Should I arrange my banking affairs locally or do I stick with my trusted Belgian banker? It’s a common question if you are planning to move abroad. Banking needs depend on your personal situation. As a Belgian citizen, you have same basic rights everywhere in the EEA for opening a bank account, transferring money, taking out a loan or buying insurance.
Tip: It’s advisable to wait a few years before closing all of your Belgian banking products. Testing the situation at your new destination for a while is more practical than having to start again from scratch.
Tip: Your regular banker can advise you before departure . Don’t hesitate to contact your bank for financial questions.
You have the right to open a basic bank account in another European country. With a basic payment account you can perform transactions you need on a daily basis. You receive a payment card and, if applicable, you have access to internet banking. Some banks charge an annual fixed fee in order to use an account. If you want to open a basic payment account in a country different from your residence country, you will need to provide a motivation for it.
Tip: Ensure a good banking relationship in your destination country. That gives the necessary peace of mind and ensures that you don’t get into trouble. In every country the financial rules are different, so check carefully what you need to do. Ask your Belgian banker for help.
If you want to buy property abroad, you will probably need a mortgage loan. Loans can be offered by banks, building funds or other lenders. Banks autonomously decide whether to approve or refuse an application for a loan. They will probably check whether you are creditworthy. The country where you live, work, or buy a property can affect the assessment of your application.
Tip: Compare offers from different lenders before you take out a loan.
Tip: Ask for a European standardized information sheet (ESIS), a standard document that gives an overview of the conditions of the loan offered. It helps you to easily compare offers.
Insurance companies are allowed to offer their products to the entire European market. This means you can look for the most advantageous insurance policies (life insurance, family insurance, car insurance e.g.) throughout Europe. This only concerns private insurance and pension funds, not social security or pension rights.
Most insurance products are distributed through intermediaries (brokers, insurance agents). They have to provide you with certain essential information in writing:
- Your insurance needs and requirements
- The reason for giving you a specific advice about the insurance product
Based on this information you can then decide whether the proposed insurance contract is a good choice for you.
For more information about financial products and services, please contact your banker.