Chesterfield (London) - Headquarters
207 Old Marylebone Road
London
NW1 5QP
Tel: +44 (0) 203 771 3853
Fax: +44 (0) 203 771 3856
Email: sales@groupchesterfield.com

Banking in Belgium

At Chesterfield Management we have links with many local and international banks and are on hand to provide help, assistance and introductions to our contractors who take up contracts in Belgium.

International professionals contracting in Belgium will need a local Bank Account for day to day living. Belgium has the largest number of bank branches per head of population in the world, and electronic banking is widespread. It is possible to carry out most transactions either at an ATM or using a computer. Some banks operate entirely online, where it is possible to do everything from opening an account to using the bank's investment services.

Personal accounts tend to be more expensive in Belgium than in the UK or USA. In addition to transaction charges, banks charge separately for each service offered (such as debit and credit cards and Internet banking facilities). Most banks offer a variety of packages for an annual fee, which includes the fees for bank cards, Internet banking access, some transactions at ATMs and usually some form of account insurance.

The Main Belgian Retail Banks

• BNP Paribas Fortis
• KBC Groep
• Citibank Belgium
• ING
• AXA Bank Belgium (in French & Dutch)
• Argenta (in French & Dutch)

The currency of Belgium is the Euro and it shares a common currency with Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal and The Netherlands.

Notes are denominated in 5 EUR, 10 EUR, 20 EUR, 50 EUR, 100 EUR, 200 EUR, 500 EUR and the coins are 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 EUR, 2 EUR

Opening a Bank Account

To open a local current or checking account (compte à vue/zichtrekening) in Belgium you will need proof of identity, either a passport or a Belgian ID Card as proof of identity, together with proof of residence. Once the account is opened the bank will send you an ATM Card, usually a Bancontact/Mister Cash debit card.

Cash 

Cash dispensers/ ATM machines are usually located wherever there is a bank, and they all take the Bancontact/Mister Cash cards issued by local banks as well as credit cards. Dispenser lobbies within banks are open after hours and are usually only for customers of that specific bank and most don’t issue cash on credit cards. You'll need to swipe your bank card to get in.

Debit and Credit Cards

The most common card in Belgium is the Bancontact/Mister Cash card. It is linked to your current account, and is accepted in department stores, supermarkets, petrol stations, and retail outlets. A Bancontact/Mister Cash card with a PIN number will be issued when you open a Belgian bank account.

Most types of credit card are widely accepted. If you get a Visa or MasterCard from a local bank, the standard option in Belgium is for this to operate like a debit card, with the full balance taken from your account each month. Some of the major banks do offer credit cards Visa, American Express and other major international credit cards can also be obtained and used in Belgium.

Proton

Belgium pioneered cashless technology in 1995. The Proton card is actually a chip integrated into your Bancontact/Mister Cash card and is for small transactions to a value of around 15 euro without a pin number or signature. You can load the proton card at a cash dispenser, and then go shopping. The retailer enters the amount to be paid into the Proton terminal, and you put your Proton card into the terminal. A lost card is like cash and many large supermarkets no longer offer the Proton option.

Internet and phone banking

Belgian banks are very modern and most major banks offer online banking and telephone banking

Cheques

Cheques, while still available, are discouraged by banks and can attract high charges.They are more or less obsolete.

The transfer slip

if you do not bank online the most common means of payment is via a bank transfer (virement/overschrijving). This is an orange and white payment slip found at the bottom of almost all Belgian bills. This has to be filled in, signed and handed in at your bank or paid via an ATM machine

Direct Debit

In Belgium these are known as domiciliation/domiciliering, is the most efficient way to pay bills.

Standing Order

This is called ordre permanent/bestendige opdracht and can be set up for regular payments of a fixed amount, like rent or mortgage repayments. 

To learn more contact us on our office telephone number 0044 (0)2070971385, request a call-back, or click here to email us .


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