Opening a bank account is the easiest and safest manner of managing your financial affairs in Belgium.
Opening a bank account
Opening a current account is generally simple and straightforward in Belgium. You simply go to a branch of the bank and take along proof of identity: either a passport or a Belgian ID card is usually enough. You can even open an online account without setting foot in a bank. Some of the large banks also offer an expat service that allows you to open the account online before you move to Belgium. You will then need to inform the bank once your residence permit has been issued.
Most banks will give you an overdraft facility on your current account. They will require proof of your income, such as a contract of employment or three successive salary slips.
Using a bank account
It is important to check the rate of charges for a current account, as these can vary between banks. As soon as your account is open you can withdraw money or pay in your salary. Payments in Belgium are generally made by electronic debit card or credit card. The use of cheques is now almost obsolete in Belgium.
Managing your account
Your bank will post statements giving full details of all deposits and payments at regular intervals. You can also read and print your recent statements at self-service banking machines. Most banks offer a home banking service to customers with an online computer. You can use this to consult statements, make payments and print documents.
Banking for expats
Some of the larger Belgian banks offer an optional comprehensive service to expats. This service (which involves an annual charge) includes a current account, debit card, credit card and transfer forms. It also includes advantageous financial and insurance packages geared towards the expat resident in Belgium.
- http://economie.fgov.be/fr/consommateurs/Services_de_paiement/Service_bancaire_de_base/ (information in French or Dutch)
- You can find an overview of Belgian banks on www.goldenpages.be (section 6085 ‘Banques/banken’).