Opening a bank account in the Netherlands

With its attractive economic climate, the Netherlands has become one of the most attractive EU-members to settle international business entities. These international companies may also benefit from the Dutch range in banks, as the Netherlands is home to some of the world’s most renowned banks. These are complemented by Dutch banks, such as ABN-AMRO, ING Bank and Rabobank.

Expats or companies residing in the Netherlands, need a bank account in the Netherlands to pay/receive salaries, rent etc. Yet, as a foreign entrepreneur, it can be quite challenging to open a bank account in the Netherlands, since there are a number of hurdles along the way. 



Choosing a bank to Register a Bank Account in the Netherlands

First of all, you have to choose between the various options, since every bank offers their own set of facilities. Some banks, for example, offer detailed information in English, while others don’t. Also, you might let your choice be affected by the annual fee the bank charges, as every bank charges their services in connection with hosting the bank account.

This, however, does not mean that you are the bank’s client of preference. Due to the new European anti-money laundering directive, banks in the Netherlands are obliged to scan their potential clients. If this assessment does not plead in favor of such potential clients, the bank is legally entitled to decline their request to open a bank account.  For this assessment, also referred to as the ‘Due Diligence’ of Know Your Client Procedure’, the following documents are requested:

  • For opening a corporate bank account:
    • Valid passport copies of all the directors;
    • A Registration number at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, as proven by the extract of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.
  • For opening a private bank account:
    • A BSN or Dutch resident identification number;
    • A copy of a valid passport;
    • Proof of address, for example, a salary strip or utility bill;
    • A residence permit.


Corporate Bank Account in the Netherlands

As the list above suggests, opening a corporate bank account calls for the company to be registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, either as the Dutch branch of a foreign-based business or as the “establishment-less” performer of particular business operations in the Netherlands.

Ordinarily speaking, the former should be straightforward, as the business will be residing at a Dutch address. The latter, by contrast, is not always as undemanding. because the business will not only have to have a Dutch-based address, but will also have to have access to the relevant premises (i.e. just the address will not do). Hence, if you intend to carry out operations in the Netherlands without incorporating a company under the laws of the Netherlands, you will still need some sort of address in order to register with the Chamber of Commerce.

Opening a bank account in the Netherlands without a Chamber of Commerce file number

Selected banks offer their clientele the option of opening a business account, even if they have no intention of using a Dutch-based address and therefore have no Chamber of Commerce number at their disposal. The fees associated with this kind of arrangement, however, are considerably higher than those charged in connection with a “regular” business account.

Presence when opening the bank account

Because of the Know Your Client procedure, all directors with (shared) authority need to be present in one of the Dutch bank’s branches order to open their bank account. Opening a Dutch bank account from abroad or through an authorized signatory is not possible anymore. Once the account is opened, though, it can be managed from abroad.


Private Bank Account in the Netherlands

Another option is that of opening a private bank account in your capacity of a natural person residing in the Netherlands.  However, most banks will expect you to put in a personal appearance at one of their branches. We would point out that it is impossible to open a private Dutch bank account for anyone who is not registered in the Netherlands.


IBAN and BIC of your Bank Account in the Netherlands

Once you have opened your bank account, you can execute transactions. For payment matters, reference is usually made to the account holders’ IBAN an BIC.
IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. With this unique number, your bank account number can be identified internationally without comprising your privacy or security. BIC, on the other hand, identifies the bank’s international code. Together with the IBAN, it enables financial institutions all over the world to verify to legitimacy of your bank account.


Credit Cards in the Netherlands

Once the bank account is opened, you can request a credit card. Generally, you can request as many credit cards as there are directors. For more credit cards, these directors will need to authorize personnel to prepare and/or execute transactions on their behalf.

Although most people, as well as companies, prefer using the online payment system iDeal or the banks’ own online banking portal, credit cards are still used. Yet, most major banks only hand out credit cards to those bank account holders with a set minimum of monthly income. This threshold varies among the different banks in the Netherlands. The repayment of credit card debts generally automatically done every month.

Instead of the credit card, with which you build up a debt at your bank which is settled on a regulatory basis, you might prefer using a so called pinpas.  By use of a pinpas, you immediately transfer money from your bank account into that of the creditor.


Assistance in Opening a Bank Account in the Netherlands

If you are interested in opening a bank account but need assistance in the process, we offer the solution. We are familiar with opening Dutch bank accounts for our clients. This service includes advice about which bank suits your needs best, making the necessary appointments, and assistance in the bank’s due diligence procedure. Please feel free to contact us for more information.