How to Open a Bank Account in Belgium

Delicious Belgian Chocolates

Delicious Belgian Chocolates

If you want no hassle banking, you should move to Belgium. Belgium has one of the largest banks per person ratio in the world. Electronic banking is the norm, and you can even open your bank account online, a good option you can use before your arrival in the country. This policy varies from bank to bank. If you go this route though, you need to inform the bank when you are issued a residency permit. Since it takes two weeks to get your debit or check card, opening an account before landing might be the best option. Your PIN codes and passwords necessary to manage your account will also be delivered within two weeks.

The option of opening bank accounts online is not available for all banks. This policy varies from bank to bank. The biggest names in banking in Belgium are Citibank Belgium, KBC Groep, Dexia, ING, AXA Bank Belgium, Argenta and Fortis. There are lot more international and local banks available. The Belgium Post Office also acts as a bank. It is cheaper than retail banks and has longer operating hours. Retail banks are usually open from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. Monday-Friday. Most are closed on Saturday, but you can find a few that will be open.

Opening a bank account in Belgium is a simple process. It is probably one of the easiest ones in the world. If you want to open a current account to deposit funds and have an ATM card, in most cases, you will only need a passport, a completed and signed bank account application form, and a proof of your current address. You can use your electronic ID card as this proof, or you can use something like a utility bill, pay slip or tax form. If you are going to a local university, it is vital that you have an active Belgium account. That is how they will deliver your scholarship.

Banks in Belgium offer foreign clients a variety of services. You can have a personal and business account. You can also partake in banks’ investment and insurance services. Most countries do not offer these services to foreign residents. This convenience comes at a price, however. Banking fees in Belgium are more expensive than in the United States and the United Kingdom. The banks charge for all products and services rendered, including online banking access and check card usage.

Most banks offer a variety of packages. The annual fees are based upon what is in the package. Most packages include bank cards, internet banking access, transactions at ATMS and account insurance.

Once you open your account, you will get a monthly bank statement. If you need statements more frequently, you can arrange it with your bank for an additional charge.

Since banking in Belgium is relatively easy, you can spend your time enjoying the country instead of cutting through foreign red tape.

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