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Opening a Dutch bank account

Bank Affairs

When you live in the Netherlands for longer than 6 months, it's strongly recommended that you have a current Dutch bank account to manage your day-to-day finances.

The Immigration Service Desk (ISD) will inform Non-EU/EEA guests about opening a Dutch bank account. If you have any other questions that are related to your bank account, or if you're not sure if you're going to need a Dutch bank account, you can also direct your question at the ISD.

If you are not a  member of an EU/EEA country that uses the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) system, it is advised that you open a Dutch bank account. If you are an EU/EEA student and you are going to be in the Netherlands for longer than six months, it is still advised to get a Dutch bank account, however. SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area) ensures that accounts throughout Europe are accessible in a uniform, simple manner--This is necessary so there will no longer be any differences between domestic and cross-border euro payments in Europe.

Therefore, international bank account numbers (IBAN) must be used for euro accounts throughout Europe.

What is an IBAN?

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. Since February 2014, the IBAN has replaced the 9-digit account number. In the Netherlands, the IBAN is structured as follows:

  • The country code NL

  • 2-digit control number

  • 4 letters that identify the bank

  • 10 digits, which consist of the current account number supplemented with zeros

  • Example of a Dutch IBAN (NL73 INGB 123 456 78 00)

Opening a bank account

Required documents for opening a bank account are a valid passport and an address in the Netherlands (i.e. a rental agreement). Banks also usually request a BSN (social security number, obtained after registering with the municipality in the Netherlands). While banks usually request a BSN, the Ministry of Finance has exempted banks from this obligation in the case of international students. As a result, if you don't have a BSN yet, a bank may accept a declaration from your higher education institution confirming your enrollment. Experience shows that banks are poorly informed of this official exemption, however, the University of Groningen (UG) has an agreement with ING_bank to make sure this exemption is enforced.

In order to open a bank account with the ING, you can schedule your appointment directly with them. Although the above website is currently only available in Dutch, you can use Google Translate to navigate it. Once you have your appointment at one of their three locations in Groningen, you can simply visit the ING.

You will have to bring along the following documents to the appointment:

  • Valid form of identification (passport, European ID card)
  • BSN (Dutch social security number; if you have it, bring along the original City Hall letter on which this number is stated), or
  • If you do not have a BSN, your TIN (Tax Identification Number), together with your letter of admission or statement of enrolment

You are not required to open a bank account with ING. If you already have a BSN (Dutch social security number), you can visit any bank in Groningen to open a bank account.

Please note that students that are under 18 cannot open a bank account through the above-mentioned procedure. Please contact the ISD for more information.

Important: students who bring more than (the equivalent of) € 10,000 in cash need to declare this at customs. When opening a bank account, the bank will ask for a copy of your declaration form. If you do not make a declaration, you run the risk of receiving a fine. For more information see the website of the Dutch Customs Administration.


Hereplein 51
9711 GD Groningen
T:0900-09 33

Download the intake form here

(only for bachelor, master and exchange students).

To get an appointment card from the Immigration Service Desk,Link

please make an appointment here.

After your studies

It is very important to close your Dutch bank account when you have finished your studies and/or will leave the Netherlands.

Paying in the Netherlands

Four basic payment methods are recognised in the Netherlands: cash, PIN, credit card, and bank transfer. PIN and cash payment are the most common methods. A PIN card (in Dutch: pinpas) is connected to your bank account. You can pay by simply entering a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN), just as you would at an ATM machine. Payment by credit card is less common in smaller shops and supermarkets. However, restaurants, hotels and department stores generally accept all major cards. The bank transfer can be used when you buy from online stores.


The currency of the Netherlands is the euro (€). One euro is divided into one hundred cents. Coin denominations – used in the Netherlands -- are 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, 1 euro and 2 euros. Banknotes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 denominations. Please be aware that, in general, shops do not accept banknotes of €100, €200 and €500.

Foreign exchange

The exchange rate is fixed every day and will be displayed at every foreign exchange office. All banks offer the same rates, but their charges for foreign exchange may vary. The largest foreign exchange specialist in the Netherlands is GWK Travelex with offices located at railway stations, airports, and popular tourist locations.

Are you an international student? Please visit our pages for internationals.

Laatst gewijzigd:11 maart 2019 11:44