Personal finance

Living in Europe | Banking | Netherlands


Upon your arrival in the Netherlands it is important to become familiar with the Dutch banking system and how to make financial transactions.

If you are not coming from an EU country, we recommend changing money before your arrival. Alternatively, you can use ATM machines to withdraw money with your bank card. Note that there may be a fee for this. Do check that your bank card can be used in ATMs abroad.

Banking hours

Banking hours in the Netherlands are generally Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. One evening per week, known as koopavond ("shopping evening"), most shops stay open until 9pm. Some banks may also stay open late on these evenings.

Opening a bank account

We advise to open a bank account as soon as possible because credit cards are not always accepted in all shops, including supermarkets.

It is necessary to obtain a burgerservicenummer BSN (citizen service number) before opening an account. BSN is issued after you have registered at the municipality and therefore you might have a delay in opening your account. Perhaps you may ask the bank of your choice if the contract or an employer's declaration will suffice as a temporary solution.

It may be useful to keep a bank account open in your home country to pay for your expenses there. You can easily transfer money from the Netherlands via the internet. Note that there may be a fee for international money transfers.

Major banks

Examples of major banks include:

Offices of these banks are widely available.

Making payments

Financial transactions in the Netherlands can be made in several ways.

PIN (personal identification number) PIN logo

This is a debit card system commonly used for just about everything, even when credit cards are not accepted. The way to use it in stores is to place the card in a slot of a card reader and enter your codes. The swipe system of the card reader is invalid and thus, your swipe-type debit card from home will not work. The Dutch bank card is valid at most places including supermarkets, department stores, petrol stations and restaurants. Like other types of debit cards, you can also draw money directly from your account at cash machines. The Dutch use the verb 'pinnen' to refer to this type of payment.


Businesses and institutions frequently use something called an acceptgiro which are a sort of monetary coupon. When you get a bill, an accept giro form will be attached. It carries the name and the account of the beneficiary and sometimes the amount due. Simply enter your account number (and amount if necessary) and sign your name. You send the accept giro to your bank for payment and the amount will be transferred from your account to your creditor. An acceptgiro can also be paid through internet banking.

Internet and phone banking

Is available from any bank and it is the easiest way of dealing with money matters. Internet banking and phone banking are widely used in the Netherlands. Ask your bank for details on how to use their own internet banking system.