How do I open a bank account
What is the first
To open a current or checking account (
zichtrekening ), you will need proof of identity
such as a passport. Once the account is opened the bank will
send you a debit card, probably with the Bancontact/Mister Cash
logo. A PIN number may be sent to you separately.
With a current account you are
able to carry out all standard bank transactions in Belgium.
You can also request a bank card, cheque book and credit card,
but some banks may wait a while to check whether you have sufficient
deposits coming into your account before issuing you with a cheque
book or credit card, to ensure you have sufficient deposits coming
into your account.)
If you want to open a savings
account ( spaarrekening
), the bank can give you advice on the
different accounts that they have on offer. There are a large
number of options available, offering varying returns, usually
depending on the period of the savings deposit.
Finally, a very useful way to
protect yourself against exchange rate risks is to open an account
in a foreign currency — US dollars, for example. Remember,
though, that it is not a current account and therefore you will not
be able to withdraw funds from such foreign-currency accounts.
How do I convert a cheque made
out in foreign currency into euros?
You need to visit your
branch and pay the cheque into your euro account. This
transaction could take several weeks, depending on the type of
cheque and the arrangements between the issuing and receiving
banks. It is also fairly expensive because, in addition to the
payment and exchange costs, forwarding and collection costs are also
charged (the receiving bank sends the cheque to the issuing bank for
credit), amounting on average to €6. We would advise you
to use this process only at the beginning of your stay in Belgium,
before setting up international transfers directly into your
It is also important to note that
travellers cheques cannot be cashed immediately in all banks, and
there is a charge involved.