Open a Bank Account in Netherlands - 2021 Procedure

Open a Bank Account in the Netherlands

Updated on Tuesday 10th August 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. 
We invite you to watch the following video on bank account opening:

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. 

Doing business in the Netherlands

Bank account opening is mandatory for company formation in the Netherlands and it is also an essential step for any freelancers who wish to derive income in the Netherlands once they start offering services under a sole-trader. However, a number of other steps are relevant for company formation, before investors need to concern themselves with banking matters.
The first step after deciding to start a business in the Netherlands is choosing an appropriate business form. The business structures that are available for incorporation that do not have legal personality include the sole proprietor (sole trader), the general of commercial partnership, the limited partnership or the professional or public partnership. The types of legal structure that are separate from their founders, with corporate or legal personality are the private limited company, the public limited company and the cooperative as well as the association and the foundation. As a general rule, when the legal structure has legal personality, it will be incorporated by registering its constitutive documents with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and the documents (Memorandum and Articles of Association) are drawn up in front of a Dutch notary. Our team of lawyers in the Netherlands covers the main traits of these business forms in other articles. If you wish to incorporate one of these business forms, you can reach out to us for complete assistance. Once the company is registered, the registration documents can be presented to the chosen bank for completing the bank account opening step.
Paying taxes is mandatory for business purposes, and so is filing the annual accounts. Businesses make the needed submissions with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and the number of documents that are required (as well as any audit requirements) is determined by the chosen type of company (large corporations will be subject to more complex conditions).
The main taxes for companies include the corporate income tax rate (15% on the first 245,000 EUR of taxable profits and 25% on profits exceeding this amount), the withholding tax on dividends, the value-added tax, social security contributions, payroll tax and others. The Netherlands has a wide network of double tax agreements that allow for a reduced or eliminated withholding tax on dividends.

Reasons to invest in Netherlands

The Netherlands offers a unique combination of important business advantages, starting with a good business climate and a favorable location in Europe that allows for the development of international businesses. Investors have the option to relocate their company to the Netherlands entirely, for example, relocate from the UK, meaning that they can also relocate their personnel to the country.
Below, our team of Dutch lawyers lists some of the most important reasons why the Netherlands is a world-class business destination.
  1. location: the Netherlands is an excellent location to base a business in Europe given its strategic location; businesses based here are located to customers from all major European cities, such as London, Paris, Dusseldorf or Milan, among others;
  2. infrastructure: the Netherlands has one of the largest ports in the world, Rotterdam, and it is well connected to neighboring countries by road; Dutch airports serve the large number of foreign individuals who travel to the country for leisure or business purposes.
  3. workforce: the country offers access to a multilingual and educated workforce; Dutch employees have a good work ethic and the Employment laws are designed to meet the needs of both employer and employee.
  4. business climate and life: the country welcomes expats and international investors; what’s more, the quality of life is high in the Netherlands – one more reason to relocate a business to the country or to start a company based in a Dutch city.
In addition to these advantages, the Netherlands offers economic and political stability – an important issue taken into account by investors who wish to open a company and have medium and long-term investment plans.
Working with a local team of experts makes it easier to open a company in the Netherlands and handle the related steps, such as opening a bank account. With the help provided by our competent team of lawyers you will be able to start your business in the Netherlands and benefit from all the local advantages. Certain industries benefit from additional support, such as research and development. If you plan on opening a company in a certain business field and wish to know more about incentives and government support, our team can answer your questions.
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.