May 17, 2023

On 10 May 2023, the Dutch Banking Association (‘NVB’, Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken) announced that Dutch banks are exploring the possibilities and conditions for basic payment accounts (in Dutch: basisbetaalrekening) for businesses that cannot open a bank account in the Netherlands.

Basic payment account

Basic payment account is already an option for private (non-business) clients in the Netherlands since 2001. It was a solution to prevent people who cannot open a bank account from being socially excluded, considering the importance of having a bank account.

A basic payment account works the same as a normal payment account, with the exception of the possibility of being overdrawn, using a credit card and opening a savings account.

However, the basic payment account has been a possibility only for private clients.

Business clients often rejected by banks

In the recent years, NVB has pointed out multiple times that the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act (Wwft) has unintended effects of excluding certain businesses from obtaining a bank account. Wwft obliges banks to perform an intensive client research where the risk of money laundering or terrorism financing is high, and banks will reject a client if this risk is not mitigated to a satisfactory extent in their view.

In addition, banks have the general discretion to reject a client if it does not meet their internal policy. For instance, banks have rejected businesses from tobacco or fossil energy industry due to their sustainability policy.

In 2021, businesses have been rejected of a bank account 2700 times according to NVB. However, the impact might be bigger than what this number suggests, since a number of businesses do not apply for a bank account given their high chance of rejection.

More information to follow

NVB expects to come up with a proposal with more concrete plans in the beginning of July.

In the meanwhile, please feel free to contact CIS Management for further information.