Open a bank account and apply for a credit card
In the Netherlands, most transactions in shops are done by debit card (pinpas) or by cash payments with Euros.
In many shops, hotels and restaurants you will be able to pay with your credit cards but this is not very common.
One of the first things you would want to do after your arrival is to open a bank account. Opening a bank account in the Netherlands will require some formalities and it is not always possible to do so within the first day after your arrival. So make sure you have enough cash, a credit card, or access to a bank account from your home country.
To open a bank account, you have to visit a bank in your place of residency. Three major banks in the Netherlands are ING Bank, ABN AMRO Bank and Rabobank. We advise you to visit their website to find the bank that suits you best.
To open an account you need to make an appointment with the bank of your choice and at least bring the following documents:
- Proof of identity (your passport or identity card and residence permit if applicalble);
- Official proof of your address, such as a tenancy agreement;
- Your Social Security Number (BSN);
Most banks will charge you a fee for their services depending on the package you will use. The costs vary between €10 and €60 annually. If you want to use a credit card with your Dutch account, extra costs may be charged.
Credit cards are getting increasingly popular now more and more consumers purchase and pay for products or services online. Credit cards are offered by banks but also through shops and agents. Most frequently used cards in the Netherlands are Mastercard and Visa where as American Express is often only accepted by larger retailers.
Increasingly, when you pay by credit card, shops and restaurants are asking for your PIN code rather than a signature, not only abroad, but also in the Netherlands. It is possible to change your credit card PIN code, so you can easily remember it. This can be done at all ATMs in the Netherlands.
The credit limit on your credit card depends on your income level. Ask your bank for more information about their credit card offers and requirements.