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Switching banks in the Netherlands, how does that work?

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Published: 12/12/2019 | Update: 18/03/2020

Switching banks in the Netherlands, how does that work?

People have been criticising banks since day one. It’s not surprising that you think twice when trusting a bank with all of your life’s savings. Nowadays, the flow of criticism has not ceased and consumers set high standards for their bank. Many consumers want their bank to be sustainable, fair and transparent. But when scrutinizing your bank and finding out they’re not as good of a match as you thought, you might want to switch banks. In this article I’ll explain how to easily do just that.

How to switch banks in 7 steps
  1. Request a new checking account
  2. Download your periodical transactions and debits and credits
  3. Close down your standing orders
  4. Stop blocked accounts
  5. Use the nationwide transfer service (Overstapservice), optional
  6. Inform your oversees debit collectors about your new account
  7. Check your old checking account

Step 1: Request a new checking account

Choose a bank that fits your needs and open a new checking account with possible other services. Make sure to apply for a new bank card and log into your new online bank environment. You can request a new account online or you can visit the local bank branch.

If you’re not sure which bank is your best match, you can use several comparison websites to help you pick. They’ll help you find out which bank fits your needs and demands. Be sure to know what your expectations of a bank are before you start your research.

Black wallet with creditcard

Step 2: Download your periodical transactions and debits and credits

If you don’t have any periodical transactions on paper, make sure you download them from your current bank. After a transfer you won’t be able to use your online banking environment belonging to your old bank and so you won’t be able to access your transactions. If you have them hard copy you can reference them later on.

Step 3: Close down your standing orders

Cancel your standing orders with your current bank. Before doing so, download your given orders from your online banking environment. This makes it easier to set up all of your standing orders at your new bank.

Step 4: Stop blocked accounts

Stop blocked accounts. An account block is the blocking of automatic collections. If you haven’t installed any blockages, you can skip this step. Download the list of blocks from your current bank so you can easily install them on your new account.

(Optional) Step 5: Use the nationwide transfer service (Overstapservice)

Definitely switching banks? I suggest you use the free transfer service. This is a collective initiative by Dutch banks to facilitate switching banks. If you’ve opted to use this service, it will make sure that debits and credits on your old bank account are automatically transferred to your new one for the duration of 13 months. Below we’ve broken down what the service does during these 13 months:

  • Credits are automatically transferred

Credits to your old bank account, like your salary, are transferred to your new one. Even so, it’s smart to inform your employer of your new bank account number.

  • Automatic collections

The transfer service makes sure the automatic collections are not done from your old account but from your new bank account. You don’t have to inform all of the individual collectors.

  • Interest payments and other premiums

If your using other services next to your bank account, like a mortgage or insurance, the transfer service ensures that these are automatically withdrawn from your new account.

Of course you can switch banks without using this service. However, this means it’s up to you to ensure that all debits and credits are done with your new account by informing every party individually.

Step 6: Inform your oversees debit collectors about your new account

Oversees collectors, like Netflix and Spotify, don’t have a Dutch bank account which means the transfer service won’t transfer their collections automatically. You’re responsible to notify these services of your new bank account number.

Step 7: Check your old checking account

Everything the transfer service does, you can do yourself. To make sure everything goes smoothly it’s advised to check if the transfer service functions properly. This will prevent any nasty surprises.

A month before your old account is definitely closed, check if no more debits and credits on this account are taking place. If you do find any, make sure to contact the company or person responsible for these transactions.

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woman taking notes for switching banks

Extra tip: capitalise any points or other loyalty credits you might hav

As switching banks seems very complicated, many of us stick with the same bank for a long time. Many of us don’t know that a lot of banks have loyalty credit systems. This means you’ve been saving points, or a different kind of credit, whilst banking with your old bank.

Before transferring it might be rewarding to check if your bank has a similar scheme. These credits might be discounts, products or services you’d like to use!

Switching banks and maintaining your current bank account number

Unfortunately it’s not possible to switch banks and keep your current account number.

How do I apply for the transfer service?

You can apply for the service at your new bank. Your new bank will send you a form and with this you can request the service. They can also help you correctly fill in the form.

Can I also opt out of using the transfer service?

Technically you can, but we discourage you from doing so. The service is free! The big advantage of using the transfer service is that you are supported in your transfer, which means a lot less hassle on your part. Do keep an eye on your old and new account and don’t just hand everything over without checking now and then.

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