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Top 8 Banks for Expats in the Netherlands

(This article was last updated on March 18, 2023.)

Let’s discuss the top 8 banks for expats in the Netherlands.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

Netherlands History Timeline

The history of the Netherlands is long and diverse, with early human habitation in the region dating back to 200,000 BC. Over time, various groups settled in the area, including the Romans, Germanic tribes, and Franks. The Netherlands became an independent state in the 9th century, and over the centuries, it developed into a prosperous trading nation.

In the 16th century, the Netherlands gained independence from Spain after a long and brutal struggle. The country became a republic and experienced significant economic and cultural growth. However, the country was invaded and occupied during World War II, and it took some time to recover after the war.

In the post-war period, the Netherlands underwent significant social and economic reforms and became a constitutional monarchy. Today, the Netherlands is known for its liberal social policies, vibrant economy, and rich cultural heritage. It is a member of the European Union and plays an important role in international affairs.

How well-developed is the Dutch financial system?

The financial system in the Netherlands is characterized by a high degree of sophistication and innovation. The country has a long history of international trade and finance, and this has driven the development of its modern financial system.

One of the key features of the Dutch financial system is its emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility. Many Dutch banks and financial institutions have developed sustainable finance products and services, such as green bonds, green loans, and impact investing. The Netherlands is also home to a number of socially responsible investment funds, which invest in companies that have a positive impact on society and the environment.

Another important aspect of the Dutch financial system is its focus on innovation. The country has a thriving fintech industry, with many start-ups and established companies developing innovative financial products and services. This includes online investment platforms, mobile banking apps, and peer-to-peer lending platforms. The Dutch government has been supportive of the fintech industry, and has implemented measures to encourage innovation and growth in this sector.

The Dutch financial system is also known for its stability and transparency. Banks in the Netherlands are heavily regulated by the Dutch Central Bank and the Financial Markets Authority, which ensure that banks operate in a safe and secure manner and maintain adequate levels of capital and liquidity. The government also provides a deposit guarantee scheme, which protects depositors in the event of a bank failure.

How are expats’ access to banking in the Netherlands?

Expats generally have good access to banking services in the Netherlands. Most banks in the country offer a range of services tailored specifically to expats, including multilingual customer service, assistance with setting up a bank account, and access to online banking services.

When you relocate to the country, one of the most crucial aspects of the process is picking which bank to use for your accounts. But there are so many to pick from!

If you take care of your money early on, you’ll feel as if a tremendous burden has been lifted off your shoulders. When you have a bank card in your pocket, daily living in a new nation becomes so much easier!

Fortunately, opening a bank account in the Netherlands is simple, so you’ll be up and running in no time. In order to open a bank account in the Netherlands as an expat, you will typically need to provide proof of identification, proof of address, and proof of income. Some banks may also require a residency permit or proof of employment in the country.

Nevertheless, certain expats may find it more difficult to open a bank account in the Netherlands if they do not have a permanent address or a regular source of income. This is because banks are required to comply with strict anti-money laundering regulations, and may require additional documentation or information from customers who do not meet their standard account opening criteria.

When it comes to choosing the best banks for expats in the Netherlands, there are plenty of possibilities. When you’re ready to create an account, do some research online and then go to a branch.

Many aspects will affect your selection, ranging from added features to the bank’s English accessibility. To save you time, we’ve compiled a thorough list of the top banks for expats in the Netherlands.

Top 8 Banks for Expats in the Netherlands

8 banks for expats in the netherlands  abn amro
Image from ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO

What is the bank’s history?

ABN AMRO is a Dutch bank with a long and interesting history. The bank was founded in 1991 through a merger of ABN (Algemene Bank Nederland) and AMRO Bank (Amsterdam-Rotterdam Bank). Prior to the merger, both banks had been operating in the Netherlands for many decades, with ABN dating back to the 19th century and AMRO Bank to the early 20th century.

ABN AMRO quickly became one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, with a strong presence in both the retail banking and corporate banking sectors. The bank also had a significant international presence, with operations in many countries around the world.

In 2007, ABN AMRO became embroiled in a high-profile takeover battle between a consortium of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and a consortium led by Barclays Bank. After a lengthy bidding war, the RBS-led consortium emerged victorious and acquired ABN AMRO for €71 billion, making it the largest banking takeover in history at the time.

However, the timing of the takeover proved unfortunate, as it came just before the global financial crisis of 2008. The crisis had a significant impact on ABN AMRO, and the bank was eventually nationalized by the Dutch government in 2008. The bank was subsequently split up, with the Dutch government retaining control of the retail banking operations and the international banking operations being sold to various buyers.

In 2015, the Dutch government began the process of re-privatizing ABN AMRO, and the bank was successfully listed on the Euronext Amsterdam in November of that year. Today, ABN AMRO is a leading bank in the Netherlands, with a focus on sustainability and innovation. The bank offers a wide range of financial products and services to both retail and corporate customers, and has a strong commitment to social responsibility and community engagement.

What are the products and services of ABN AMRO?

The personalized services that ABN AMRO provides to expats are a significant inducement to bank with them. If you’re an expat, ABN AMRO is well-positioned to go the additional mile in welcoming you as a client and assisting you in navigating banking in a new nation as smoothly as possible.

International bank accounts

ABN AMRO offers a range of international bank accounts for expats, including accounts in multiple currencies. These accounts are designed to make it easy for expats to manage their finances across borders and access banking services in the Netherlands and abroad.

Mortgage and housing services

The bank offers mortgage and housing services specifically tailored to expats, including advice on buying a home in the Netherlands and assistance with the mortgage application process.

Expat centers

The bank also has several expat centers located throughout the Netherlands, which provide a range of services to expats, including assistance with setting up a bank account, opening a Dutch bank account, and finding housing.

Multi-lingual customer service

ABN AMRO has a dedicated team of multi-lingual customer service representatives who can assist expats with any banking or financial questions they may have in their native language. Service and assistance are provided in English 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Online and mobile banking are also accessible in English, and you will be able to speak with a personal adviser about your banking requirements.

Investment products

Offers a range of investment products and services for expats, including investment accounts, funds, and advisory services. The bank has a team of investment specialists who can provide guidance and advice on investing in the Netherlands and abroad.

ING

Who is ING?

ING (Internationale Nederlanden Groep) is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company that was created in 1991. Because ING is a big worldwide financial firm, you may be familiar with this bank. But what you may not know is that it was founded more over two centuries ago in the Netherlands before it became known as such.

In the 20th century, ING expanded its operations beyond the Netherlands, acquiring several international banks and financial institutions. In 1995, ING acquired the bankrupt Barings investment bank as part of its buildout.

However, the global financial crisis of 2008 had a significant impact on ING, leading to the company receiving a bailout from the Dutch government. As a result of the bailout, ING was required to divest several of its international operations, including its US banking unit and insurance operations.

In recent years, ING has focused on transforming itself into a more digital and customer-focused bank, investing heavily in new technologies and innovative products and services. Today, ING operates in over 40 countries and offers a wide range of financial products and services to both retail and corporate customers, including banking, insurance, investment, and asset management services.

The bank has a strong commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, and has been recognized as a leader in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices.

What products and services do ING offer to expats?

International bank accounts

ING offers international bank accounts that allow expats to manage their finances across different countries and currencies. These accounts offer features such as low fees, currency exchange, and online banking services.

Mortgages

The bank provides mortgages for expats who are looking to buy a home in the Netherlands. It offers a range of mortgage options, including fixed and variable rate mortgages, and can provide advice on the Dutch housing market and the mortgage application process.

Investment services

ING also offers investment services for expats who want to invest their money in the stock market or other investment products. The bank provides access to a wide range of investment options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Insurance

Insurance services are provided for expats who want to protect themselves and their families against unforeseen events such as illness, accidents, or loss of property. The bank offers a range of insurance products, including health insurance, home insurance, and travel insurance.

Mobile banking

Its mobile banking app allows expats to manage their finances on-the-go, including transferring money, paying bills, and checking account balances. The app is available in multiple languages and provides access to 24/7 customer support.

Rabobank

What is the history of Rabobank?

Rabobank was formed in the Netherlands as a cooperative agricultural credit union called the Raiffeisenbank. The bank was established by a group of Dutch farmers who were looking for a way to secure affordable credit for their agricultural operations. Over time, the bank expanded its services beyond agriculture and became a full-service retail bank.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Rabobank expanded its operations internationally, establishing branches and subsidiaries in countries such as the United States, Australia, and Brazil. The bank also began to focus on sustainable banking practices, launching initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.

Today, Rabobank is one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, with operations in over 40 countries around the world. The bank continues to focus on sustainable banking practices and is involved in a number of initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and social impact investing.

Not much information about its banking products and services can be found on its website, so you’ll need to visit a local branch to open an account and learn more.

SNS Bank

Who is SNS Bank?

SNS Bank is a Dutch retail bank that was founded in the 19th century as a cooperative to provide financial services to workers. Over the years, the bank grew and expanded its services, eventually becoming a full-service retail bank in the Netherlands. In the early 2000s, SNS Bank was part of a larger group of financial institutions known as SNS Reaal.

However, in 2013, SNS Reaal and SNS Bank were nationalized by the Dutch government due to financial difficulties.

In 2017, SNS started to be known as De Volksbank, which remains operative under various brand names, such as SNS Bank, ASN Bank, BLG Wonen and RegioBank.

It is a no-frills bank that takes pride in being customer-oriented and accessible. However, it is substantially less accessible to non-Dutch speaking expats since it primarily targets the local market, thus all information are in Dutch, even if you call them. 

If you have a strong enough command of the Dutch language to use their services, this may be a viable choice for you.

What products and services do expats have access to?

SNS Bank offers a range of financial products and services to foreign nationals living in the Netherlands. These include savings accounts, checking accounts, mortgages, loans, and insurance products. For example, SNS Bank offers a mortgage product designed specifically for foreign nationals who are looking to buy a home in the Netherlands.

This product allows expats to borrow up to 100% of the value of their home and offers flexible repayment options. Specific terms and requirements will be different for expats, like if you are an EU citizen, so it’s best to get in touch with the bank itself to learn the special requirements.

Bunq

8 banks for expats in the netherlands bunq
Opening an account at Bunq. Image from Bunq

How did Bunq start?

Bunq is a Dutch mobile bank that was founded in 2012 by Ali Niknam. Niknam, who had previously founded the web hosting company TransIP, started Bunq with the goal of creating a more user-friendly and innovative banking experience. The bank officially launched in 2015, offering mobile banking services through a smartphone app.

Bunq is a fully licensed bank and is authorized by the Dutch Central Bank. The bank has a focus on sustainability and has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources and investing in sustainable projects.

In addition to its focus on sustainability, Bunq has also made a name for itself through its innovative banking features. For example, the bank offers “EasyGreen” accounts that allow customers to plant trees with each transaction made using their debit card. The bank also offers unique features such as the ability to create multiple accounts, customize payment requests with images and emojis, and use payment cards that are not linked to a specific bank account.

What are its products and services for foreign nationals?

Bunq has a lot of great features, one of which is that you don’t need your BSN (citizen service number) to join up (you won’t get this number for a few weeks after you arrive). Instead, you can register and use your bank account for up to 90 days before providing your BSN. It is the only bank that offers this service, and it’s quite useful.

Moreover, expats can use Bunq’s mobile banking app to open a bank account, make payments, and manage their finances. The app is available in English, making it easier for expats to navigate and use. Bunq also offers a feature called “Travel Card” that allows customers to use their debit card abroad without incurring additional fees.

Furthermore, Bunq offers a variety of payment options, including iDeal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and SOFORT, which can be useful for expats who may not have a Dutch bank account but need to make payments in the Netherlands.

Revolut

Who is Revolut?

Revolut is a British financial technology company that was founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. The company initially started as a mobile app that provided low-cost currency exchange and money transfer services. Revolut quickly gained popularity among customers looking for a more affordable and convenient way to manage their finances.

Since its founding, Revolut has expanded its offerings to include a range of financial products and services, including debit cards, savings accounts, and insurance products. The company has also expanded its geographic reach, with operations in over 30 countries worldwide.

Revolut has differentiated itself from traditional banks by offering innovative features, such as the ability to instantly block and unblock your card, set up disposable virtual cards, and make international money transfers at the interbank rate. The British firm has also invested in technology, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve its services and detect fraudulent activity.

Despite some controversies, including accusations of poor compliance and money laundering, Revolut has continued to grow and has received several awards for its innovative approach to banking.

What are the bank’s products and services for expats?

Revolut offers products and services that can be useful for expats. For example, Revolut offers a multi-currency account that allows users to hold and manage multiple currencies, including GBP, EUR, USD, and many others. This can be helpful for expats who frequently travel or work in different countries and need to manage finances in different currencies.

Revolut also offers free international money transfers to other Revolut users, which can be a convenient and cost-effective way for expats to send money to friends and family in other countries. The company’s interbank exchange rates can also make international money transfers more affordable for expats who need to send money to bank accounts in different countries.

In addition, Revolut offers travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, and other insurance products that can be useful for expats who frequently travel or live abroad. Revolut’s mobile app is also available in multiple languages, making it easier for non-native English speakers to navigate and use the app.

HSBC Expat

Who is HSBC Expat and what are its products and services?

HSBC Expat is the international banking and investment division of HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services companies. The division was established to serve the needs of expatriates and international clients around the world.

HSBC Expat offers a range of financial products and services, including banking, investment, and wealth management services, to expats. The unit has offices and branches in key expat locations, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

Over the years, HSBC Expat has won several awards for its products and services.

Does HSBC Expat operate in the Netherlands?

HSBC Expat has a presence in the Netherlands and offers a range of financial products and services to expatriates living in the country.

HSBC Expat’s offerings in the Netherlands include multi-currency accounts, international mortgage solutions, and investment products, among other things. Expats in the Netherlands can also access HSBC Expat’s online banking platform and mobile app to manage their accounts and investments remotely.

In addition to its financial products and services, HSBC Expat has a team of dedicated expat advisers who can provide support and advice to clients living in the Netherlands. These advisers have in-depth knowledge of the local banking and financial landscape and can help expats navigate the complexities of managing their finances while living abroad.

N26

What is N26?

N26 is a German digital bank founded in 2013 by Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal. Originally launched under the name “Number26,” the bank began as a mobile app offering a free online checking account and debit card. Since then, N26 has expanded its services to include savings accounts, investment products, insurance, and credit cards, all accessible through its mobile app.

In 2016, N26 secured a banking license from the European Central Bank, allowing it to offer banking services directly to its customers. With the license, N26 expanded its services beyond Germany and into other European markets, such as France, Italy, and Spain.

Over the years, N26 has continued to grow and expand its offerings, including launching in the United States in 2019. As of 2022, N26 has over 7 million customers worldwide and is available in 22 countries across Europe and the Americas. The bank has also received numerous awards for its innovative approach to banking and user-friendly mobile app, making it a popular choice for customers looking for a modern, digital banking experience.

What are the bank’s products and services?

Free online checking account

N26 offers a free basic checking account with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. This account comes with a debit card and allows customers to withdraw cash for free at over 100,000 ATMs in Europe.

Foreign currency transfers

The bank allows customers to send money in over 30 different currencies, making it easy for expats to transfer money to and from their home countries.

Travel insurance

Offers comprehensive travel insurance coverage for trips taken within the European Union. This includes medical coverage, trip cancellation insurance, and baggage protection.

Investment products

Provides investment products such as ETF portfolios and savings plans, allowing customers to grow their wealth and reach their financial goals.

Credit cards

Has a range of credit cards, including a free basic card with no annual fee and a premium card with added perks such as travel insurance and cashback rewards.

Interest Rates for Savings Accounts in the Netherlands

The European Central Bank (ECB) sets interest rates in the Netherlands because the country is a member of the eurozone.

The ECB hiked its benchmark interest rates four times in 2022 and one time so far in 2023. It is now set at a base rate of 3% and 2.50% deposit rate. On March 22, 2023, the deposit rate to be effected will be 3%.

It’s worthwhile to compare the interest rates offered by each bank, but you must exercise caution when doing so. Some banks may market their monthly interest rate while others will offer their yearly rate. It’s also important to think about the amount of freedom you have and when the interest is paid into your account.

You can ask all of these when you go to the bank to open an account or when you talk with their customer support online. You may also conduct your own study ahead of time.

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