Finding a reliable bank that fits your personal needs in Belgium can be difficult especially if you’re a newbie in this part of Europe. You must know the exact financial institution you trust with your finance, what makes them ideal for you, and the services offered by the institution.
The multicultural nature of Belgium makes it difficult for expats to choose a reliable local or international financial institution in Belgium.
If you are new in this European community and looking for a reliable bank that allows you to easily open an account, offer specialized services to expats, and be accessible worldwide, this detailed guide hopes to give you the answers you need when opening an account in Belgium.
Belgium banking system
Before we can take a look at the best banks, you need to understand the system in place so this guide helps reinforce your decision when choosing a bank.
With over 82 different banks scattered nationwide, the Belgian banking system is a very rigid and highly sophisticated network, where most banking transactions are done online, and less than 20% of all transactions are paid in cash.
Belgium is one of the largest banking and financial centers in Europe. Belgian society is super diversified and multicultural; this led to the intervention of over two dozen non-resident banks to enter the country.
There are specialized banks located all over the country that offers expats and residents excellent financial services and advice. Most banks in the country offer digital banking payments, mobile banking, and traditional banking methods.
The Belgian central institution is the National Bank of Belgium. 50% of this institution is owned by the state and half are traded on the Euronext Brussels. The currency used in Belgium is the same as those used by every country in the Eurozone, Euro.
Best banks In Belgium for expats and newbies
Now that you know how it feels like banking in Belgium, we’re going to show you the top choice banks for in the country for expats and non-resident. The listed banks offer excellent financial services, allow you to access your fund from any part of the world, and super reliable.
Argenta bank is one of the leading banks in Belgium with more than 500 offices in the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Belgium. Founded in 1956, Argenta bank provides both banking and insurance services. Being the fourth largest bank in Belgium, you can trust this organization with your money, loans, and collective investments.
BNP Paribas Fortis
BNP Paribas is another top-rated bank in Europe with a strong presence in over 73 countries. The BNP Paribas Fortis is a subsidiary BNP Paribas group in Belgium.
This financial institution specializes in 3 core services which include: retail banking, corporate & institutional banking, and investment solution. The BNP Paribas is a trustworthy financial intuition for expats in the country.
Online banking is one of the most popular media to send and receive money in Europe. Most online banks offer first-class customer service, low fees & charges but very high-interest rates.
N26 is one of the most efficient banks for expats in Belgium. This bank allows you to make international withdrawals and exchange currencies for free when most banks will charge you a lot of money and even delay some payments.
This depository offers you two distinct accounts; you can choose to work with the regular account or the N26 You account. You also receive a Mastercard that can be used to make payments nationwide.
AXA Bank is an excellent bank for international travelers and expats staying in Belgium. This institution belongs to the AXA group and stands as the #1 insurance company in the world.
AXA Bank is found in about 70 countries worldwide and plays a key role in the Belgian banking sector. AXA bank and insurance program work simultaneously since most customers receive premium financial protection.
ING is another superior bank that offers amazing banking experience in the country. It can easily be regarded as the largest bank with branches and ATMs found all across the nation.
The institution also comes with an easy-to-navigate banking app that you can use on your PC, tablet, or smartphone to perform safe and daily transactions no matter where you are.
How to open an account in Belgium
If you want to open a bank account in the Kingdom of Belgium [compte à vue/zichtrekening], your passport or Belgian ID card will be required as proof of identity, residence, and other personal information.
You’ll also have to fill out the registration form and agree to their terms and services. Once the account is opened, your bank will send you a mail containing your debit card and PIN.
If you decide that you are not satisfied with your bank and want to close your account, there is an option that allows you to easily close your account. You just have to notify your bank of your decision and you’ll be given a request form to fill.
Once your request is processed, your funds and payment will be transferred to the other bank you selected in the form. The processing of this request takes around 10 working days.