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How do I open a Belgian bank account?
To open a bank account you need to provide proof of identity: a passport or Belgian residence card. Most banks will give you an overdraft facility; some allow you credit of up to €1,250 while others limit it to €250.
Prospective property buyers usually obtain mortgage loans and insurance via a local bank. Rates and conditions can vary greatly. Since the financial crisis, mortgages in Belgium have in some cases become more difficult to obtain and bank margins have increased.
Larger high street banks and some specialised banks offer financial investment products such as mutual funds, life insurance, stocks and bonds. Some come with tax advantages.
A new account-switching service was introduced in 2018, which aims to make it easier to move Belgian accounts to other providers. It means all companies collecting bills from your account by direct debit will be automatically informed of your new details. This also applies to regular payments into the account, including salary and child benefit.
Shops in Belgium may not charge customers for paying by bank card. It applies to all types of debit and credit cards, and all transaction amounts. The law also applies to online payments. Contactless payment cards are becoming increasingly common, though not all shops are equipped with the terminals to process them.