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Opening a Dutch bank account

Information for international students

Why open a Dutch bank account?

Once in the Netherlands, it’s 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.
  • You don't have to walk around with large amounts of cash either to or from a money transfer office, nor do you have to save it somewhere.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Choosing a bank

There are various banks in the Netherlands at which you can open a bank account as an international student. You can opt for a traditional bank, or an online (mobile or neobank). Both have their own advantages. It is up to you to select the type of bank that suits your needs. This is a personal choice.

Traditional banks

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 number (Social security number). You will receive this after your registration with the municipality. A Tax Identification Number may be a substitute.
  • Proof of enrolment (at your educational institution)
  • Proof of address (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:

Online banks

Also called mobile or neo banks. At most of these options assistance is only available digitally. Often, a fee is not charged for opening an account, but may be charged for an upgraded bankcard or at some point for withdrawing or depositing money. Overall, they have fewer fees while travelling or for withdrawing foreign currencies.  

Opening your account is completed 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 number (Social security number), or residence permit
  • An online money deposit to active the account

Examples of traditional 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 guardian is needed. Identification of some sort is obligatory in these cases. Check the exact rules and regulations with the bank of your choice.