Once your Dutch limited liability company (“B.V.”) has been set up and registered at the Chamber of Commence (known as the “KVK” in Dutch, which is an abbreviation of Kamer van Koophandel), you can then open a business bank account in the Netherlands.
Some companies choose not to open a Dutch bank account because of the potential hurdles they face. One notable issue is that most banks in the Netherlands conduct business in the Dutch language. Consequently, bank websites and internet banking systems are exclusively in the local language (one exception is ABN Amro). To avoid this issue some foreign companies prefer to open an offshore bank account or use a PayPal account.
However, despite the language barrier We, Dutch Business Incorporation believes there are several reasons why opening a Dutch bank account is essential when you do business in the Netherlands, or in other European countries.
Familiarity & Trust
When you open a bank account in the Netherlands you are provided with an IBAN number, which is recognised and trusted within the Netherlands and in SEPA countries. (For a list of SEPA countries, please check the European Central bank website.).
Money Transfer Costs
A Dutch business bank account has a significant advantage over a PayPal account when it comes to the costs of transferring money and paying suppliers in euros within SEPA countries – namely that the cost is minimal.
If you transfer funds using a PayPal account the service charges can mount up. It is therefore wise to check tariffs before making a transfer. Furthermore, note that your supplier must also have a PayPal account to receive your PayPal payment, which is not always the case.
Value Added Tax
For many start-ups in the Netherlands (and elsewhere of course), the first few years of trading may see more money going out on expenses than payments coming in from your clients. Should this be the case, you may be entitled to a VAT (known as BTW in Dutch) refund from the Dutch Tax authority (Belastingdienst) if your Dutch company is VAT registered. With a Dutch bank account, you will receive your VAT refund more promptly than is the case with a non-Dutch bank account.
Getting Help to Open a Dutch Bank Account
Despite talking about the advantages of opening a Dutch business bank account we understand that the process can be daunting; there are many different procedures, language barriers and culture differences (if you come from a country where the customer is king, you may be disappointed by service levels in the Netherlands).
We recognise the legitimate issues our foreign clients face and therefore recommend you find a service provider to accompany you during the process to ensure that opening a Dutch business bank account goes as smoothly as possible.
The Process of Opening a Business Bank Account in the Netherlands
Should you choose to open a business bank account with ING, the registered non-Dutch director is required to visit the Netherlands at least twice.
During the initial appointment, the bank staff carries out an identity check of the director as well as a check of the business activities of the company.
If everything is in order, your company will receive a local debit card (betaalpas) approximately two weeks later. You can use this debit card to withdraw cash at ATMs or make online payments through iDEAL, the Dutch payment system.
During the same period, the bank will also provide letters containing the debit card and internet banking passwords. Please note that, for security reasons, these passwords must be collected and activated personally by the director who initiated the opening of the bank account within one month. It is not possible to grant a proxy for someone else to collect the passwords on behalf of the director.
Should the passwords not be activated within a month the bank account will be cancelled automatically.
If you have any questions or need help with opening a bank account, please do not hesitate to contact us at www.smesolutions.nl.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luann Ip has been living and working in Europe (London, Luxembourg and Amsterdam) for more than 25 years. She used to work for one of the big four accountancy firm in London, a FTSE company in Luxembourg and two of the top three worldwide trust companies. She has extensive experience serving multinational companies and she is now settled down in Amsterdam.
Did you like this article? Sign up for the SME Solutions newsletter below to keep up-to-date on the latest news, tips and tricks for entering the Dutch market.