If you are thinking or planning to move to Belgium, then have in mind that you will need some financial backup which you get from a Belgian Bank account or Credit card. Opening a bank account online in Belgium is one of the easiest things to do in the country as you must be a Belgian citizen before being able to do this.
Further more, some banks in Belgium will not even require you to have a Belgian address and this is a great way for non Residents in Belgium to open a Belgian bank account before even arriving the country.
On the other hand, some banks will demand you to provide your proof of identity, whether a Belgian ID Card or the official identification of your home country. With most banks, you will have to show up at any local branch to complete the process once you arrive the country.
Want to open a Bank account in Belgium? Well, in this article, I will show you how to open a bank account in Belgium online alongside mentioning what you you to take into consideration before opening a bank account in Belgium.
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Banking System in Belgium
Belgium is a highly developed European country located not far from France. Since it is a highly developed nation, it is of no doubt that they have a modern, well developed and digitalized banking system.
Belgium was one of the early pioneers of the idea of cashless society and over the past decades, they have been creative in implementing automated payment processes.
Nowadays, you will find several banks in Belgium that carry out electronic and automatic transactions, therefore making it easier for you to manage funds, send cash and also pay bills with ease.
More to that, banking on mobile devices ( smartphones, tablets and laptops) are made available meaning that the major part of customers can manager their account anytime and anywhere from their electronic devices.
What Do I need to Open a Bank Account in Belgium?
Opening a bank account in Belgium is easy because unlike some other countries, Belgian banks do not require you a lot of paperwork. Even though opening a bank account in Belgium is easy, it is necessary you have in mind that every bank has different requirements from the other bank but in most of the cases, a passport and other government issued ID will be enough plus proof of address.
However be the case, below are some of the requirements that need so as to open a bank account in Belgium online or traditionally at a branch.
- Proof of Address - Utility bill or rental contract
- Government issued ID or passport
Most banks require you to visit a branch in person, and only a few have online application systems. After opening a bank account, you will be issued with a debit or credit card via snail mail. You have the option of picking it up from the bank.
Am I Eligible to Open A Bank Account in Belgium?
Regardless of your country, each bank in Belgium has its eligibility requirements to open a bank account with them and the most common of all eligibility requirements to hold a bank account is age requirements.
If you are 18 years and above of age, you may be eligible to open a bank account in Belgium. Also some banks will require credit score but not all. But you might be ineligible to open a bank account in Belgium is you have complications with the law.
In Belgium, some non Residents are permitted to open a bank account if they have an economic link to the country such as owning a business registered in the country or if you live in Belgium.
Most of the banks in Belgium will not require you to provide a Belgian address; in this case, you may use your non-Belgian address. Some banks only require a valid email address along with a valid ID. Expats in Belgium can open low-barrier bank accounts.
Types of Bank Accounts in Belgium
There are several types of bank accounts available in Belgium and based on what you need, a current account has numerous categories. So below are the types of bank accounts that you will find in Belgium.
A current account is the most demanded and used bank account online that is available in all countries and with this type of account, you are able to make international payments in the SEPA Area and many other countries.
Below are the various types of current accounts that you find in Belgium:
1. Basic Current Account - This is the most widely used type of current account in Belgium and may come with some monthly maintenance fee. With this account, you can easily do online banking and in branch banking. But note that with a Basic Current account, some fees may be charged for cash withdrawals. payments and extra cards.
2. Premium Current Account - This is one of the most popular checking accounts in Belgium because cash withdrawals and card replacements are free of charge. You will, however, be required to pay a monthly maintenance fee. Some of these accounts will allow you to conduct transactions in other countries, as well as add a credit card and an additional card holder for free.
3. Bundled/Package Account - In most countries, most banks offer a wide range of banking accounts known as packaged accounts. These accounts have additional features not found in other bank accounts, such as insurance. However, the account's maintenance fees may be higher.
Those that are already used to the banking system surely have an idea of what this type of bank account does. It is an account with great features and are generally the best accounts for Expats willing to better manage their finances.
An offshore account is the best type account for individuals that are not focused in a particular country, if you travel most at times and have the habit of doing international transactions.
Your account will be located outside your country and this type of account comes with several legal and financial advantages over other bank accounts.
So in a nutshell, we can say that an offshore account is a multicurrency account which makes it easier for you to receive and send payments in real time exchange rates.
Furthermore, this account is assigned some complete foreign exchange features, such as the ability to fix current prices for more than a year, which can help remove the uncertainty of finances managed internationally.
Aside from that, we have some additional benefits, such as lower implied taxes on funds and a broader range of cross-border services.
Savings accounts are linked to checking accounts, and for most local or traditional banks, one cannot exist without the other, and they are known for working together to help their holders better manage funds, save money, and earn more interest.
They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. For example, fixed accounts require you to lock up your savings for a couple of years in order to gain instant access to your account and withdraw cash within 24 hours.
How to Open A Bank Account in Belgium
Before beginning the process of opening a bank account with any bank, you have to make sure that the bank offers services that you will be happy to use from them. It is necessary to make proper research on your bank of choice and then consult any fee charged on each account type and then see of it suits your expectations and abilities.
If it is actually the case, you can then start opening a bank account with them as below.
Here are some basic steps that you can follow in order to open a Belgian bank account as a resident of of the country.
- Identify and print the files required by your chosen financial institution
- You will have to make an appointment and then convey your files to a nearby bank branch
- Answer some few questions and then confirm your identification with the clerk
- Wait for the confirmation- card, PIN and various essential files to arrive your post
- Once you have receive them, all you need to do now is activate your account and online banking
Best Banks to Open a Belgian Bank Account
With respect to the services that you expect to do with a bank account, the Belgian bank might a little differ for you and so it is vital to checkout all of them, what they offer before going in for the best bank.
Some of the major physical banks in Belgium are:
1. BNP Paribas Fortis
BNP Paribas Fortis Bank is actually a subsidiary of BNP Paribas and it has more than 780 branches and more than 3800 ATMs. As banking services, they provide investment and savings accounts.
They have current accounts for people aged 18 to 27 that include a bank card, a prepaid card, and a Visa card. You can use the Visa card through an app. They also provide money management apps and Visa classic credit for €3 per month.
2. ING Bank Belgium
The ING Bank is an ING Group subsidiary. It has over 670 branches and provides essential banking services. Among the services available are a free online current account, a classic current account for €30 per year, and the ability to make 12 transactions per year.
It also has a youth account for those under the age of 18. You have the option of selecting between MasterCard and Visa.
In Belgium, there are approximately 700 branches. However, this figure has decreased in recent years. The website is available in English, French, and Dutch.
A 'Lion Account' with easy access is free; a 'Green Account' costs €40 per year; offers a variety of savings options, including special accounts for saving for a home and saving for your child's future.
Best International Banks in Belgium
Among the 10 banks that you will find in Belgium, as many as 8 of them may be owned by foreigners. These banks are expat friendly and offer similar services as other country banks in Belgium.
It is of no doubt that international banks are the best banks for foreigners and some non residents as they allow them to open bank account online or at a local branch.
Below are some of the international banks found in Belgium:
- Bank of America
- Deutche Bank
Open a Bank Account in Belgium Online as a Non Resident or Foreigner
In order to open a Belgian bank account, you need to consult the bank you have chosen in order to obtain the paperwork required to open a bank account with them. It is also necessary that you check out the fees charged for each account type and see if these charges suits you.
Well, here are some steps involved in opening a Belgian bank account online as a Non resident:
- First of all confirm that your bank permits you open an account online
- Choose the type of account you desire to open
- Fill in the application form
- Once you have filled the form, you have to upload copies if your documents and ID or the bank can initiate video verification
- Wait for your confirmation, Card, PIN and other necessary documents to reach you via post
- Activate your account and online banking
Best Banks to Open a Bank Account in Belgium as a Non Resident
If you are a non-resident and intend to move to Belgium but do not have any information within the country that can assist you in opening a bank account in Belgium, you will require some best online banks that offer Belgian banking solutions to those facing the same issue as you because you are not alone in this situation.
Below, you will find the best banks that allows you to open a bank account online in Belgium as a Non Resident:
N26 is one of the most popular online banks in Europe and has been offering banking solutions to both residents and non residents of the European territory. With this bank account, you can exert activities within the SEPA Area thereby giving more advantages to each account with them.
More to that, they also feature as one of the best bank that offer online bank account with instant virtual debit card and also a physical card that will allow you to carryout your withdrawals at ATM points free of charge. The debit Mastercard offered by N26 supports mobile wallets like Google Pay and Apple Pay therefore, facilitating international transactions.
Because Belgium is a SEPA country, the bank account you open with N26 in this country will include SEPA features as well as an IBAN that can be used for international transactions without incurring any fees.
Bunq features among the best online banks in Europe as it is well known for providing banking solutions for those that found it difficult to open a traditional bank account at a local bank branch.
Bunq bank exerts its activities in the Belgian territory and for this reason, non residents of Belgium can make use of Bunq to open a Belgian bank account an enjoy all the features that it has to offer.
You must have come across this name while looking for the best online banks or bank cards (credit and debit cards). Revolut enables you to open a bank account in Belgium entirely online and begin managing your finances across the European continent.
How to Open a Belgian Bank Account as an Expat
Nowadays, banks can fully operate online with the advanced internet system available and so for this reason, it is easy to open a bank account as an Expat in Belgium.
All you will have to do is to select your bank and then submit an online request and the bank will send you the required forms and information. You also have the option of showing up at any bank and opening a Belgian bank account physically.
Opening a Bank Account in Belgium from Abroad
Non-resident bank accounts are accepted by several Belgian banks, making it relatively simple to open a bank account before relocating to Belgium.
You have the option of opening a bank account with an international bank (for example, Bank of America - For American Citizens, Citibank Europe - For European Citizens, and so on) that has branches in both your home country and on Belgian territory.
Before arriving in Belgium, you can open a bank account with any bank of your choice by applying online. When you arrive, you must go to a branch with proof of identity (such as a passport or ID card) and proof of legal address (in your home country or Belgium). Once you have obtained a resident permit, most banks may require you to provide residential proof (address).
Final Thoughts on How to Open a Bank Account in Belgium
If you are thinking or planning to move to Belgium, then have in mind that you will need some financial backup which you get from a Belgian Bank account or Credit card.
Opening a bank account online in Belgium is one of the easiest things to do in the country as you must be a Belgian citizen before being able to do this. Further more, some banks in Belgium will not even require you to have a Belgian address and this is a great way for non Residents in Belgium to open a Belgian bank account before even arriving the country.
Before choosing a bank, consider what it has to offer, each of its features, and the fees it charges for maintenance and if there is a transaction fee to be paid. Also, look over the paperwork required to open a bank account in Belgium, whether online or at a local branch, and if it matches what you can provide, you're good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Open a Bank Account in Belgium
Which is the best bank to open an account in Belgium?
KBC/KBC Brussels voted Best Bank in Belgium for a staggering sixth time in a row - KBC Brussels Bank & Insurance.
Can foreigners open a bank account in Belgium?
Opening up a bank account for foreigners in Belgium is easy and straight forward. You can open an online account without setting foot in a bank or just go to any bank office and take a proof of identity - a passport or a Belgian ID is usually enough - and you will get a bank account in no time.
How long does it take to open a bank account Belgium?
2 working days to set up the account, approximately 7 days to receive the card.