There are around 130 banks in Belgium, both local and international, though almost three-quarters of the market is cornered by main banks Fortis, KBC, Dexia, and ING. In addition, Belgium boasts one of the highest bank branches per capita and so branches are plentiful and usually have short waiting times. Almost all banking staff in Brussels speak English, as in the rest of the country, so this does not need to be an overriding factor when deciding upon a bank.
Banks usually open at 9am and close between 4 and 5pm on weekdays, and depending on the branch, may close between 1 and 2 pm for lunch. On weekends some banks and branches may open half-day, although many remain closed. The Belgian banking system is very advanced and safe, and you can even have complete e-banking, from opening an account from your home computer and never having to go to a branch at all. Money transfers within Europe are simple to do and can be done online. Other international transfers, however, may require you to go to a branch and have the transfer processed there.
ATMs can be found anywhere as well, and in many cases fees are not charged for using another bank’s ATM machines.
It is advisable to always have a current account, as it is the most convenient and cheapest way of making everyday transactions and transfers.
Main Banks in Brussels
There are many international banks. The following are very popular with the ex-pat community: