How to open a bank account in the Netherlands
If you’re moving to the Netherlands, one priority will be establishing a local bank account to let you hold, spend, receive and exchange euros for day to day use. While the Netherlands has local banks which offer online account opening options, you’ll usually need a Dutch address – or at least an address in a supported European country – to open an account. This can mean it’s tricky to get an account set up before you physically move. If you’re planning ahead of time, you may be better off with another option like Wise or Revolut, which offer EUR accounts to US residents.
This guide walks through your options for opening a Dutch bank account, including the process and paperwork needed. We’ll also compare a couple of alternatives – Wise and Revolut – which can be more flexible ways to manage your money across currencies.
What documents do I need?
Exactly what you need to open a bank account in the Netherlands may vary based on the bank you choose to go with. However, you’ll typically need to be able to prove your identity and address, and your legal status in the country.
Here’s what’s commonly needed:
- Proof of your identity – like a passport or driving license
- Proof of your Dutch address
- Dutch residence permit
- You may also need your BSN (burgerservicenummer) – a bit like a US SSN
Most banks in the Netherlands require you to have a local Dutch address. However, you may find some options which will accept an RNI number instead. An RNI number is used to register you as a non-resident who has legal right to be in the Netherlands – for example someone who is a cross border commuter working in the Netherlands but living elsewhere.
If this applies to your situation, look out for Dutch banks which allow RNI numbers in place of a local proof of address.
Save the paperwork with alternative solutions like Wise or Revolut
All banks and financial service providers need to verify customers – usually by checking their identity and address. However, if you’re looking to open a bank account in the Netherlands before you move there, this can be tricky. You won’t have a local proof of address yet, so how can you get started?
One smart option is to look at alternative providers like Wise and Revolut which offer multi-currency accounts which can handle both USD and EUR, to allow you to hit the ground running when you move. Set up your account online or in an app, using your US proof of address – and depending on the provider you pick, you may also be able to get local EUR account details you can use to pay and get paid in euros, too. More on this later.
How to open a bank account in the Netherlands
Dutch banks can set their own policies on opening account products – which means you’ll come across a wide variety of processes based on the specific bank.
Some traditional banks insist on you attending a branch in person to set up an account – but there are options with many digital and mainstream banks to open accounts online. The catch is usually that you need to have a local proof of address and all your paperwork set up before you can register an account.
Can I open a bank account in the Netherlands before arrival?
You might find it tricky to open a full account with a local Dutch bank before you physically move to the Netherlands. This is because many banks require a local proof of address before you can even start the account opening process.
The exceptions could be if you have an RNI number – meaning you’re registered as a non-resident who has some reason to be in the Netherlands frequently, or if you’re already living in a European country. In this case you may find providers like N26 and ING – which we’ll look at later – which could offer you an account based on your local European proof of address, even if your home isn’t in the Netherlands just yet.
If you’re not in Europe, the chances are you’ll struggle to get a euro account with a mainstream bank – instead, take a look at providers like Wise and Revolut which can make it far easier to open flexible multi-currency accounts.
Which account is best in the Netherlands for foreigners?
Let’s take a look at a few examples, covering financial technology companies Wise and Revolut, and local European banks N26 and ING.
We’ve picked out these banks because they offer digital account opening options for convenience – and have an English language website which can make the entire account opening experience easier to manage.
|Currencies covered||50+ currencies including USD, GBP and EUR||25 currencies||EUR||EUR|
|Open an account online||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Opening fee||No fee||No fee||No fee||No fee|
|Fall below fee||No fee||No fee||No fee||No fee|
|Maintenance fee||No fee||Up to 19.99 USD/month||Up to 16.90 EUR/month||From 1.90 EUR/month|
|International money transfers||Low fee, varies by currency. Euro to Euro transfers are free.||Fee varies by currency and payment value||SEPA transfers in euros only – other international transfers are available through Wise, with a low fee which varies by currency|
Standard SEPA payments are free, instant payments cost 0.99 EUR
Incoming SWIFT payments are available – 12.5 EUR + 0.1% of transfer fee for payments over 150 EUR
|SEPA transfers are free|
International transfers – 6 EUR + an exchange rate markup which is around 0.85% for major currencies
Opening an account online with a Dutch bank can be an option if you have a local address in the Netherlands or another country the provider supports.
However, mainstream banks don’t usually offer accounts to non-residents without that local connection – which is where alternatives like Wise and Revolut come in. Open an account which can hold and manage euro payments before you travel, so you’re ready to transact once you get to the Netherlands.
You can open a free Wise account from home in the US before you travel to the Netherlands, and get instant access to EUR account details to get paid from Europe, as well as the option to hold, send and spend EUR alongside USD and around 50 other currencies.
Accounts offer local details for up to 10 currencies to make it easy to get paid internationally, plus a linked debit card for spending in 170+ countries. Best of all, all currency exchange with Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with no markup and no hidden fees. You just pay a low, transparent charge for the services you need.
Both personal and business accounts are available. There’s a one time fee to get full feature access to a Wise business account, which comes with most of the benefits of a personal account, plus some business friendly features like batch payments and cloud accounting integration.
Account types: Wise personal multi-currency accounts are free to open, with no minimum balance or monthly fees to pay.
Eligibility: Available to non-residents using a proof of identity and address from your home country. Not all services and features are available in all locations – full details by location available on the Wise website.
Is it safe? Yes, Wise is safe. Wise is a safe provider which is overseen by global bodies around the world.
Revolut could be a smart option if you’re looking for a range of money management features, in an online account you can use to hold USD and EUR together. In fact, Revolut accounts opened in the US can hold 25 currencies, with all account plans offering some no-fee currency conversion too. Open your account online or in the Revolut app, get a linked debit card for withdrawals and spending – and choose from a standard plan without monthly fees, or a plan with a monthly fee which comes with more features.
Account types: Revolut plans are available without opening fees and monthly fees, or you can upgrade to a paid plan for up to 16.99 USD/month. Paid account plans have more features available.
Eligibility: Available to residents with addresses in the EEA, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, the UK and the US.
Is it safe? Revolut is authorized to trade in all the countries it serves, including being covered by the FCA in the UK. It also holds a European banking license for the EU.
N26 is a full bank which was built for digital use – that means it has a full banking license in Europe, but operates without a branch network. You can open a personal or business account and also access other financial products like insurance. But you’ll need to be a resident in one of the 20+ supported countries to open an account in the first place. This makes N26 a great option for people who have already moved to the Netherlands – but not suitable to someone looking for a Dutch non-resident account.
Account types: Free account option which comes with a virtual card only, or upgrade to a paid account plan for a physical card and a range of other perks. Paid plans cost up to 16.90 EUR/month.
Eligibility: Available to residents with addresses in 20+ European countries. Limits on the numbers of accounts offered may apply, based on your location. At the time of writing, residents in the Netherlands can open an account without limitation.
Is it safe? Yes. N26 is a digital bank which holds a full European banking license.
Dutch financial services business, ING, offers a range of services including a basic bank account you can open online, with low monthly charges. You’ll need to have an address in the Netherlands and be a legal resident there, but then you can open an account online fairly easily.
One bonus with ING is that they’ve got a decent English language website, which gives a lot of basic account details in English without you needing to struggle through translation. However, like most Dutch businesses, the small print and full account fee documents are usually only available in Dutch – so you may need some help from a Dutch speaking friend to make sure you understand the full terms and conditions.
Account types: Basic online accounts cost from 1.90 EUR/month
Eligibility: Available to residents with addresses in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit.
Is it safe? Yes. ING is an established financial services brand with a banking license.
What are the costs
As we’ve seen, it’s possible to open an account in the Netherlands with no account opening fee – and in some cases, with no monthly maintenance fees to pay. However, there are pretty much always transaction costs to watch out for – and as account terms and conditions will not necessarily be available in English, it’s well worth looking pretty closely at the fee schedule for your preferred bank.
Look out especially for:
- Monthly maintenance fees – or fall below fees
- Cash deposit fees
- ATM fees
- International payment fees
- Foreign transaction fees when spending or withdrawing with your card
- Overdraft fees
- Credit card costs including cash advances and interest
- Account dormancy or early closure fees
Tips for transferring money
Moving overseas often means sending payments across currencies – which can be an expensive and time consuming process. Here are a few tips of things to watch out for if you’re transferring money internationally:
- Compare the bank’s exchange rate against the rate you find on Google to see if a markup is being used
- Check the fees for different transfer types – arranging your transfer online is usually cheaper than doing so in a bank branch
- Ask about third party charges which can push up the overall costs significantly
Opening a bank account in the Netherlands shouldn’t be too tricky once you have your local address and registration documents. Some Dutch banks offer online and in app account opening options – but these often won’t work if you’re not yet a Dutch legal resident.
If you’re trying to get an account in the Netherlands set up ahead of time, choose an alternative provider like Wise or Revolut, to open a euro account from the US, using your regular ID and address information from home. You may find you get a more flexible account with lower overall fees, too.
FAQs on Opening a Bank Account in the Netherlands
Can I open a Dutch bank account online?
Quite a few Dutch banks do offer an online or in app account opening process – but you’ll usually need to be physically resident in the country with a full set of documents including a local proof of address.
If you’re not yet in the Netherlands – or if you simply don’t have all your paperwork set up yet – an alternative online provider like Wise or Revolut may be able to help, with a euro account you can open from home in the US.
Can I open a bank account in the Netherlands before landing?
Before you move to the Netherlands you’ll probably find it easiest to open a multi-currency account which can be used to hold, exchange, send and spend euros, from a specialist provider. Dutch banks usually need a local proof of address and a BSN – a bit like your US SSN – which you won’t necessarily have until you arrive in the country.
Can a foreigner open an account in the Netherlands?
Yes. However, most Dutch banks require customers to have a local address in the Netherlands or another supported European country. If you’re not a resident yet, check out alternative providers like Wise and Revolut, which can help you open a euro account from the US.
How much do I need to open a bank account in the Netherlands?
You can probably open a basic bank account in the Netherlands – even with a traditional bank – with no opening fee and no minimum deposit. However, monthly maintenance fees and transaction charges will usually apply.