4

I was expatriated in the Netherlands for a little under three years, and am now back in my home country (Palestine/Israel). I don't expect to live in the EU again in the near future.

I still have an active Dutch bank account (ABN AMRO) and a credit card associated with it (ICS).

Should I cancel my credit card? Should I close my bank account? (Or rather, what are the pros and cons of doing so?)

Also, if I do close them, how soon should I do so after I've left?

4
  • 1
    Do you pay a service charge on either account? Do you still have any possibility of a tax liability or tax refund in the Netherlands? Nov 2, 2018 at 15:33
  • @MartinBonner: I pay some kind of minimal service charge of a few EUR a year. Let's assume I don't have any tax liabilities in NL and that no payments are forthcoming to me.
    – einpoklum
    Nov 2, 2018 at 16:18
  • 2
    This asks for opinion. On the one hand, you don't need or expect to use the accounts while you're in your home country. OTOH, maintenance costs of the account and card are low, and if you do return to the Netherlands (or, perhaps, elsewhere in the EU) in the future, it'd be much easier to have retained these accounts, compared with work of setting them up again. You'll have to resolve this tension on your own. Nov 2, 2018 at 19:23
  • @David: A huge part of the questions here on expatriates.SX are "what should I do?" Or "what is my best course of action?" the pros and cons are a good answer of course.
    – einpoklum
    Dec 7, 2018 at 23:12

3 Answers 3

3

You might get a tax refund, as I did when I returned. And then it will be very difficult for you to get that money to you if you do not have a local bank account. If you are sure of not getting any tax refunds in future, go ahead by closing the account.

2
  • 1
    Why would it be difficult to get a tax refund to the OP without a local bank account? Dec 7, 2018 at 13:52
  • 1
    @PatriciaShanahan Because the tax office will not go out of its way to send the money to "anywhere in the world"?
    – deviantfan
    Dec 8, 2018 at 1:12
2

Pros of keeping a Dutch bank account:

  • If you ever visit you have an additional way to pay at shops that do not play nice with foreign (credit) cards. The situation is getting better but there are still some and it's also increasingly common to find shops that do not take cash at all. Incidentally, I recall that marqt had signs about not accepting Israeli credit cards.
  • Again for visits, I kept my OV Chipkaart tied to my ABN-AMRO account but it only really makes sense if you intend to visit somewhat frequently. The Netherlands finally rolled out a debit card pay-as-you-go option on public transportation (OVPay), which should work with foreign cards and may be a good alternative (at least with European debit cards, I would be wary of unexpected fees otherwise).
  • You keep access to iDeal if you ever need some online Dutch-only service or you still have accounts tied to your Dutch address. Switching countries on app stores and media subscriptions can be a huge pain (e.g. it seems impossible to keep your app purchases if you want to switch to another country's app store with the same AppleID) and if the account was created in the Netherlands, it will typically offer a country-specific set of payment options that include iDeal (that's the case for my Steam account for example).
  • If you have moved outside the EU, it gives you an EUR bank account for SEPA transfer or contactless transactions during visits to other Eurozone countries. There are other options but it's not always trivial to avoid fees and it can be advantageous to do one transaction towards your Dutch account and then use your Dutch cards for micro-transaction like pay-as-you-go on public transportation, even outside the Netherlands.

Cons:

  • Monthly / yearly fees
  • Potential reporting obligations in your new country of residence

An additional consideration is that you are probably violating the conditions of your contract and especially the credit card's terms of use. I didn't bother cancelling it but I barely use it and wouldn't rely on the insurance tied to the card.

1

I still have my Dutch bank account even though I have not lived there for 5 years. My wife and I still own a house there and my sister in law lives there so our situation may be different than yours.

That said, I have found it very convenient to have my Dutch bank account. I use It every time I visit. There are many places where it is only possible to pay with cash or a Maestro card so it's convenient to withdraw money from my account there or use by bank card to pay.

The fees are about 25 euro per year, which I consider worth the hassle since I visit at least once per year. I can also use my Maestro card in other European countries.

The other consideration is that, if I close my account, I would not be eligible to open a new bank account there unless I moved there again.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.