Banks/Banking in Belgium
Banking in Belgium is a major industry and choosing a bank is not a problem as there is no dearth for banks. Belgium claims to possess the highest number of bank per capita in the world. The banks in Belgium are in electronic banking field from a very long time and there are transactions that cannot be done through your home computer or an ATM.
They offer excellent services featuring personal and commercial banking, insurance and investment, commercial, personal and mortgage loans. Majority banks have websites specifying the services offered and include features of online banking as well.
Personal accounts are expensive than in the USA or UK, of course cheaper than in Italy or France. Banks in Belgium charge for each service and transaction, but offset the charges by adding a small interest rate to your account every month. They also offer various package programs for single annual fee. Bank statements can be picked from the branch or can be printed from your home computer as well.
Top banks in Belgium
Traditionally, three top banks in Belgium are ING Bank, KBC and Fortis. However, the mergers may have altered their names, but the initial few digits are the branch and bank and then follow the individual account numbers. Majority banks function between Mondays and Fridays, while a few work on Saturdays.
There are other banks namely, Dexia bank, Keytrade bank, Banca Monte Paschi Belgio, Lloyds Bank, ABN Amro, and more.
Banking in Belgium revolves around five large banks comprising to 85% deposits. However, foreign and domestic banks function in a competitive environment. There are 17 banks in Belgium and Dexia is the biggest player in financing the public sector. It also offers asset management and insurance.
The other banks include Fortis Bank, Keytrade Bank, Bank J.Van Breda & C, ING Belgium, Citibank, AXA Bank, Lloyds Bank, KBC Bank, Commerzbank, ABN AMRO, Gofin Bank, United Taiwan Bank, Bank Degroof and Antwepse Diamantbank.
Opening an account can be done easily by giving a proof of identity. On opening the bank will send a cash debit card with PIN number. Checks are not encouraged by banks. The common way of payment is by bank transfer and this is attached in all Belgian bills.