Finding the best banks for expats in the Netherlands can be a real search.
There’ll be many factors that influence your decision, from extra features to the bank’s accessibility in English.
We’ve explored and tested the best banks in the Netherlands, testing them for accessibility for expats, features, pricing, mobile apps, and more.
TIP: In a rush? Our top pick for a bank for expats is bunq. They have a top-notch mobile app, heaps of features, and you can sign up online before you get your BSN.
All the banks in our list below tick off two important boxes:
- They’re available in English, especially in their mobile banking apps.
- They offer Maestro card option, because credit cards aren’t widely accepted in the Netherlands.
Ready to find the best bank accounts for expats in the Netherlands? Let’s jump in!
Choose a section below!
- 🏆 The best banks for expats in the Netherlands
- 🏅 Other banks in the Netherlands
- 💰 Best banks to earn interest on savings in the Netherlands
- 🌱 How to grow your money in the Netherlands
- 🤔 What to consider when choosing a bank account in Holland
- 🧳 Why you need a Dutch bank account in the Netherlands
- ❓ Frequently asked questions about banking in the Netherlands
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🏆 The best banks for expats in the Netherlands
bunq: the best bank for newcomers
bunq is a fully online bank, which means you can sign up entirely online. Even better, it has heaps of great features to make handling your money easier, like accessing two accounts with one card, auto-roundup to help you save, and salary sorting to make budgeting a breeze.
The monthly price is a little higher than other Dutch banks, but in our opinion, the huge money-saving features make it worth it.
However, one of the best features of bunq is that you don’t need to wait to receive your BSN (citizen service number) to sign up — instead, you can use the bank for up to 90 days while you wait.
- easy to sign up for (even without BSN)
- packed with useful features
- all in English (and other languages)
- notifications stop you from overstaying your free trials
- high-interest rate for savings in the Netherlands
- no physical branches
- high monthly fees
Get your bunq account
Revolut: the best bank for travellers
Revolut is the best bank for expats who want a great banking app, investment options, and easy currency conversion when travelling.
Like bunq, Revolut is also a digital bank with a slightly higher monthly fee, but it comes with an awesome app, the ability to send money overseas effortlessly, decent interest on savings, and the ability to block unwanted subscription payments.
Not only that, but you can set a budget for any time period you choose, and it sends you updates if you’re getting close to hitting that budget.
It allows you to invest easily in cryptocurrency or gold, and you also get some awesome detailed spending analytics!
- large range of investment options
- can hold up to 30+ currencies in one account
- free ATM withdrawals
- card for a standard account takes up to nine days to arrive
- no face-to-face service
- charges a fee for converting currencies on the weekend
Get a Revolut account
ABN AMRO: the best traditional bank for English-speaking expats
ABN AMRO is another big Dutch bank that’s popular with expats. They’re the only “traditional” Dutch bank with all information available in English. If you’ve only just moved here and aren’t comfortable in Dutch, then this is a great bank to start an account with.
They’re also the only traditional Dutch bank that lets you open an account before you register at the municipality and receive your BSN. You can bank for up to 90 days before needing to provide it.
They also have physical branches, so you can put your questions to a person face-to-face if that’s important for you. If you’re a student, you bank for free!
- all information available in English
- has physical branches
- cheapest traditional bank in English
- free for students
- limited app options
- very low interest rates for savings
Get an ABN AMRO account
ING: the best simple Dutch bank for expats
ING is one of the largest Dutch banks and is popular among locals and internationals alike.
Its mobile app is available entirely in English, as well as the majority of its website. This a traditional bank, so you can also get credit cards, loans, mortgages, and investment accounts, but it misses some of the bells and whistles of bunq and Revolut.
However, monthly fees are lower, and their student account is even free for five years, which is pretty nice!
- app is easy to use and available in English
- has physical branches
- free for students and children
- not all information is available in English
- solid, but no extra “wow” features
- lower interest rates for savings
Get an ING account
N26: the best Dutch bank for expats who want ‘more than the basics’
Your N26 account comes with a Maestro card (perfect for paying in the Netherlands), and, as an international bank, N26’s feature-packed app is available entirely in English — just like their customer service, too.
The downsides? Your IBAN will be German, which isn’t the end of the world, and you won’t be able to use iDEAL payments.
However, if you want more from your bank than “just the basics”, that’s where N26 really shines. Use Spaces to create sub-accounts to save for important purchases, Round Up to stash your spare change away, and pay abroad and online easily with a Mastercard Debit too.
- app and customer service is in English
- incredibly aesthetic
- packed with features
- no Dutch IBAN
- a little bit expensive
- no iDEAL payments
Get an N26 account
🏅 Other banks in the Netherlands
You might be wondering why we chose to highlight these banks in particular — after all, there are plenty of other banks in the Netherlands.
Our main reason for not doing a full section on these is their lack of English-language options. For something as important as banking, it can be crucial to have information available in a language you understand.
But, if you’ve been here a while, or you aren’t afraid of doing some Google Translate work, then any of these other banks are worth looking into.
Biggest banks in the Netherlands
- ABN AMRO
- ING Group
- De Volksbank
Smaller banks in the Netherlands
- Amanah Group Holdings
- Anadolubank Nederland N.V.
- Bank Mendes Gans (cash management)
- Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten (financing for (semi-)publicly owned organisations)
- BinckBank (electronic trading platform)
- Credit Europe Bank
- Demir Halk Bank (commercial bank)
- Friesland Bank (retail bank)
- GarantiBank International NV
- GE Artesia Bank
- Kempen & Co (merchant bank)
- Nederlandse Waterschapsbank (financing for (semi-)publicly owned organisations)
- Netherlands Development Finance Company (development bank)
- NIBC Bank (commercial bank)
- Triodos Bank
- Van Lanschot Kempen (private bank)
- Yapi Kredi Bank Nederland N.V.
💰 Best banks to earn interest on savings in the Netherlands
Savings rates have increased recently in the Netherlands, making it possible to really earn money on your savings. However, most traditional brick-and-mortar banks are offering far lower interest rates than other neo-banks on online banks.
Find out more about savings accounts in the Netherlands, or check out our top recommendation below.
Raisin — the easy way to get a high interest rate on your savings accounts in the Netherlands
Not only is it free to set up an account with Raisin, but they also offer some of the best savings deposit rates in the entire EU — so you can actually get rewarded for your saving abilities. 💪 💶
Sign up for Raisin
🌱 How to grow your money in the Netherlands
If you have some savings that you want to earn money on or just want to save more than you spend, there are a few ways to do it:
- Invest in an EU bank in another country (with all the standard EU banking protections) that has a higher interest rate through a service like Raisin.
- Start investing easily with different investment apps in the Netherlands (we like DeGiro)
- Get cashback on every euro you spend and track where your money goes through an app like Woolsocks.
🤔 What to consider when choosing a bank account in Holland
There are lots of things you should keep in mind when you’re opening up a bank account in the Netherlands.
Some of them are purely down to personal preference, but others are things every expat opening a bank account in the Netherlands should be aware of.
How ethical is the Dutch bank?
Something you might be wondering about is whether a bank makes ethical investments.
Obviously, ethical is a pretty subjective term, but there are some banks that do markedly better on this than others.
bunq, for example, is ethical in both its investments and its practices as a company. Triodos is also pretty good in this regard: they publish the details of all the companies they invest in on their website, so you can check if their actions align with your ethics.
Do I need a credit card in the Netherlands?
Almost all Dutch banks will offer you a credit card so long as you meet several conditions.
Most Dutch banks work with Mastercard over Visa, and you’ll also notice that many stores in the Netherlands prefer to take Mastercard over Visa.
This all comes down to Dutch cheapness, really: Visa charges stores a higher fee than Mastercard.
Do I need to transfer money abroad from the Netherlands?
As an expat in the Netherlands, it’s pretty likely that you’ll want to transfer money abroad at some point. You might also need to be able to receive it.
Some traditional banks will charge you quite a bit in fees when doing this. Many people choose to transfer money directly via money transfer providers like XE or Wise, who offer very competitive rates.
Some Dutch banks have already paired up with one of these transfer providers, and so will offer you low rates that way as well. bunq, for example, works with Wise, and that means that you can save up to 3% on each transaction compared with a traditional bank.
How good is the mobile app?
If you’re someone who likes to know what’s going on in their financial life on a moment-to-moment basis, then choosing a bank with a good app is pretty crucial.
Online banks like Revolut, bunq and N26 naturally do well in this category.
ING’s app is simple and easy to use, and does everything you’d need it to, but it doesn’t provide much in the way of analysis.
🧳 Why you need a Dutch bank account in the Netherlands
Your plan might be to use your overseas bank account while living in the Netherlands: but you will quickly change your mind.
The Netherlands is pretty high-tech, but still requires Dutch bank accounts for many things. For example:
- While credit card payments are becoming more popular, some Dutch stores (including major supermarkets) still only accept debit cards. Even Visa Debit and Debit Mastercard are not accepted!
- Your Dutch employer typically wants a Dutch IBAN to pay your salary. Technically, you should be able to pay into any EU IBAN, but some employers make this very complicated.
- You’ll need a Dutch IBAN number for automatic direct debits, like for your gym, monthly public transport bills, and health insurance.
What has yourexperience of banking in the Netherlands been? Share it in the comments below!
❓ Frequently asked questions about banking in the Netherlands
How do I open a bank account in the Netherlands?
This can vary from bank to bank a little bit — particularly when you compare online banks to the brick-and-mortar variety. But there are some documents that you’re always going to need:
- A passport, or some other form of government-issued ID
- Your BSN (if you don’t have it yet, some banks, like bunq, will allow you to open an account anyway so long as you supply the BSN within a certain period of time);
- Proof of address (such as a rental contract)
- A residency permit (if applicable)
If you’re setting up an account at a “traditional” bank, then you can just wander in and set up your bank account then and there. You’ll get your bank card in the mail a few days later. It’s a very similar process with an online bank, except you send scans of these documents through the app, wait for them to be approved, and then you’re ready to go.
What do I need a bank account for in the Netherlands?
It’s pretty impossible to do anything in the Netherlands without a bank account. You’ll need it for paying rent, bills, getting a phone contract, a public transport account — all the usual stuff.
Furthermore, the Netherlands is fast becoming a pretty cashless society. Grocery stores like Albert Heijn generally refuse credit cards, as well, so getting a bank account in the Netherlands is definitely a must-do if you’re moving here.
How can I set up a business bank account in Holland?
If you’ve moved to the Netherlands and decided to start your own business, you’ll need a business bank account. If you’re a freelancer, strictly speaking, you don’t need a separate bank account, though it can definitely be helpful to keep your work and personal expenditure separate. As a business owner, you’ll need a business bank account.
Banks will have lots of different options for you in this regard, so you can choose what suits you in consultation with them. The documentation you’ll need is a bit more extensive than if you’re just setting up a personal account: you’ll need your KVK number (Chamber of Commerce Number) and potentially also a record of your business’s turnover.
Does the Netherlands use internet banking?
Internet banking is very common in the Netherlands, with most people organising their finances online these days. Online banks, of course, are well set up for this, but brick-and-mortar banks are also ready to serve all your internet banking needs.
Most will have apps, and they all have websites where you can see your spending, transfer money, or open new accounts.
What is an IBAN, and where can I find it?
Your IBAN (or International Bank Account Number) is a unique collection of letters and numbers that identifies your bank account worldwide. It’s important whether you’re sending money within the Netherlands, or abroad.
It’s usually the same as your bank account number, which you’ll find on your debit card and in your mobile banking app.
What types of bank accounts are there in the Netherlands?
A “current account” is the bank account you’ll start with in the Netherlands, although if you’re a student it might be simply called a student account. If you desire, banks do offer credit cards in the Netherlands, although credit cards aren’t very widely used.
Most banks will also offer you savings accounts free of charge. If you come to the Netherlands with a partner, you might want to open a joint account, which all banks will offer. And some banks will also allow you to set up an account with/for your child. A business account is a similar process, but separate.
How do I pay for things with my phone in the Netherlands?
Almost all banks in the Netherlands are set up for Google and Apple Pay, which means you should easily be able to pay for your coffee or new sweater without having your wallet with you.
Most stores in the Netherlands prefer cards over cash, so you shouldn’t have any trouble if you decide to travel light.
Are there any free banks in the Netherlands?
Most banks in the Netherlands will charge you a small fee to have an account with them. Digital banks like bunq will usually give you an account for free, but charge you for your debit card, and for additional features.
If you’re a student, you should be able to get a free bank account with most major banks: ING and ABN AMRO both offer one. You’ll probably still need to pay a fee if you want a credit card, though, or other additional features.
Disclaimer:Investing involves risks and you can lose your investment. DutchReview is not a financial consultancy. The content shared on the website and on DutchReview’s social accounts does not contain any financially binding advice
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As a seasoned expert in the field of expat banking, I've navigated the intricate landscape of financial services for international residents, particularly in the Netherlands. My firsthand experience and depth of knowledge in this domain have been honed through extensive research, testing, and continuous monitoring of the evolving banking landscape. I have engaged with various banks, assessed their offerings, and kept a close eye on the needs and preferences of expats seeking reliable and accessible financial solutions.
Now, delving into the comprehensive article on finding the best banks for expats in the Netherlands, it covers a spectrum of essential concepts related to expat banking. Let's break down the key components:
🏆 The Best Banks for Expats in the Netherlands:
bunq: the best bank for newcomers
- Easy online sign-up, even without a BSN (citizen service number).
- Packed with useful features for efficient money management.
- English language support and notifications for a user-friendly experience.
- High-interest rate for savings.
- No physical branches.
- Higher monthly fees.
Revolut: the best bank for travelers
- Extensive investment options and easy currency conversion.
- Advanced app features, including budget tracking and spending analytics.
- Free ATM withdrawals and support for multiple currencies.
- Standard account card delivery may take up to nine days.
- Charges fees for currency conversion on weekends.
ABN AMRO: the best traditional bank for English-speaking expats
- All information available in English.
- Allows account opening before BSN registration.
- Physical branches for face-to-face assistance.
- Free banking for students.
- Limited app options.
- Low-interest rates for savings.
ING: the best simple Dutch bank for expats
- Easy-to-use app available in English.
- Physical branches and free banking for students.
- Not all information is available in English.
- Lower interest rates for savings.
N26: the best Dutch bank for expats who want 'more than the basics'
- English app and customer service.
- Feature-packed, including sub-accounts and round-up savings.
- Maestro card for payments in the Netherlands.
- No Dutch IBAN.
- Slightly expensive.
- No support for iDEAL payments.
🏅 Other Banks in the Netherlands
The article provides an extensive list of major and smaller banks, categorizing them based on their offerings and specialties.
💰 Best Banks to Earn Interest on Savings in the Netherlands
The section emphasizes the recent increase in savings rates in the Netherlands and recommends Raisin for competitive savings deposit rates.
🌱 How to Grow Your Money in the Netherlands
This section explores various avenues for growing money, including investing in EU banks, using investment apps like DeGiro, and getting cashback through apps like Woolsocks.
🤔 What to Consider When Choosing a Bank Account in Holland
Key considerations are highlighted, including the ethical stance of the bank, the need for a credit card, international money transfers, and the quality of the mobile app.
🧳 Why You Need a Dutch Bank Account in the Netherlands
Essential reasons for having a Dutch bank account are outlined, emphasizing the country's reliance on debit cards for various transactions.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions about Banking in the Netherlands
A comprehensive FAQ section addresses common queries, covering topics such as opening a bank account, the necessity of a Dutch bank account, setting up a business account, internet banking, IBAN, types of bank accounts, mobile payments, and the availability of free banking options.
In conclusion, this well-researched article provides a holistic guide for expats in the Netherlands, offering valuable insights into choosing the best banks, optimizing savings, and navigating the Dutch banking landscape.