Open a Bank Account in Netherlands - 2021 Procedure

Open a Bank Account in the Netherlands

Updated on Monday 08th March 2021

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Banking in the Netherlands

Dutch business owners as well as expats and non-residents will need to open a bank account in the Netherlands to be able to manage their income in the country and have access to various banking services.
Personal or corporate accounts can be opened at a variety of banks and, depending on the chosen service package, clients can benefit from online and mobile banking services as well as additional features and advice for banking.

Opening a bank account

Corporate Dutch bank accounts are mandatory when opening a company in the Netherlands. The company’s account will be needed for performing various business transactions or transfers and the transaction history will be relevant for annual accounting in the Netherlands.
Individuals working in the Netherlands can also benefit from choosing to set up an account with a local bank. They can receive their salaries directly into that account, they can make payments easier and transfer money out of the country, if needed.
The process is straightforward, especially for individual accounts and most banks allow for the preliminary steps to take place through an online application form.
Non-residents who find it hard to open a bank account in Netherlands because of the language barrier can request the help of our law firm. Our lawyers can also draw up a power of attorney that will allow another individual to open or manage a bank account in their name if they cannot be in the country.

How to open a corporate bank account in the Netherlands

Investors in the Netherlands are required to open a bank account with a Dutch bank or another bank in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This area includes the EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway. An IBAN account is required in order to do business and the quick scan Dutch business bank account program (in which a number of Dutch banks collaborate to facilitate the banking experience for foreigners) allows for a faster process. The quick scan addresses entrepreneurs who have already started the process of registering with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and are applying for a residence permit. 
When applying for the program, the entrepreneur will need to provide details obtained from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (regarding the advisor or the qualified start-up facilitator). Three banks that participate in this project (ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank) and entrepreneurs who choose to open a bank account in the Netherlands with these will enjoy the faster process. However, this does not mean that participating in the quick scan Dutch business bank account program is the only manner of opening the account for a future business in the country. Our team of lawyers in Netherlands can provide mode details on this program as well as the general options for account formation.
When an entrepreneur submits a request to open a corporate bank account with a Dutch bank in 2021, the general bank policies ask for a customer due diligence. Part of the quick scan process is that this is facilitated by answering a number of key questions about the business and the facilitator for the business (or how the new company is otherwise supported by the Foreign Investment Agency). Each bank performs its own due diligence and the focus will be on the company activities, for example if the business engages in harmful activities. It is important to note that although many banks will be able to provide information and assistance in English (as many employees are proficient English speakers), the documents sent by the bank for opening a bank account will in most cases be in Dutch. In some cases, it is possible to receive forms in English, however, this needs to be confirmed with the bank beforehand. 
Several documents are important when an entrepreneur chooses to open a bank account in Netherlands for a business and they include the company’s constitutive documents as well as others. Most notably, a business cannot apply for an account if it has not yet obtained a Chamber of Commerce Number. Our team can provide details on this initial process that is handled before the bank account application. 
Foreign entrepreneurs who cannot be present in the country in order to open a bank account in Netherlands for a business may, in some cases, provide a legalized copy of their identification document. It should be noted that this is only possible at some banks and this possibility should be verified in advance. When possible, one of our lawyers can act on your behalf by using a power if attorney. If you are interested in knowing more about this, please reach out to us.

Documents needed for opening a Dutch bank account in 2021

In order to open a bank account in Netherlands in person you will need to bring the following documents with you to the chosen branch:
- identification documents: ID card or passport;
- the Dutch Citizen Service Number (given when you register with the municipality);
- employment contract and proof of address in the Netherlands.
The documents needed to open a corporate bank account in Netherlands will vary and the investor will need to bring additional documents like the company’s Business Registration Certificate. 
As previously stated, the individual or company representative opening a bank account in the Netherlands is required to come to the bank in person in most cases. However, if you wish to open a bank account in 2021 and are unable to travel to the country (or are subject to other relevant travel restrictions) you can contact us for information on how we can assist you. Our lawyers are able to represent you and handle part of the procedures on your behalf.

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Banking Law

Various regulations issued by the EU are supervising the activity of banks and other financial companies operating in the Netherlands. The main documents supervising these activities are the Dutch Financial Supervision Act ratified in 2007 and the EU’s Market in Financial Instruments Directive from 2007.
The investment funds, asset and fund managers, dealers, brokers, insurers and all the entities operating in the financial markets are supervised by the Dutch Financial Supervision Act. However, the above document doesn’t contain information regarding the supervision of trust offices and audit firms and the Act on the prevention of money laundering and finance of terrorism is also separated from the above.
The banks in Netherlands are financial institutions that obtain repayable funds from individuals or corporate bodies or give loans to these parties in order to conduct business. The Dutch banks must obtain a license granted by the DCB (Dutch Central Banks) except the ones already licensed by the supervisory authority of one of the EU Member States and operating as branches. 

The banking System in the Netherlands

Every businessman who wants to open a bank account in Netherlands should know some basic details about the banking system in this country. The banking system in the Netherlands includes the following banking institutions: commercial banks, savings banks, credit unions and mortgage banks.
Those who choose to open a bank account in Netherlands have several important banks to choose from. We list some of these below:
  • ABN AMRO: the leading bank in the Netherlands, it offers services to all types of clients (private, corporate and retail); it also has a strong international presence and focuses on customer experience;
  • ING: also one of the best-known brands that is present and recognized on many markets worldwide; they focus on an efficient and ever-improving banking experience;
  • Rabobank: a multinational bank and financial services provider based in Utrecht; also focuses on sustainability-oriented banking;
  • SNS-bank: also one of the largest banks in the Netherlands in terms of total assets according to a 2016 review; they offer services for corporations and individuals.
The banking system in the Netherlands also includes a bank specializing in providing specialized products and services for individuals integrated into the post office – POSTBANK. This bank institutions administers more than 7 million accounts. Our Dutch lawyers can help investors open a bank account in Netherlands in 2021 at any desired bank.
Credit unions are organized as a network, called Rabobank, and the first position within this network is owned by Rabobank Nederland. The banking system in Netherlands comprises a relatively large number of credit institutions, in about 302 institutions, including Credit Europe Bank NV.
The banking system in the Netherlands is highly concentrated, being ranked in the top five banks accounting for a share of 86.8 % of total assets.By measuring the efficiency of the banking sector using the ratio of administrative expenses and total assets of banks, the banking system in the Netherlands is considered effective, on the basis of the scoring achieved in the last years.
Some statistical data concerning the Dutch banking market, as per the European Banking Federation (EBF) reveal the following:
  • - the Dutch banking sector has a large size in relation to the country’s GDP: in 2018 it had assets that amounted to 315% of GDP;
  • - the market is competitive and many banks, as the ones listed above, also have a strong international presence; the five largest banks account for 85% of the balance sheet;
  • - the total amount of outstanding debt to non-financial companies in the country was approximately 260 billion euros for the 2017-2018 period and almost half of this amount was loaned to small and medium-sized enterprises; approximately 10% of these loans are below 250,000 euros. 
For any questions regarding corporate bank accounts you can contact our Dutch law firm. Our agents can help you open a bank account in Netherlands and can also provide you with a wide variety of legal solutions and advice for living and working in this country.