Cost of living

Belgium-flag-140Cost of living is quite high in Belgium. Some average example prices can be found here

Expenses in Belgium: Banking & money

All prices you see in Belgium already include VAT and service. Since Belgium taxes are quite high, cost of living is highly impacted.

If you are travelling to Belgium, it is good to bring at least a few Euros with you to use until you can get to a cash machine. Traveller’s Cheques used to be popular, however many places don’t accept them anymore. Take your credit and/or debit card with you for purchases and cash.

Credit cards are widely used and accepted in Belgium, VISA is the most popular card, but MasterCard will also be accepted in most outlets. American Express and Diners Club are not as widely accepted.

For the tourist, debit cards should be enabled on the Maestro or Cirrus network in order for you to be able to use these in Belgium. Proton, Bancontact and Mister Cash are Belgium’s three debit networks, but these are only available to you if you hold a Belgian bank account.

On Mondays to Fridays the majority of the banks are open from 9am to 12pm and after a break, open again from 2pm to 4pm. Some banks are also open on Saturdays for a few hours in the morning and some have one day a week were they have late opening after 4pm.

Belgium has the largest number of bank branches per head in the world. Furthermore, electronic banking has become quite common within recent years. It is possible to complete most banking transactions using an ATM or online banking application. You can even find banks which only operate online. Major Belgian Retail Banks are:

  • BNP Paribas Fortis
  • KBC Groep
  • Dexia (in French & Dutch)
  • Citibank Belgium
  • ING
  • AXA Bank Belgium (in French & Dutch)
  • Argenta (in French & Dutch)

You will need your passport or identity card and a home address in Belgium in order to open a bank account. Furthermore, if you are a student from abroad, a bank may ask for a copy of the letter you received when registering at the Foreigner’s Registration Office of Belgium.

Travelling costs

Most of the time all travel expenses will need to be paid by the intern him-/herself.

Do you want to learn more about business culture in Belgium?