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Cash and ATMs in Belgium: Fees, limits, exchange & all you need when visiting Belgium

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Belgium, a charming country in the heart of Europe, is known for its medieval towns, Renaissance architecture, and as the headquarters of the European Union. From the picturesque canals of Bruges to the bustling streets of Brussels, Belgium offers a rich cultural experience. Navigating the financial landscape is crucial for a smooth trip, so it’s important to understand the local currency and cash, ATMs in Belgium, and accepted payment options to enjoy all that Belgium has to offer without any monetary concerns.

Cash or card?

Card is widely accepted. Foreigners use cards for the majority of transactions, with an estimated 70-80% being cashless.

Cash in Belgium for: Tips and gratuities in many places, Street food vendors, Local markets and bazaars, Small purchases, Public buses

Card for:

Spas
Good looking coffee shops
Tailoring services
Many hostels and budget hotels
Many tour operators
Shopping in malls and branded stores
Food from local restaurants, even some sit-down restaurants
Upmarket hotels
Local trains
Street shopping
Entry fees for major tourist attractions and theme parks
Expensive tour operators
Car rentals
Local taxis
Fancy sit-down restaurants
Online bookings for hotels, flights, and tours
Professional pre-paid taxi booking services

So where to get cash in Belgium?

ATMs, or
Currency exchange, or
Money Transfer & local pick-up

Find ATMs in Belgium at?

Belgium is home to more than 5,500 ATMs, mainly thanks to Bancontact’s network, and you’ll find them in both cities and small towns. However, they are in action in remote areas.

You can usually find ATMs at major transport hubs, central markets, busy tourist streets, malls, and near banks.

You will struggle to find them at small airports, regional bus stops, or in the quieter parts of villages.

Popular banks with ATMs

Bancontact (a network of ATMs owned by 4 Belgium banks)
KBC
Argenta
Belfius
Beobank
ING
There are other banks with ATMs that also accept international debit and credit cards.

Where to find currency exchanges?

For exchanging cash in Belgium, consider these options:

Authorised currency exchange centres: Look for these in tourist spots, identifiable by their currency exchange branding. Verify their legitimacy by asking for their authorisation certificate and if they require identification. Forex Bank is a popular choice, among others.
Hotels and airports: While these locations offer currency exchange, their rates are often not the best. Some larger hotels may have rates similar to banks.

Tips

Avoid airport exchanges for better rates.
Beware of the black market to prevent scams.
Use new notes for better rates or lower fees.

Accepted currencies
Belgium mainly accepts its local currency Euros (EUR or €). Note denominations are € 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500. Other currencies are not usually accepted.
US Dollar: Some resorts, hotels and local shops that quote prices in US Dollar. But if you pay in US Dollar and not in Euro, exchange rate in these payments will be poor. So pay in Euro unless you like losing a lot of money!
Pound: Not accepted

Know the ATMs in Belgium

Foreign debit and credit cards usage

Indeed, Belgium’s ATMs are receptive to cards from overseas.

Types of cards at ATMs

ATMs in Belgium will mainly accept Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Maestro and Amex cards. Don’t expect all ATMs to accept Plus, JCB, UnionPay, Diners, Discover or RuPay cards.

Types of cards to swipe

When it comes to swiping your card, establishments primarily accept Visa and Mastercard. Amex and various other cards might be accepted at a fewer number of venues.

Opening hours

You can generally access ATMs any time – they’re open all day, every day. While standalone ATMs offer unrestricted access, some within bank premises are accessible from 9 am to 3 pm only.

Workings and functionalities of the ATMs

Belgium’s ATMs are certainly state-of-the-art, mirroring the ones you’d find in the US, UK, Europe, and beyond. Be mindful to collect your card after use, as it may be fully inserted during the transaction process.

ATM names

Word Cashpoint or Bancontact is widely used or ATM has signage has bank name with or without the word ATM. Cash Point / Bancontact is a shared ATM network owned by 4 banks – Belfius, ING, KBC and BNP Paribas Fortis

PIN type

ATMs in Belgium primarily accept 4-digit PINs. There may be some ATMs that accept longer PINs, but the majority are configured for 4 digits.

Also, many merchants used old machines which require a magnetic stripe on the card and not just a chip-and-pin card.

Language options

In Belgium, ATMs usually offer English and Dutch, with additional options like French, German, and Spanish. If these languages are unfamiliar, live translating the screen with Google Translate can help, though it’s wise to take it slowly to ensure accuracy.

Know the foreign exchanges in Belgium

Foreign debit and credit cards usage

Currency exchanges prefer hard cash for exchange. Visa is accepted at many places, mastercard next. Please be mindful of the fees you will pay if you use your card at a currency exchange.

Opening hours

Cash is the favored medium at currency exchange centers. Visa cards are usually more widely accepted, with Mastercard being the second choice. Be conscious of any extra charges when paying with a card.

Languages to interact in

Staff at currency exchanges in Belgium can usually interact in English and Dutch.

Exchange names

Currency exchange establishments can be recognized by various names: ‘Currency Exchange’, ‘Forex’, ‘Foreign Exchange’, or ‘Money Exchange’.

ATM withdrawal limit and ATM Fees

Withdrawal limit: ATMs typically restrict the withdrawal per transaction from 625 Euros to 650 Euros. Some ATMs allow to withdraw upto 2,000 Euros per transaction

ATM fees: Bank based ATMs in Belgium do not charge any ATM Fees. Decline conversion to avoid additional currency conversion fees also.

Ways to avoid high fees

Use fee-free ATMs in the country.
Use the ATM Fee Saver app to find fee-free or low-fee ATMs.
Opt for “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion” during ATM transactions.
Consider getting fee-free cards from your home country.
For more in-depth insights and alternative methods, check out our detailed article, Withdrawing cash abroad? 9 best ways to save foreign ATM fees.
Avoid no-fee exchange offices at all costs to get money in Belgium – If they say no fee, which means they account for their fee in the exchange rate. Nothing is ever free in currency exchanges
Avoid using credit and debit cards for direct transactions

Ways to find fee-free ATMs

Locate ATMs without fees in Belgium, along with currency exchange and money transfer options, via the ATM Fee Saver’s mobile and web app. It shows fee information for ATMs across Belgium for those with foreign cards and includes withdrawal limits. Additionally, calculate the exact fees for withdrawals in Belgium with its easy-to-use calculator. After choosing an ATM, the app navigates you to your destination and offers details for 50 countries, Belgium among them.

Cash in Belgium and safety

Carrying cash

Belgium experiences rare instances of mugging, threats, or robberies, so carrying cash is usually safe. However, take these precautions:

Avoid withdrawing large amounts in busy areas.
Don’t carry too much cash on extended trips or when walking through isolated areas.
Withdraw cash close to when you need it from an ATM with low or no fees.
Remember these safety tips:

Spread your cash across different wallets or pockets.
Use money belts or security pouches for safekeeping.
Don’t display your cash openly.
Keep your wallet or bag with you, especially when dining alone.
Store your wallet in your front pocket.
In crowded or tourist spots, keep your backpack in front and secure your belongings.

Safety at ATMs & currency exchanges

ATMs in Belgium are generally secure, with surveillance cameras and security personnel. The likelihood of ATM-related crime is low. To enhance your security, use ATMs within bank premises, regularly review your card transactions, steer clear of public Wi-Fi for banking transactions, ensure your credit card is always visible during transactions, and have a spare card for emergencies. For additional safety advice, explore our articles on ATM precautions while traveling abroad.

FAQs

Fee-free ATMs and possible to withdraw cash in Belgium free of cost?

Yes, there are many banks that do not charge any fees to foreign card holders. They are popular and have many ATMs across the country. Use ATM Fee Saver to find those free ATMs. Of course, there might be fees from your bank and also from the ATM if you “accept conversion” offered by that ATM. So hit “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion” when the ATM offers you that option, and you will have no extra fees, from the ATM’s side.

Foreign cards from US, UK, India, China, Europe accepted?

Absolutely yes! You can usually use cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries at ATMs in Belgium

Bitcoin ATMs

Yes, there are around 10 Bitcoin ATMs in Belgium.

Foreign banks’s presence in Belgium

Bank of America: No, there are no Bank of America ATMs in Belgium.
Citibank: Yes, there are about 5 Citibank ATMs in Belgium.
Barclays: No
HSBC: No, there are no HSBC ATMs in Belgium.
Standard Chartered: Nope

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