The use of credit cards in the 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 the Netherlands then it could 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.
If you apply for a credit card in the Netherlands, the card issuer will likely run a background credit check on the Bureau Kredietregistratie (BKR) credit register.
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. Many cards come with a contactless payment option for transactions under €50.
Mastercard and Visa are the most widely accepted credit cards in the Dutch retail space; American Express tends to be accepted only by major retailers who have an international client base.
You will not find a wide array of rewards-type credit cards on the Dutch market, except for American Express Flying Blue and Membership Rewards cards.
In general most people will pay the full balance of their card 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 the Netherlands that may be worth considering for expats and internationals:
American Express Cards in the Netherlands
American Express (AMEX) is active in the Dutch card market though as mentioned its cards are not as widely accepted in Europe as Visa or Mastercard. American Express offers charge cards which must be paid off every month.
Forex fees for non-euro payments on its Dutch cards are 2.3%. AMEX cards are excellent for earning miles and points. Please note, the American Express Netherlands website for personal cards is in Dutch only!
1. American Express Cards – AMEX has a number of card options for Dutch residents which when used can earn points on their in-house reward program called Membership Rewards (MR). This is a very flexible program with many different partners, particularly in the travel and airline sector. You can transfer your Membership Reward points into the available program of your choice.
The American Express Platinum Metal Card (€65 per month or €780 annually) is a high-end card with many travel privileges. It currently offers no welcome bonus. It features comprehensive travel insurance, Privium Plus membership (Schiphol border control), worldwide airport lounge access and a €300 dining credit. 1.5 MR points are earned for each €1 spend. You require a gross annual income of €30,000. The Platinum Metal card application can be made here
The American Express Gold Card (€20per month or €240 annually, free the first 6 months) which currently offers no welcome bonus. It also includes 4 lounge entry passes which can be used at 1,300 airports lounges worldwide and some basic travel insurance. It also has €100 dining credit. 1 MR points are earned for each €1 spend. You require a gross annual income of €20,000. The Gold card application can be made here
The standard card is the American Express Green Card (€5.50 per month or €66 annually, free the first year) which currently offers no welcome bonus. 1 MR point is earned for each €1 spend. You require a gross annual income of €20,000. The Green card application is here
The American Express Blue Card (€35 annually, free first year and continues free if annual card spend is over €3,000) is the base card product and offers 1 MR point per €2 spend. You require a gross annual income of €20,000.
2. KLM Flying Blue American Express Cards – These could be useful for those who fly regularly with KLM/Air France and are members of the Flying Blue frequent flyer scheme. The cards are offered with Flying Blue Award Mile bonuses given on the first €500 spend in 3 months. Higher bonuses can be on offer occasionally.
The top-of-the-range Flying Blue Platinum Card (€600, first year €300) comes with 15,000 bonus miles, comprehensive travel insurance and 60 XP points for elite status. 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. You require a gross annual income of €30,000. The Flying Blue Platinum card application can be made here
The Flying Blue Gold Card (€170, €85 first year) offers 7,500 bonus miles and 30 XP points for elite status. 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. You require a gross annual income of €20,000. The Flying Blue Gold card application is here
The Flying Blue Silver Card (€75, free the first year) comes with a standard welcome bonus of 2,500 Flying Blue miles and 15 XP points for elite status. The card’s earning rates are 0.8 miles per €1 spend and 1 mile per €1 spend at KLM/Air France. You require a gross annual income of €20,000. The Flying Blue Silver card application can be made here
The Flying Blue Entry Card (€35 per year) features a 2,500 mile welcome bonus and an earning rate of 0.5 miles per €1 spend. You require a gross annual income of €20,000.
American Express card applications can take up to 10 working days to be processed. For more see American Express Cards in the Netherlands – A Complete Guide
3. American Express Business Cards – If you run your own business and need a card purely for business expenses then American Express offers 2 different cards. These earn Membership Rewards points and as business costs can be large it can be a way to rack up a significant balance of points. Both cards are free the first year.
You need to show a Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK) number and have had a registered business for a minimum of 1 year. The AMEX business cards site is in both Dutch and English.
The American Express Business Gold Card (€225 annually, free the first year) currently offers 25,000 MR points on first €2,500 spend within 3 months. 1 MR point is earned for each €1 spend. The card offers business travel accident, travel inconvenience and cancellation insurance. There is also purchase and refund protection. You require a gross annual income of €36,000. The Business Gold card application can be made here
The American Express Business Green Card (€85, free the first year) is currently offering 12,000 MR points bonus on first €500 spend within 3 months. 1 MR point is earned for each €1 spend. The card offers business travel accident and business travel inconvenience insurance. You require a gross annual income of €23,000. Apply for a Business Green card here
Dutch Bank Credit Cards
If living in Holland it is important to open a bank account in order to function financially. Most banks will offer clients the possibility to apply for a credit card. In general you must be a client of the bank to apply for one of the following cards.
4. ABN Amro Credit Cards – ABN AMRO has a very good banking service for Netherlands-based expats with much information available in English. If you choose to bank with ABN AMRO then its branded Mastercard credit card offerings (issued by ICS, International Card Services) will probably be an easy option.
The ABN AMRO Credit Card has a credit limit of up to €5,000 and the monthly fee is €1.70 (€20.40 per year). It has 180 day purchase protection. To qualify for the standard card you must be earning at least €1,150 net per month (about €15,000 gross per year).
The ABN AMRO Gold Card also has a credit limit of up to €5,000 and costs €3.90 (€46.80 per year). It includes some car rental legal insurance and 365 day purchase protection. It also requires a minimum monthly net income of €1,150.
The ABN AMRO ICS GO Card is a pre-paid card which requires no income and credit check. It offers 180 day purchase protection. It costs €65 for a 3 year period.
ABN AMRO provides a paper credit card statement every month and you can also check transactions online or via its ABN AMRO app. PIN codes can be changed at any ABN AMRO ATM in the Netherlands. Forex fees for non-euro payments are charged at 2%.
5. ING Credit Cards – Major retail bank ING also offers its own branded Mastercards. There are 3 cards available with ING banking packages – Creditcard, PlatinumCard and Student Creditcard.
The ING Creditcard costs €19.80 per year with a credit limit of between €1,000 and €5,000. It has 180 day purchase protection.
The ING PlatinumCard costs €52.20 per year with a credit limit of between €1,000 and €20,000. It has 365 day purchase protection.
Either card requires a minimum monthly income of €650 to be paid into your ING account.
The ING Student CreditCard costs €14.40 per year with credit limit of €1,000.
ING charges a forex fee of 2% for non-Euro payments. The cards can be managed at the ‘Mijn ING‘ online portal or its mobile banking app.
6. Rabobank Credit Cards – Major Dutch retail bank Rabobank has its own branded “RaboCard” Mastercards and Visa cards – which are included in various banking packages. Depending on the package, the cards are either free or attract a small surcharge.
The standard RaboCard has a basic credit limit of €1,000 and offers 180 day purchase protection. The Rabo GoldCard has a basic €2,500 credit limit – although higher limits are offered to premium package customers. The Gold card has 360 day purchase protection.
Forex fees for non-euro payments on Rabo cards are 2%. A minimum monthly net income of €1,000 is required.
7. ASN Credit Card – Ethical bank ASN (part of Volksbank group) offers a branded Visa credit card issued by ICS which costs €26 per year. A credit limit of up between €1,000 and €5,000 is available. Each time you use the card ASN will make a small donation to a sustainable project. Forex fees for non-euro payments are 2% and it offers 180 day purchase protection The card is only available to ASN account holders.
8. SNS Bank Credit Card – SNS Bank (also part of Volksbank group) offers a branded Visa issued by ICS which costs €18.50 per year or €14 for student account holders. A credit limit from €1,000 to €5,000 is available. Forex fees for non-euro payments are also 2%. The card is only available to SNS account holders.
9. Knab Credit Cards – Online bank Knab (part of Aegon Group) offers account package holders the option of having a Knab Credit Card (Mastercard) or an American Express Green Card. You can open a Knab account here
The Knab Mastercard is freely included in the standard Knab Plus banking package which costs from €6 per month. Credit limits range from €1,000 to €5,000. The card offers 180 day purchase protection and the forex fee for non-euro payments is 2%. You require a monthly net income of €1,150.
The Amex Green Card is free the first year, then costs €66 per year – however the fee is waived if you spend a minimum of €1,500 on the card over the year. It comes with 5,500 Membership Rewards bonus points on opening. Non-euro payment fee is 2.5%. A minimum income of €20,000 per year is required.
Visa and Mastercard (Generic Cards)
ICS (International Card Services) offers the choice of generic Visa and Mastercards. You will require a net monthly salary of €1,150 for most cards (€1,250 for the Mastercard Black card). Non-euro forex charges are generally 2%. All cards have a credit limit of up to €5,000.
The card can be administered via the ICS online portal or app.
10. Visa World Cards – There is the standard Visa World Card (€36.50, free first year, 180 day purchase protection) and the Visa World Card Gold (€55, first year €36.50, 365 day purchase protection). The pre-paid ICS GO card costs €65 for a 3 year period and offers 180 day purchase protection.
11. Mastercards – There is the standard Mastercard Classic Card (€26 per year, 180 day purchase protection), the Mastercard Gold Card (€37.50, 365 day purchase protection) and the Mastercard Black Card (€204). The Black card comes with 365 day purchase protection, travel insurance and Priority Pass airport lounge access.
Other Branded Credit Cards
12. 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).
It offers members 3 possible cards: a standard ANWB Visa Classic Card (€16, 180 day purchase protection), ANWB Visa Silver Card (€26.50, half-price the first year, 270 day purchase protection) and the ANWB Visa Gold Card (€38.50, free first year, 365 day purchase protection). Credit limits are up to €5,000. The Silver and Gold cards offer extra car rental insurance policies.
The cards are issued by ICS with a required net monthly salary of €1,150 for the ANWB cards. Non-euro forex charges are 2%.
Note: Credit card 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, conditions and prices can change.
This article was first published in 2011, last update 17 November 2022.