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How do I open a Belgian bank account?

01:19 07/03/2021

You do not have to be a Belgian citizen to open a bank account in Belgium. Some banks do not even require you to have a Belgian address, allowing you to open an account online before you arrive in the country.

You need to provide proof of identity, whether a Belgian ID card or the official identification of your home country. Some banks will then require you to visit a local branch to sign papers once you arrive. Requirements differ depending on the bank.

Many banks allow you to open an account online, and some of these are free or very low-cost. It is recommended to compare costs and services before deciding on a bank. Larger banks with departments dedicated to expats include ING, KBC and BNP Paribas Fortis.

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 car insurance via a local bank. Rates and conditions can vary greatly.

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.

An account-switching service makes it easy to move accounts from one bank to another. 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 benefits.

Shops in Belgium may not charge customers for paying by debit or credit card, regardless of the amount. The law also applies to online payments. Contactless payment cards are becoming the norm, though not all shops are equipped with the terminals to process them.

List of banks in Belgium

More practical helpguides from The Bulletin

Moving to Belgium is an adventure - but it can sometimes be difficult to get settled and understand how the place works. Let us help. We've compiled a comprehensive guide to every aspect of your expat life in Belgium, from healthcare to education, transport to free time.

 

Written by The Bulletin