How to get a business bank account for your Dutch company
Oct 4, 2023
Nowadays it’s quite easy to register a company in the Netherlands as a foreigner. Subsequently getting a business account at a Dutch bank? Not so easy at all. In this article we will explain some of our findings after helping out hundreds of clients with registering their companies in the Netherlands.
Tip 1: Your Dutch company doesn’t need to have a Dutch IBAN number
Dutch bank accounts are notoriously hard to obtain for foreign business owners in the Netherlands. This is due to very strict KYC procedures having been imposed after some banking scandals which have, in fact, nothing to do with foreigners doing business in the Netherlands. As a result of this, you are treated as a white collar criminal until you’ve proven otherwise. This can be frustrating for foreign business owners in the Netherlands. But they should realize that their new Dutch company doesn’t need to have a Dutch bank account. Your new Dutch company can use a bank from any other country. Good examples of foreign banks include : N26, Revolut or Wise.com. Business owners with established bank relationships due to pre-existing businesses in their countries of origin may easily persuade these banks to serve their new Dutch company as well.
Tip 2: There is such a thing as IBAN discrimination
Following on tip 1: if you are experiencing trouble with a foreign bank account for your Dutch company, that may be illegal. Examples of this include : Dutch counterparties only accepting you as a client if your company holds a Dutch IBAN, or the Dutch immigration authorities (IND) requesting that you have a Dutch IBAN for your DAFT visa application. Within the European Economic Area (EEA), no distinction may be made based on the country of origin of payment accounts. The EEA consists of all EU member countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. This means that in the Netherlands, you should be able to use a bank account provided by any bank within the EEA. No counterparty or governmental institution may prohibit you from doing so. If this does happen, it is considered “IBAN discrimination”. IBAN discrimination is not allowed under the European SEPA Regulation (EU 260/2012).
Tip 3 : Wait until you get a Dutch BSN number
If you are a business owner moving to the Netherlands, you can at some point obtain a Dutch bank account quite easily. Just not straight at the beginning. Once you or at least one other director of the Dutch company has obtained a Dutch BSN number, the going gets a lot easier. Most red flags should be dropped during the KYC process of your application. It is therefore advisable to wait with your application at a Dutch bank once the BSN number has been received, and not earlier. If you explicitly require a Dutch bank account, but at the same time require a bank account very quickly, we advise to take a two-pronged approach. Upon incorporation, first pick a foreign bank that provides easy access such as Wise.com. Then, once the BSN number has been received, proceed to apply at a Dutch bank.
Tip 4: Go for BUNQ bank
The Netherlands has a tech-driven alternative to the regular big banks and it’s called BUNQ bank. You will have an easier time onboarding there than at any other Dutch bank. You may also be able to obtain your bank account with them before you have your BSN number, which is highly unusual for Dutch banks.
We don’t actually obtain bank accounts for our clients. This territory is reserved strictly for the bank and the applicant, and not for advisors or intermediaries like Cardon & Company. This article is of a general informative nature, so we don’t give any detailed advice or guidance in individual processes towards obtaining a business bank account in the Netherlands.