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Credit Cards in Netherlands

 

The use of credit cards in Netherlands is not as well established as elsewhere with most payments being made by cash, debit cards or via internet banking.

The thrifty Dutch have much less of a consumer debt culture than say US, UK or Australia and many shops in Holland still do not accept credit card payments.

However, if you are living and working in Netherlands then it will be useful to get a credit card - especially if you need to travel frequently. A credit card is pretty much essential for international hotel and car rental bookings. In addition, paying for flights and online purchases with a credit card gives you more consumer protection than other payment methods.

Dutch credit cards use the chip and pin system for making payments in retail outlets - you have to input a pin number rather than just sign a sales slip.

In general Dutch people pay the balance of their card in full by direct debit every month. Installment payments can be arranged but you will be charged interest costs.

Let's take a quick look at the various credit cards available in Netherlands that may be worth considering for expats:

Dutch Bank Credit Cards

1. ABN AMRO Credit Cards
If you are banking with ABN AMRO then its branded Mastercard offerings will probably be the easiest option. ABN AMRO has a very good banking service for expats with much info available in English.

abn-amro credit card

To qualify for the standard ABN AMRO Credit Card you must be earning at least €1,150 net per month. The initial monthly credit limit is €2,500, though this can be increased. The annual fee for the ABN AMRO credit card is €20 but it can also be bundled into various ABN AMRO bank account packages.

The ABN AMRO Gold Card has a higher €5,000 monthly credit limit and costs €50 annually. An additional card costs €25 per year. It requires a minimum monthly net income of €1,250.

ABN AMRO provides a paper credit card statement every month and you can also check transactions online. PIN codes can be changed at any ABN AMRO ATM in Netherlands. Forex fees are charged at 2%.

2. Rabobank Credit Cards
Major Dutch retail bank Rabobank issues its own branded "RaboCard" Mastercards - which are included in various banking packages. The standard RaboCard has a monthly credit limit of €2,500. The Rabo BaseCard has a lower €1,000 limit, suitable for students and costs €1.35 per month. The Rabo GoldCard has a €10,000 credit limit and is also available as a Visa. Forex fees on Rabo cards are 1.5%.

3. ING Credit Cards
Major retail bank ING also offers their own branded Mastercards. There are 3 cards available with ING banking packages - Creditcard, PlatinumCard and Student Creditcard. The standard Creditcard costs €9 per quarter with a credit limit of up to €5,000. The PlatinumCard costs €16.25 per quarter with a credit limit of up to €20,000. The student card costs €12.50 per year with credit limit of €1,000.

ING charges a forex fee of 1.35% for non-Euro transactions.

Smaller Dutch retail banks ASN and SNS also offer credit cards to account holders.

See also: Opening a Bank Account in Netherlands

American Express Cards in Netherlands

American Express is active in the Dutch card market though note that Amex is not as widely accepted in Europe as Visa or Mastercard. American Express offers charge cards which must be paid off every month. AMEX has forex fees for its Dutch cards at 2.3%.

4. American Express Cards
AMEX has a number of card options for Dutch residents which can earn "Membership Rewards" points on spending. This is a very flexible program with many different partners, particularly in the travel and airline sector. You can transfer your AMEX points into the available program of your choice.

The standard cards are the Green Card (€65) and Gold Card (€150) with welcome bonuses of 5,500 and 12,500 points, respectively.

The American Express Platinum Card is a high end card with many travel privileges including 20,000 bonus points, comprehensive travel insurance and airport lounge access. Minimum yearly income required is €70k and the card costs a hefty €700 annually.

Earning rates for the above cards are 1 point per €1 spend, though the Green Card earns double points outside the Netherlands.

The base American Express Blue Card (€50) does not offer rewards points.

5. KLM Flying Blue American Express Cards
This could be useful for those who fly regularly with KLM/Air France and are members of the Flying Blue frequent flyer scheme.

The Flying Blue Entry Card costs €35 per year (minimum gross income €25K) and features a 2,500 mile welcome bonus and an earning rate of 0.5 miles per €1 spend.

The Flying Blue Silver Card comes with a standard welcome bonus 2,500 Flying Blue miles after the first €100 spend - higher temporary bonuses can be offered up to 10,000 miles. The card's earning rates are 0.8 miles per €1 spend and 1 mile per €1 spend at KLM/Air France or Hertz. Minimum gross income is €25K per year and the card fee is €75 per year, waived the first year.

The Flying Blue Gold Card costs €170 per year and normally offers 10,000 bonus miles after the first €100 spend (temporary bonuses up to 20,000 miles). The card's earning rates are 1 mile per €1 spend and 1.5 miles (award and level) per €1 spend at KLM/Air France or Hertz. Minimum gross income is €35K per year.

The top-of-the-range Flying Blue Platinum Card costs €600 per year and comes with 20,000 bonus miles. The card's earning rates are 1.5 miles per €1 spend and 2 miles (award and level) per €1 spend at KLM/Air France or Hertz. Minimum gross income is €60K per year.

Visa and Mastercard (generic cards)

ICS (International Card Services bv) offers the choice of generic Visa and Mastercards. You will require a net monthly salary of €1,150 for the standard cards or €1,250 for the Gold and Platinum cards.

6. Visa World Cards
The standard Visa World Card has a credit limit of €2,500 and annual fee €36.50. The Visa World Card Gold has a credit limit of €5,000 and annual fee €55 (first year €36.50). Finally the Visa World Card Platinum comes with a €10,000 credit and costs €154 per year (first year €77). Platinum cardholders have access to a medical and legal referral service helpline.

7. Mastercards
The MasterCard Classic has a credit limit of €2,500 and annual fee €17.50. The MasterCard Gold has a credit limit of €5,000 and annual fee €32.50. The MasterCard Black costs €204 per year, has a credit limit up to €25,000 and offers airport lounge access.

Forex fees are for these cards are 1.5-2%.

Other branded cards

8. Bijenkorf Cards
Bijenkorf is a major Dutch department store selling branded articles. They offer Bijenkorf Mastercards (various membership levels) which earn points on spending - 1 point per €1 in Bijenkorf and 1 point per €2 spend elsewhere. These points can be redeemed for items at Bijenkorf. They also offer card holders various discounts and closed shopping evenings. Forex fees are 1.85%.

9. ANWB Credit Cards
ANWB (Royal Dutch Touring Club) is the main motoring association of the Netherlands (like AA, RAC in the UK or AAA in the US). They offer members a standard ANWB Visa and/or an ANWB Mastercard with credit limits of €2,500 each, both which cost €12 per year. For the Visa card, forex fees outside the Eurozone are 1.85% in the EU and 2% elsewhere; the Mastercard has forex fee of 1.85%.

The ANWB Visa Gold card has a higher credit limit of €5,000 and an annual fee of €27.50 per year. Forex charges are 0.95% (in EU but outside Eurozone) and 1.25% elsewhere.

Note: Credit cards names above are registered trademarks. You should pay your credit cards balance in full every month. As the Dutch say "Let op! Geld lenen kost geld" which basically means "borrowing money costs money"! Terms and conditions can change.