Opening a bank account

To open a bank account...

You must provide a valid resident card or proof of identity. The law states that banks must know and disclose their customer relationships. Although confidentiality still applies, banking institutions must also collect all information on their customers' financial situations and their reasons for seeking to open an account. In the event of complex transactions, banks are also subject to checks and, in some cases specified by the law, are required to submit suspicious activity reports to the Information and Financial Circuit Inspection Department.

When a bank account is opened, a deposit account Agreement is drawn up.
This is a written contract between a bank and a legal person for non-business-related needs. The contract stipulates the conditions under which the account operates as well as each of the parties' rights. A deposit account agreement must be signed before a deposit account can be opened.

What does a bank account agreement cover?

The account agreement covers all mutual contractual commitments between the bank and the account holder(s), from the date on which the account is opened to the date on which it is closed.

Information on how the account works

A bank account agreement must provide information on:

  • the period of the agreement,
  • services provided and associated fees,
  • means of communication to be used between the account holder(s) and the bank,
  • power of attorney terms,
  • action to be taken in the event of death,
  • scope for modifying and terminating the agreement,
  • methods of mediation and appeal in the event of a dispute.

Information on means of payment

An agreement must also contain precise information on the means of payment linked to an account, and in particular on:

  • whether or not a cheque book is provided,
  • obligations with respect to security and protection pertaining to means of payment,
  • procedures in the event of poorly executed transactions,
  • procedures in the event of payment issues,
  • spending limits provided for each mean of payment,
  • fees, applicable interest rates and exchange rates,

Information on overdraft management

The agreement refers to the consequences of an overdrawn account, specifying:

  • the terms of any potential authorised overdraft (terms of use, charges),
  • the consequences of being overdrawn without authorisation, conditions in which the account holder is informed of the fact as well as the applicable rate,
  • the possibility of an account being blocked or of means of payment being returned,
  • the bank potentially withdrawing amounts available on other accounts managed by the same bank (savings accounts, for example) to cover the overdraft.