, but what about your Dutch finances? If you want to get paid or pay bills in the Netherlands, you’ll need a Dutch bank account of your own. Keep reading to find out what you’ll have to do.

What do I get with a Dutch bank account?

Most likely, you’ll be looking into opening a standard checking account, or what the Dutch call a betaalrekening. Your Dutch bank account has an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and you can move money free of charge between other Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) accounts. 

A Dutch betaalrekening offers all the services you’d expect of a checking account: deposits, withdrawals, and online banking. It’ll probably cost you though, and not just for things like sending money abroad. Most retail banks in the Netherlands charge a monthly “maintenance” fee. Our advice? Choose one where paid plans come packed with perks like budgeting tools, sub-accounts, and extensive travel insurance. The basics should be free. Your account will come with a Maestro card, which is the most widely accepted way to pay across the Netherlands. For travelling abroad, you may have more success with a debit card from Mastercard or Visa. Especially when it comes to picking up cash at an ATM—and not paying a hefty fee. Whatever your card, you should have no problem connecting it with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Spreek je Nederlands? If your Dutch is still a work in progress, find a bank that speaks your language. Or English, at the very least. 

Pro tip—open a bank account in the Netherlands even if you already have one in another SEPA country. You’ll need a Dutch bank account to apply for essential services like health insurance and welfare benefits.

Am I eligible to open a bank account in the Netherlands?

Not a Dutch citizen? No worries. If you’re 18 or older, own a passport, and have a Dutch address, you can open a bank account in the Netherlands. If there are any other requirements, the bank should communicate them clearly before you get started.

Foreign nationals are eligible to open a Dutch bank account so long as they live, work, study, or own a house in the Netherlands. The most straightforward path is by having a Dutch address. Some banks accept a utility bill as proof of address while others want to see an extract from the Dutch Personal Records Database (BRP). If you’re employed, flash your payslips or work contract. If you’re a student, show your enrollment papers. Having a BSN (burgerservicenummer) is helpful, but not make-or-break.

What do I need to open a bank account in the Netherlands?

If you have a passport and can prove you live in the Netherlands, that should be all you need to open a bank account. Some banks also like to see that you have an income. And it never hurts to be armed with your burgerservicenummer. Your best bet is to have the following on hand when you go to open your account: 

  • ID or passport

  • Proof of address (utility bill or rental contract)

  • BSN (burgerservicenummer

  • Proof of income (payslips or employment contract)

Everything in order? Bring your documents to a branch, upload them online, or show them via video chat depending on the identity verification method of your chosen bank. 

What’s the typical process? Can I open a bank account online?

There isn’t really a typical process for opening a bank account in the Netherlands. Each bank calls its own shots, meaning it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days to open an account. 

Between the “Big 3” Dutch banks, the process ranges from “a little inconvenient” to “I gotta take a day off work.” Bank A says outright that you need to visit a branch. Bank B requires above-average paperwork. Bank C is all breezy and online and in English until hitting you with the fine print in Dutch. 

The processes of traditional banks aren’t rocket science, but they aren’t effortless either. For a fuss-free experience, you’re better off going with an online bank. Download an app, upload and verify your information, and done. Less time than it takes to learn why the Dutch football team plays in oranje.

Opening an account with a traditional bank

In person:

  1. Identify and print the documents required by your bank.

  2. Make an appointment and bring your documents to a local bank branch.

  3. Answer some questions and verify your identity with the clerk.

  4. Wait for your confirmation, card, PIN, and other necessary documents to arrive by post.

  5. Activate your account and online banking.

Online

  1. See if your bank allows you to open an account online.

  2. Choose the type of account you want to open (betaalrekening).

  3. Complete application form (most banks won’t allow you to proceed without a Dutch residence).

  4. Upload copies of your documents and ID; alternatively, the bank will initiate video verification, though this option is rare for traditional banks.

  5. Wait for your confirmation, card, PIN, and other necessary documents to arrive by post.

  6. Activate your account and online banking.

*Some traditional bank websites, as well as most application forms and customer service, are only available in Dutch

Opening an account with an online bank

  1. Confirm your phone number or email.

  2. Download your bank’s mobile app and select the type of account you want.

  3. Finish the registration process.

  4. Complete in-app ID verification.

  5. Create a PIN and wait for your card to arrive by mail (your account is immediately active).

Only real banks have a banking license

Today, more companies than ever offer banking services. Some even set you up with an IBAN and a debit card. But that doesn’t necessarily make them banks. A bank can only call itself a bank if it has a banking license.

The Netherlands sets high standards for its banks. Only after approval from the European Central Bank (ECB), the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) can a bank become licensed to operate in the Netherlands. 

A banking license allows a company to offer all the services expected of a traditional bank. From basics like deposits and withdrawals to more advanced features like overdraft and lending. Most importantly, it guarantees the protection of your data and your money—up to €100,000 under the Dutch Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

With more than five million customers in 25 markets and growing fast, N26 is the first licensed bank in Europe built for the digital generation. It plays by the old rules so you can play by new ones.

How to open an account with N26

How to open a bank account online with N26

  1. Confirm your email, personal details, and shipping address.

  2. Select the type of account you want—Standard (free) or a premium option like Smart, You, or Metal with benefits including Spaces, Travel Insurance, and exclusive rewards.

  3. Prove your identity and connect your smartphone to your new account.

  4. After a few days, you’ll receive your N26 Mastercard by post.

Your money at N26 

N26 makes opening a Dutch bank account possible in just 8 minutes. A standard account is free to open and use, and comes with your own virtual N26 Mastercard so you can make payments straight from your smartphone. Or, choose from our varied premium accounts N26 You, Business You and N26 Metal accounts that come with sweet perks like insurance coverage for travel, vehicle rentals, and your mobile phone. Plus, order an N26 Maestro card for pinpas (debit) payments, which the Dutch love. And while other banks are sleeping, N26 customer support is at your service (7:00 to 23:00 every day, including holidays). Echt lekker. 

By N26

The Mobile Bank

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