Debit cards 101: get a student debit card right now!

You’ve already chosen to study in the Netherlands because of the great reasons to do so. You’re also a newly-made genius (sort of) when it comes to housing allowance, health insurance allowance, and all the other things related to living costs and student finance. One more thing won’t kill you; debit cards. However, finding out all this new information can make your head spin; we know ours sometimes do. That’s why we are here to help you will all things bank-related, in this case all about debit cards. Maybe you have one already and are looking for a sweet new deal in Holland, or you’ve never owned one before. Don’t worry, we cater to all needs! We have all the basics you need to know about debit cards and the best place to get one, right here.

What’s the difference between credit cards and debit cards?

Both debit and credit cards are those little plastic things that you put in your wallet. But, sarcasm aside, debit cards differ from credit cards in that you can only spend as much money as you have in your account at that moment. If you’ve loaded €100 into your account, you can only withdraw or use €100 or less of your money. Debit cards don’t increase your debt like credit cards.

In short, you’re spending your own money with debit rather than borrowing money with credit.

Image of debit cards for students

Tell me, how do I use one?

You can use debit cards at mostly any place you would use the old credit card. That includes restaurants and stores. Sometimes, you will be asked if you want to use debit or credit. You simply swipe your card, put in your PIN, and you’re done! Moreover, most online stores allow you to use debit cards as well. You just punch in your card number and additional information and voila, you have purchased something online. Just remember to make sure the platform you are paying on is safe….you don’t want your information to be stolen!

What’s more, you can easily use a debit card to take out cash at a cash machine. Of course, different machines accept different banks or types of debit cards (like Visa or MasterCard), so best to always check that out before you insert your card!

Debit cards are great if you are on a mission to become better at budgeting. Other than your handy budgeting journal, with a debit card you have a limit that you have to be able to manage. Basically, a debit card isn’t as flexible as a credit card; you spend what you have.

Bunq, an innovative way of banking

A first option that you should definitely consider when looking into acquiring a debit card, is Bunq. They offer both credit and debit cards, a multitude of possibilities ranging from sharing accounts with your roommates to opening up to ten separate accounts and more! And all of this, through your smartphone. Read more about Bunq and its features in our article “bunq, what’s that? Easy banking explained to you”.

Student debit cards at ABN AMRO

A great place to get a debit card as a student is at ABN AMRO. They have a special package exclusively for international students coming to study in the Netherlands (don’t you feel special). With the ABN AMRO International Student Package, you can get an account and a debit card, as well as day-to-day national and international banking and internet banking. For free, you can also get an Internet Savings Account and an Internet Quarterly Savings Account. This is great since this package is paperless, meaning that all your statements come to you by email or though internet banking, which means you can access and manage your account online. Plus, you are also able to apply for insurances like for your household, accidents, and even health insurance! This is all available to foreign, non-Dutch students between the ages of 18 and 30.

Image of using debit cards online

Prepaid debit cards are also a thing

Then, there’s such a thing as prepaid debit cards for students. Yes, the gist of it is sort of similar to prepaid phones; you load money onto a card, which is then used similar to a normal debit card. So, it’s a reloadable debit card or sorts. To do this, you might either do it when you buy the card, or maybe thereafter. With certain pre-paid cards, you can load more money on to it over and over again, not just once. Like debit cards, you can only spend the money you have loaded on your card; just like a pre-paid phone.

But why use a prepaid card? Well, they are a good alternative because you don’t need credit; a lot of students haven’t had the chance to build up their credit, so they cant qualify for a credit card. However, using a debit card is the same deal; you don’t need credit, and you have a bank account you can access as easy as pie whenever you need it. Useful, right?


Simple, wouldn’t you say? Debit cards are great if you are using your own bank account for the first time, or just to manage your money faster and easier. With the Student Package, you are sure to get the best deal and the best rewards. What are you waiting for? Go out there and get yourself a debit card!

What are your experiences with debit cards? Leave a comment!