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Rotterdam - Banking
In Rotterdam, ABM-AMBRO and Rabo Bank each have an expat division that are usually staffed with English-speaking officers who can assist you in filling up the forms required for opening a bank account. They also offer a good range of services frequently used by expatriates, such as internet banking, remittance services, and so on. The Post Office also has a bank – Postbank (by ING) is another option.
Many banks in Rotterdam have kiosks that offer a range of phone-banking and other banking services. Internet banking and mobile-phone banking are also offered. These are good options to consider, as it means significant reduction in time spent waiting in bank queues. Banks offer a range of account types – the most common two are current accounts ('betaalrekening') and savings accounts ('spaarrakening').
There is only one currency exchange kiosk in Rotterdam – the currency exchange at Centraal Station. 'Geldautomaat' or 'pinautomaten' are ATMs to withdraw cash. These are usually located outside the bank (and in some cases, post offices). Stored cash cards ('chippen') are also used, and in some car parks, payment for parking is by chippen only. Chippen can be 'topped-up' at geldautomaats. Payment of bills by bank transfer (GIRO or 'acceptgiro') is commonly used to settle utility bills. You can request for the forms at the bank, or from your service provider, but take note that it can take weeks for the GIRO account to be activated. Alternatively, an automatic bank transfer by way of a bank instruction ('machtiginskaart') can be arranged to pay for pre-determined amounts of money (e.g. for rent).
On occasion, you may be asked to produce a photo id (driver's license or residency card) as proof of identification when using your credit card, especially if it is a credit card not issued in The Netherlands. In general, Dutch-issued credit card are accepted at many stores, restaurants and hotels. Credit cards are also used to pay for parking.
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