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How to open a student bank account in the Netherlands

Internet bankingAs a new foreign student in the Netherlands, it is strongly advised to open a Dutch bank account. A Dutch account and debit card will help you in your day-to-day activities by making it easier and more convenient to pay for things such as food, transport, living, utilities, insurance, and other bills.

Internet banking, which manages many of your transactions online, is generally an option that is offered with a Dutch bank account. You can easily pay for your accommodation, medical insurance, phone, Internet, and other bills using Internet banking. The additional use of the iDeal pay system also makes it very easy to purchase goods online. You are also able to easily deposit money, for example, from your pay-cheque if you are working during your study, as well as receive money transfers from your home country directly to your Dutch bank account.

Finally, another reason to have a Dutch bank account is that most of the student canteens, vending machines, and printing facilities within universities accept only the Chipknip method of payment. Chipknip is a chip that is embedded into a Dutch debit card and allows to make small payments all over the Netherlands quickly and easily.

Please note that only some of the banks offer services in English for international students. ING, for example, only has services in Dutch. It is best to ask when opening your account if English is available for Internet banking and other administration.

Where and how to open a bank account?

Many Dutch banks develop special offers for international students. There are three main banks in the Netherlands, ABN AMRO, Rabobank, and ING, which international students tend to open an account at. They generally have very similar application procedures for foreign students, but it is recommended to check what is required by the specific bank in advance. The table below can serve as a guideline for opening an account with these three banks.

  Necessary documents Bank card Account Activation
ABN-AMRO

Valid passport or ID
Letter of acceptance from the university
Proof of residence

3-4 working days

Immediately, if procedure is
started in advance before arrival
or 2-3 weeks upon arrival

Rabobank

Valid passport or ID
Proof of enrollment at the university
BSN-number (if available)

5 working days Immediately
ING

Valid passport or ID
Proof of enrollment at the university
BSN-number (if available)

With BSN: Immediately
Without BSN: Within a week

Immediately

You may have to pay a one-time fee for opening the account. Note that banks generally also have a client service fee which will be deducted from the account balance automatically.

For an international student with an account ABN AMRO bank in Amsterdamat the ING bank, service fees cost €3.75 per quarter (every 3 months). ABN AMRO’s service costs are currently €1.50 per month for maintenance of the account, and another €1.25 per month for the World Card.

When opening a new bank account, it is necessary to apply at one of the branches of your chosen bank. Once your application is processed, you will receive a letter at your address of residence in the Netherlands with your non-activated debit card.

A personal invitation for picking up your PIN-code should be delivered to you in the following 5-7 days. Your card will be activated and ready to be used when you receive the PIN-code.

A bank account via your university

Plenty of Dutch universities collaborate with the three leading banks of the Netherlands, and it’s very likely that your university does as well. It is possible that your university can conduct the whole procedure of opening an account for you by itself; you just need to provide the required documents to your university in order for an account to be opened.

However, the client service fees tend to be higher in these cases and so it is best to ask about these details before making your decision on how to open your account.

Keep in mind that there are many banks which have various offers for international students. Therefore, it is important to carefully research the terms and conditions of a particular bank before making a choice on which bank to open an account with.

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