- Immigration to The Netherlands
- Living in The Netherlands
- Best Expat Banks
On This Page
- What is The Best Bank in The Netherlands For Expats?
- ABN AMRO
- ING Group
- What Documents Do I Need To Open a Bank Account in The Netherlands?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Immigration to The Netherlands
- Living in The Netherlands
- Best Expat Banks
To make your life easier when arriving in The Netherlands as an expat, it is advised you open a Dutch bank account. It is important to consider whether a bank is expat-friendly when you choose who to open an account with. The biggest Dutch banks aren’t all accessible for migrants, and because of this, you need to consider which bank option is the best bank in The Netherlands for expats like yourself.
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The big Dutch retail banks will offer expats the chance to open a standard checking account, also known as a “betaalrekening”, with a monthly maintenance fee. This is only a small fee and will give you access to all of the primary bank functions like debit card payments, transfers, cash withdrawals, iDEAL payments and online banking. Dutch banks will also have different offers and accounts available for expats to choose from, which bring extra benefits and savings options in return for increased monthly fees. Researching these offers and accounts will help you to decide which is the best bank in The Netherlands for expats.
There are certain aspects that are crucial when deciding which is the best bank in The Netherlands for expats specifically:
- Firstly, the bank needs to provide functionality in English so you can comfortably navigate their services and mobile banking app, as well as access their support functions if needs be. If they offer languages on top of Dutch and English then that is a major bonus too.
- Secondly, as credit cards and international debit card types aren’t widely accepted in The Netherlands, it's beneficial that the bank offers a Maestro card option. Maestro is the biggest Dutch debit card provider and is accepted all over The Netherlands.
- Finally, accessibility to their services is key to being the best bank in The Netherlands for expats. This means accessibility in terms of their online, mobile and walk-in branch services as well their customer support and ease of use. Expats need to be able to open and use their bank accounts without the limitations that come from being in a foreign country.
With these aspects in mind, let's take a look at the top four best banks in The Netherlands for expats:
Bunq is an online bank with no physical branches, so what makes it one of the best banks in The Netherlands for expats? For starters, it is completely free to sign up for their basic package with no monthly maintenance fees. You can easily sign up online with no BSN needed upfront either. On top of that, Bunq’s app is easy to navigate, available in Dutch, English, Spanish and German, and gives you a clear insight into your subscriptions, budgets, savings, and all other banking details. These accessibility features are what make Bunq stand out as one of the best banks in The Netherlands for expats and helps to take the stress away from opening a bank account in a foreign country.
Bunq also offers a ton of extra features to make managing your finances that much simpler. These include 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. These features make Bunq bank a suitable IBAN account for expats as well as a Dutch one. For those that prioritise saving, Bunq also 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.
Bunq stands out above other Dutch banks by acting as a green bank that invests both ethically and responsibly. In their own words, Bunq focuses on ‘saving money, time, and the environment’ and claims you can reduce your CO2 footprint simply by managing your finances through bunq bank as they will plant a tree for you with every €100 that you spend. With all these benefits it seems a no brainer to consider Bunq when choosing a bank provider as an expat, although not having any physical branches can put some people off from investing their money with them.
ABN AMRO is the third-largest bank in The Netherlands, and prides itself on being ‘experts on expats’. One of the few traditional Dutch banks that have online and mobile banking fully available in English, ABN AMRO are well-positioned to go the extra mile in welcoming you as a client and assisting you to navigate the Dutch banking system. They are one of the cheapest Dutch banks that operate in English, offering both standard current and savings accounts for as little as €1.55 per month or free for students. They offer a range of premium account types for higher-income expats or those interested in saving, although the interest rates for savings on their standard accounts are extremely low.
Where ABN AMRO stakes its claim as the best bank in The Netherlands for expats is in its dedication to service and accessibility. ABN AMRO banks operate non-stop, meaning they provide service and assistance in English 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This makes them a reliable bank provider for expats as they always have access to support in English if anything goes wrong financially. Expats may be further induced to bank with ABN AMRO thanks to their personalised service for expats. ABN AMRO has personal advisers ready to not only discuss your banking requirements but also explain to you how Dutch banks operate and how to obtain insurance. This step-up in service quality helps to make ABN AMRO a suitable bank for expats in The Netherlands.
ING (Internationale Nederlanden Group) is the largest Dutch retail bank with over 170 branches, making them widely available and easily accessible for support for expats. ING can call themselves one of the best banks in The Netherlands for expats because of their ease of access. Along with having lots of physical branches, successfully setting up an account with ING can be done within 20 minutes at one of the said locations, unlike other Dutch banks where it can take up to a week. Their mobile and online banking is available in English too, so expats can navigate ING’s services quickly and easily. ING Netherlands are an expat-friendly bank that prioritises convenience and practicality above all, which makes them an easy choice to bank with when in The Netherlands.
As the biggest Dutch bank, expats who choose to bank with ING are offered guarantees in both their service quality and financial security. ING’s standard current account costs less than €2 per month and provides all the primary bank functions. ING is a safe and easy choice for expats who want to set up an account quickly, although it lacks unique features to make it stand out, and just like ABN AMRO, their interest rates for saving on their standard accounts are minuscule.
Another online bank, N26 offers a similar service as Bunq, giving expats who use N26 a quick and simple banking experience. N26 operate all around Europe, so its app is available in multiple languages including English. A straightforward bank option, N26 is considered among the best banks in The Netherlands for expats for this very reason. Opening a bank account with N26 in The Netherlands is possible in just 8 minutes, and a standard account is free to open with no maintenance fees either. With a standard account, you gain access to the N26 app, which provides budgeting tools, easy to manage security settings and your own virtual N26 Mastercard so you can make payments straight from your smartphone.
N26 offers a more personalised experience for expats by offering custom perks like discounts from brand names like GetYourGuide and Hotels.com, based on how you spend. Especially useful for expats, N26 has partnered with TransferWise to allow you to manage, transfer and spend in multiple currencies within the N26 app without the high conversion fees and wait times. Expats looking for a clear and straightforward bank to use in The Netherlands may want to consider what N26 has to offer.
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What Documents Do I Need To Open a Bank Account in The Netherlands?
Once you've decided which bank is the best bank in The Netherlands for expats, it will be time to open an account with them. The process in The Netherlands for opening a bank account is very similar to anywhere else in the world. In fact, most of the Dutch banks mentioned in this article will allow you to open an account on your computer or phone using their website or mobile banking app, simplifying the process. You won’t be allowed to open a Dutch bank account online from overseas, however. Instead, you’ll need to visit a branch of the bank in your home country (if there is one). Whether you open your bank account online or in person, you will often be required to provide these documents:
- Valid proof of identity (passport or ID card)
- Proof of Dutch residence
- Your personal BSN
- If you're not from the EU, you may also need your residence permit
In some cases, You may also be asked to provide evidence of income, like an employment contract, and if you plan on opening a joint account, then these documents will be required from both account holders. If the documents you provided are valid and suitable then your application will be successful, congratulations! Within 3-7 working days you should be given access to your bank account and sent both your account details and debit/credit card. It is important that you keep this information in a safe and secure place in case you ever need them again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which aspects are important when deciding which is the best bank in The Netherlands for expats?
Are online banks suitable for expats in The Netherlands?
What is the best bank in The Netherlands for expats?
A good bank for expats needs to provide functionality in English, offer a Maestro card option as it's accepted all over The Netherlands and provide accessibility in terms of online, mobile and walk-in branch services as well customer support.
Because only a few of the large traditional Dutch banks offer full English versions of their services, online banks offer a suitable alternative. Without the need for physical branches and offering multiple language settings, online banks like Bunq and N26 make banking easier for expats who don't speak Dutch.
Bunq, ABN AMRO, ING and N26 all provide expat-friendly banking experiences that allow you to navigate their online banking in English and offer a range of benefits to make banking in The Netherlands easier.