Online Banks in Belgium - Digital Banking and E-wallets
Online banking in Belgium has come a long way over the past few years and now, thanks to initiatives by the government and various banks, an increasing number of Belgians are using it to manage their money and make payments. Unlike many other countries, banking in Belgium is highly advanced with numerous online-only banks available as well as big names such as ING and mobile-only banks like N26 offering online services including personal finances management systems, payment solutions, debit cards, etc. While e-wallets have been available for years already, their popularity continues to grow significantly among younger people who have never known life without them!
Mobile Banking in Belgium
Mobile banking is growing in popularity in Belgium as more people ditch traditional banks in favour of digital-only options. There are several reasons for this shift, but the convenience and flexibility that mobile banking offers are chief among them. With mobile banking, you can check your balance, transfer money, and pay bills all from your smartphone. Plus, many mobile apps offer features that traditional banks don't, such as budgeting tools and notifications when you're approaching your spending limit.
In Belgium, several traditional banks provide mobile banking such as ING, Santander, and others. There are also mobile-only banks like N26, Bunq, Revolut, Monese, and Soldo. These companies pride themselves on offering an experience similar to a bank without a physical location. The majority of their services are available through an app so you never have to worry about having to visit a branch again. They also offer savings accounts, debit cards, and loans which other types of banks might not be able to do if they don't have access to physical locations or rely heavily on high street foot traffic for customers.
Features of Mobile Banking in Belgium
Once you download the mobile banking app onto your smartphone, there are many features available to help you manage your finances and stay on top of every situation. Depending on which bank you choose, these features may vary slightly but there are some common ones such
- The ability to check your account balance, transactions, and statements from anywhere
- Transfer money between accounts
- Say bills online
- Set up direct debits from your checking account
- Keep track of credit card balances and statements - even do it all
- 24/7 customer support
Best Mobile Banks in Belgium
bunq is a mobile-first Neobank that provides a variety of innovative services like personal and commercial accounts. Users may access up to 25 bank accounts with unique IBANs, 5 virtual debit MasterCards, and 3 actual Maestro/MasterCards through a single bunq account. Bunq allows you to send payments, request money, divide bills, and conduct real-time transactions.
Your assets are safe with this neobank because it is licensed by the Dutch National Bank. It implies that if Bunq goes bankrupt, all deposits up to 100,000 euros (for all accounts combined) are protected.
Features of bunq
- Personal IBAN.
- SWIFT and SEPA payments are available.
- Metal card.
- Competitive international fees.
- Bunq pack (three personal, and one business account) on the fixed monthly fee.
N26 provides key banking services such as savings accounts, payment transfers, direct debit, and travel-related features such as an account with a debit card, insurance, and free foreign currency ATM withdrawals globally. N26 allows you to send money in 19 different currencies. Following Brexit, N26 ceased operations in the United Kingdom and is currently focusing on expansion in Europe and the United States.
N26 is regulated by the German Financial Regulatory Authority. In compliance with European Union rules, your money is covered by the German deposit protection system for up to 100,000 EUR.
N26 is concerned with security, which is why an N26 account can only be linked to one mobile phone at a time, guaranteeing that you are the only one who has access to your account. Users are also kept up to date on all account activity via immediate push alerts.
Revolut is a challenger bank to traditional banks. Instant spending notifications, built-in budgeting, and the option to spend and transfer money internationally using the real exchange rate are all available in a single app. From regular spending and budgeting to international currency conversion and easy-access stock trading, they've got you covered.
Features of Revolut
- Customers of Revolut may make instant and free payments.
- External transfers are simple and quick.
- Sharing expenditures with family members who have a Revolut account.
- Send money instantaneously in 30 currencies while taking advantage of a favourable exchange rate.
- Each spending category has its own budget planner.
- Budget monitoring in real-time.
- Payments may be made more easily and securely with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- Donations are possible with Revolut in only a few clicks.
Monese provides companies and individuals with quick European and UK checking accounts that are accessible online, as well as a MasterCard debit card. Users may create a bank account in EUR, GBP, or RON, as well as request and transfer cash in 19 currencies throughout the world. Its debit card is accepted at ATMs, in-stores, and online across the world.
Unlike typical UK banks, the funds of users are not protected by the FSCS; there is no protection for deposits up to 85,000 GBP if the firm goes bankrupt. Monese is a registered agent for PrePay Technologies (an EMI) that is approved by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority. Furthermore, Monese is unable to reinvest its clients' funds, which must be kept secure in a separate account.
Features of Monese
- Automatic Bills Protection and Purchase Protection.
- Contactless Mastercard debit card.
- Make international transfers at excellent exchange rates.
- Integration with Apple and Google Pay.
- Features for travelers, such as Travel money cards and Avios.
Wirex is an FCA licensed, the global leader in digital money solutions for personal use. Wirex Ltd offers its consumers in the EEA a debit Mastercard and a debit Visa card for those in APAC, currency exchange for individuals across the world. Wirex's services are available in many countries and consumers can make transactions in multiple currencies.
Features of Wirex
- Send 21 fiat and cryptocurrencies over the world quickly and effortlessly.
- Take advantage of unfettered access to the world of global payments.
- Instant crypto-to-crypto, fiat-to-crypto, and crypto-to-fiat trades at live rates.
- Savings of 5-8 percent as compared to high-street banks.
- With live in-app alerts, you can track payments and manage your account.
Mobile Payments in Belgium
Mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular in Belgium, with more and more people using their smartphones to make transactions. This trend is being driven by the growing number of online banks and e-wallets available in the country. One such service is iDEAL Pay, which offers a mobile payment solution for Belgian merchants to accept card and contactless payments from customers.
As well as being accepted in stores and restaurants, iDEAL Pay can also be used for private transfers between family members or friends.
Belgians also use internationally well-known mobile payments such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal which are popular choices for both small stores and large businesses. Recently though, Bancontact created the country's newest mobile payment app - which integrates modern NFC technology in addition to traditional methods of scanning codes into existing terminals.
How to Open a Mobile Bank Account in Belgium
Opening a mobile bank account with a traditional financial institution
Whether you’ve already made your way to Belgium and are sorting out your financial affairs, or are planning a move to Belgium soon, it’s easy to open up a new bank account here. Non-residents of the country can also typically set up an online basic account if they want something simple. If you’ve got an existing account with one of the Belgian banks and want to switch over to mobile banking, all you need to do is download the app from their website and follow the instructions inside. It takes just a few minutes most of the time.
Opening a mobile bank account with a mobile-only bank
Opening an account with a mobile-only bank allows you to complete any financial transactions from your smartphone, no matter where in the world you are. It only takes a few minutes and all you need is:
- Personal information such as full name, date of birth, and registered address.
- Mobile number and email address.
- Biometric data such as fingerprints or digital photos, if enhanced security features are available and you want to make use of them. All other identifications like passports or proofs of addresses are not required unless specified by the company.
All said - making this change to my banking system was much easier than opening up another banking account elsewhere!
Mobile Banking Fees in Belgium
In general, traditional banks in Belgium charge lower fees for mobile banking than traditional banks. However, there are some exceptions. For example, BNP Paribas Fortis charges a monthly fee of €2.50 for its mobile banking service. Meanwhile, ING only charges €0.20 per transaction. However, when it comes to mobile-only banks such as Reovolut, offer free basic accounts that provide all that you need in a bank account. These Mobile banks also have standard and premium accounts which could cost you anywhere from €10-30 a month.
Keep in mind that when using mobile banking from traditional banks you might end up accruing fees for international transfers, credit cards, and others. However, that is not the case when it comes to mobile-only banks as they offer most of these services free of charge. With services like Revolut, you can transfer money abroad with no commission at all and they do not impose any limits on the number of transactions you can make every day.
Mobile Banking Security In Belgium
With ever-growing threats to security from hackers and fraudsters, banking providers are struggling hard to stay ahead of the game and keep customers secure online. New challenges are emerging all the time for banks with scammers and fraudsters becoming more adept at manipulating systems.
A great mobile banking app will go a long way in protecting your security, with features like:
- locking you out if you enter your online banking PIN incorrectly;
- logging you out after a period of inactivity;
- keeping none of your banking data on your device.
- Offers 2-factor authentication
However, there is only so many online banks can do to protect your funds and data. You also have to take action in protecting your account, here are a few tips to help you keep your mobile banking experience safe and secure:
- Use a strong password or passcode to protect your device.
- Be cautious of phishing scams - never click on links or attachments from unknown sources.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi when accessing your bank's website or app.
- Keep your software up to date to reduce the risk of malware infections.
- Use a security app or service to add an extra layer of protection to your device.
Foreign nationals can apply for a Belgian bank account if they have an economic link to the country or are living there. Many Belgian banks also accept addresses from outside of Belgium. Some require only an email address and a government-issued ID. Most provide low-barrier accounts even for people who don't live in Belgium anymore.
The competition in the online banking sector in Europe is very high. If you want a complete breakdown of the best digital banks, check out our blog post on the best online banks in Europe.
Opening up a bank account in Belgium without an address is easy and straightforward. You may open an online account with only proof of identification such as your passport or Belgian ID, which are usually enough for the institution to give you an account within minutes.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, online banks in Belgium are convenient, efficient, and secure. They offer a variety of services that make managing your finances easier. Plus, with online banking, you can access your account anywhere, anytime. Whether you're looking for a traditional bank or an online bank, there are plenty of options available in Belgium.