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Payments and cash withdrawals in the Netherlands


When you are living and studying in the Netherlands, it’s good to know the best way to make payments. Read on to find out more about the most popular methods used here.

Cash money

You will soon notice that the Dutch like to manage their money online whenever they can. The number of purchases they make online increases each year. Also, government bodies and such like often only accept card payments, as this is more secure and cheaper. Nonetheless, cash also remains legal tender and a trusted means of payment. Many shopkeepers prefer card payments and they are allowed to refuse cash, though they must make this clear. In such cases, you’ll see a sign at the checkout saying that cash payments or banknotes greater than a certain denomination are not accepted. 

Since more and more people use their debit card or smartphone to make payments, cash withdrawals are used less and less, which is why the number of ATMs is decreasing. You may even have to search for a while if you need one. If you need to withdraw cash in a different currency, you can order it online, at Schiphol or at a bank branch, but be aware that you cannot order it at every bank branch. Also remember that it is often cheaper to withdraw money at your destination.

Using your debit card for payments and cash withdrawals

You can use a debit card to make secure payments at payment terminals and to make cash withdrawals at ATMs all over the Netherlands. There is however a daily or weekly limit to how much you can spend or withdraw. You always have a secret PIN with your debit card, which nobody but you will know. If you would like to change your PIN, you can easily do so at an ATM.

Contactless payments

There are more and more places where you can make contactless payments. All you need to do is hold your telephone, smartwatch or debit card against a payment terminal. The amount will be debited from your current account straight away, just like with a normal PIN payment. No PIN is needed for payments below €25, but it is for higher amounts. For security purposes, contactless payments are limited to a maximum of €50. Once you have reached that amount, you will need to enter your PIN again. You will then be able to make contactless payments again. 

Apple Pay payments

If you use Apple Pay to make payments, you can pay up to €2,500 per day per account. If you have lowered your card limit yourself, to €1,000 for instance, you will only be able to make payments up to €1,000 using Apple Pay too. If you have lowered your card limit yourself, to €1,000 for instance, you will only be able to make payments up to €1,000 using Apple Pay too.

iDEAL payments

iDEAL is the most well-known and popular online payment method in the Netherlands. Every Dutch bank offers iDEAL and it lets you pay for your purchases in their secure Internet Banking environment. The advantage of an iDEAL payment is that the payment is made immediately. This enables the online shop to deliver your purchase quickly. Another advantage is that you don’t need to download any software and don't need to register. You cannot have an iDEAL payment refunded and you can only use iDEAL within the Netherlands.

Your debit card abroad

You can withdraw cash at most ATMs abroad using your Dutch debit card. The ATMs that accept your card will have the Maestro and/or Cirrus logo. The Maestro logo is also printed on your debit card, usually in the bottom right-hand corner on the front of the card. You can also use your Dutch debit card to pay in many shops and restaurants abroad.

Credit card payments

After iDEAL, the credit card is the second most frequently used online payment method in the Netherlands. When you use a credit card, your provider advances your payment on your behalf. Once a month, the total amount outstanding on your credit card is debited from your current account. Credit cards are often used for expensive online payments and for payments to online shops abroad. The advantage of a credit card is that your purchases are insured against theft, loss or damage for 180 days. Should one of those things happen, you will be refunded the purchase amount. 

Debit card or credit card?

Most people in the Netherlands use their debit card for everyday purchases, such as grocery shopping, restaurant bills or purchases on the market. Credit cards are mainly used online, to book flights for instance, or to reserve a hire car for a holiday. Good to know: there is no extra charge for cash withdrawals and payments made using a debit card. If you use a credit card to withdraw cash, you will be charged extra.

No credit score system

If you were planning on taking out a Dutch credit card to get a credit score, there’s no need, because the Netherlands doesn’t have a credit score system. If you have a stable income and pay your outstanding balance on time, you will be deemed creditworthy, but this is not expressed in terms of a score. However, if you fail to make your repayments or don’t do so on time, you will be blacklisted for 5 years. This is known as a ‘BKR registration’, i.e. a registration with the Dutch Credit Registration Office. This will affect your ability to take out telephone contracts, loans and mortgages.

The information on this page is a brief explanation. You can not derive any rights from this.


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