Dutch banks are investigating whether a basic bank account can be created for companies that have previously been refused a business bank account. A basic bank account has existed since 2001 and is intended for people who cannot open a regular bank account.
In 2021, research by KRO-NCRV program Pointer showed that sex workers and proprietors cannot get a mortgage or business account from virtually any Dutch bank. Banks are afraid that they will then facilitate exploitation and human trafficking. The program looked at the acceptance criteria and conditions of fourteen banks.
Professional groups that receive a lot of cash payments can rarely indicate where the money comes from and are therefore refused by a bank. De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) previously calculated that in 2021 banks refused a customer 2700 times.
What is a basic bank account?
People who cannot open a regular checking account can get a basic bank account. Banks and aid agencies agreed in 2001 that anyone in the Netherlands over the age of 18 with a known address should be able to open a payment account. This prevents people from being socially excluded. The same payments can be made with a basic account as with a regular checking account. People with a basic bank account cannot be overdrawn, use a credit card or open a savings account.
The Dutch Banking Association (NVB) expects to have a first proposal ready in July in collaboration with the Dutch Payments Association. Customers who have been involved in financial crime or have been used for money laundering are not eligible for a basic account.
- Research: sex workers can hardly go to banks