Alternative banking vs. the traditional way

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, and I'm feeling good!" - a quote to live by! Now, let's get back to some serious business because for this article, we compiled a list of alternative banking options vs. the traditional ones for you, which may be interesting for the new bunch of college students or the freshly graduated ones amongst you! We already touched upon this subject in the previous article, called "bunq, what's that? Easy banking for you" (why don't you give it a read if you haven't already!). In that article, we provided you with a breakdown of what bunq is and how it could benefit every student or young graduates. In this article, we will show you how well bunq performs compared to old-fashioned banking services AND its competitors so you can best manage your financial services.

You know the drill, keep on reading to find out more!

Alternative banking versus the old-fashioned way

The (old) big guys

In the Netherlands, in case you are new here, there are a bunch of established traditional banking services. Much like any other nation, these banking services could be considered the big guys, and have much to offer. However, they usually have much to offer to the more traditional individuals. For the daring and young-spirited ones out there, they might be a bit outdated, and thus you might want to try alternative finance. But do not worry, there's something for everyone here in the Netherlands!


So this is our first big guy, ABN-AMRO. In general, it is pretty straightforward. They will offer you what you need at a decent rate, no big surprises but also no crazy fancy features. For example, one account will cost you approx. 1.55 euro's per month, which comes with one card. If you would like to have up to five accounts including two cards, of which one can be credit, you will pay a monthly fee of 3.40 euro's. Pretty decent, and pretty budget-friendly. However, the one downfall is that you need an annoying hardware terminal in order for you to use iDeal. Could be better if you're asking me!


So, our second big guy, ING, is the well-known orange lion of the Dutch. Very present in the Netherlands, and basically a household name. Again, you cannot really go wrong with this one, since there's not that many crazy features to begin with. You can do your normal transfers through your banking app or on your web browser, you can use iDeal and you can easily transfer from one bank account to another.

This one is also a very trusted banking service, which is pretty straightforward as well and no big surprises. And the one big plus for this one is, your first account is completely free! Of course, you still need a BSN, so do not forget to do all your paperwork at the Stadhuis first!


So here's our last big guy, Rabobank. Much like its predecessors, it is quite similar in its services. However, compared to ABN-AMRO, this one offers you the possibility to pay on iDeal through a similar QR-code situation, so it should eliminate the annoying hardware terminal. Concerning its rates, given that they are an internet bank, they do not add any fees for opening up an account. However, you are limited to one savings account per person, and combined with another person, you could potentially have up to three accounts.

Concerning the banking app on your phone, again this one offers the classic options but will not allow you to have big shared accounts like for example bunq will. You are quite limited in the amount of accounts you can have and you can only combine with one more person, as mentioned earlier!

woman thinking about alternative banking

Alternative banking all the way

Now, if you do not seem attracted to the three big guys we just mentioned before, do not worry, there's an alternative to everything! For those who want the convenience of not having to leave their house in order to create and maintain their accounts, at the tip of their fingers, then keep on reading!


In order to keep it short and clear, bunq is very much one of the easiest alternative banking solutions to date. An overview of its benefits and services can be found in our detailed article on easy banking. Some highlighted features which will distinguish bunq from the rest are its capacity to open up shared accounts with as many people as you want, E-VE-RY-THING can be done through the mobile app and the fact that it has some of the greatest ethics out there!


Very similar to bunq, N-26 is also an internet-based, alternative banking service. No bureaucratic steps nor offices, not a billion people you have to talk to, just the app. They carry both Maestro and Mastercard, and have networks working all over the globe. They also offer very secure safety features such as face recognition (for the phones who support it) and touch ID. Moreover, they allow you to change your daily withdrawal limits and other limits all through the app. However, their biggest shortcoming (unlike bunq) is the fact that they do not mesh with iDeal, which could be rather inconvenient in the Netherlands.

So, what's next?

Well, after reading all these options, it's now time for YOU to decide where you trust to leave your money! Do you trust the old guys more, or are you ready to take a new step into the direction of innovation and technology? Whatever you decide, let yourself be inspired by this article, but make sure to do your own extensive research as well! And for all the new students, good luck with prepping for the new college season, it's going to be a wild one!

You're done reading this article and you can't get enough of College Life? Then make sure to hit up our magazine and especially our deals page if you want to easily set up your first Dutch bank account! 

Guy in a red shirt enjoying easy banking by bunqImage of man filing for income taxes belastingaangifte