Let’s talk about money! As I wrap up Week 3 here in Amsterdam, I’ve learned a lot about the best ways to handle my money. Here are the main things I’m going to cover in this post:
- Getting a Bank Account
- Paying Others
Getting a Bank Account
My company recommended I use ING Bank for my primary bank account here in the Netherlands. They have lots of offices all over Amsterdam and getting set up was relatively simple. All I needed was my passport, a registered address and a phone number. The trick here is that you need to have a bank account to get a phone number. So the old “chicken and egg” problem, eh? Well, just be creative and “borrow” a phone number until you can get your own. About 15 minutes after walking into the office, I had a shiny new bank account number…but that was it. In order to actually start paying for things here’s what I had to do:
- Wait for the card to arrive in the mail
- Wait for the pin number to the card to arrive in the mail
- Wait for the username to the website to arrive in the mail
- Wait for the letter that told me which office to visit to get my password to the website
- Wait in the office for 45 minutes for my turn to get my password
So yeah, there was a lot of waiting. On the one hand, it made me feel like my account was super safe, because what criminal would do that much waiting to steal my account details. But on the other hand, it was overkill.
Also, you will need to have access to the phone number you “borrowed” to set up your account. TAN Codes will be sent to the mobile phone number via SMS, in order to verify your use of the mobile banking application and to activate your debit card.
I told some of my coworkers about all of the waiting, and then they told me about Bunq. It’s supposed to streamline the entire process. I haven’t tried them out yet, because hey I finally have everything set up with ING! But it’s worth keeping in mind for down the road.
In the U.S. I mostly used PayPal in order to pay for various services online. One cool thing here is the widespread use of iDEAL. iDEAL is an online payment service that let’s you pay directly through your bank. Many services and apps support it. I use it to buy things online and pay for my public transportation costs. But apparently you can even pay your utility bills and certain taxes with it as well.
I like it because it’s seamless. Most times I just scan a QR-code from my ING Banking app and I’m done.
Most places will only take cash or a debit card. So when I first arrived, I had to either find an ATM that could accept U.S. Visa or take out cash on my credit card. Which is yet another reason to get a Dutch bank account as soon as possible. The credit card fees were ridiculoso!
Another thing, that will come up is paying others. You will probably have to pay your landlord rent, or a coworker back for lunch, etc. If so, you can just use your bank account number directly to request/receive funds.
It’s very convenient to be able to handle your money matters all in one place. I like that I don’t need to jump around between apps to make payments. Having my bank account set up and usable made me feel more at ease when I went shopping around town. Now I just need to feel a little less at ease with the shopping part 😉
Do you live in the Netherlands? If so, what’s your best money tip?