Netherlands - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing
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Methods of Payment

The most common methods of payment for trade and project financing are as follows:

  • Open Account:  The exporter sends an invoice to the importer and trusts them to pay as instructed. This is the most common method of payment in the Netherlands.
  • Payment on Delivery:  This method is also quite common where payment is made 30, 60, or 90 days from the date of the invoice.
  • Documentary Collections:  The exporter, upon shipment, presents the relevant documents to his or her bank. This bank then sends the documents to the importer’s bank, which contacts the importer. In order to receive the documents representing the goods, the importer initiates payment. Both parties are assured of the other’s performance under satisfactory terms.
  • Letters of Credit:  The exporter is paid for the goods shipped or services rendered only upon presenting documents that have been pre-described in a Letter of Credit. Upon issuing a Letter of Credit, the importer’s bank acts as guarantor for payment. Payment under a Letter of Credit depends on the documents presented at the bank and not on the quality of the goods delivered or the services rendered.
  • Bank Guarantees:  A bank guarantee (also known as a bond) obligates the bank to pay a sum of money if the applicant fails to fulfill his/her obligations. The beneficiary may claim the guarantee by presenting copies of unpaid invoices and or other documents relating to the transaction. There are many kinds of guarantees including advance payment guarantees, performance bonds, or maintenance bonds.

For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide

The credit rating agencies Dun & Bradstreet and Graydon have local offices in the Netherlands.

There are numerous collection agencies in the Netherlands. Please contact the U.S. Commercial Service in the Netherlands for a list.

The primary credit cards used in the Netherlands are Mastercard, VISA, and American Express.

Banking Systems

Banking and financing are important service industries in the Netherlands, providing funds for international and domestic trade. Three Dutch bank conglomerates, ABN AMRO, Rabobank, and ING Bank, dominate the Dutch financial sector, accounting for about 75 percent of total lending. U.S. financial services providers in the Netherlands operate on a level legal field. The Finance Ministry and Central Bank grant full national treatment to foreign banks.

Dutch legislation implements all existing EU law and regulations on the provision of financial services. Banks organized in the Netherlands as branches of a U.S. parent do not benefit from the EU single banking passport and are subject to both U.S. and Dutch regulations.

Foreign financial service providers face no special conditions or restrictions and receive national treatment. However, one provision of the Dutch 1992 Banking Act does reflect the EU Banking Directive’s “reciprocity” provision. The Dutch Ministry of Finance has stated that this section has never been used, and that all applications from non-EU parent banks are handled on a national treatment basis. Banking facilities for international transactions available in the Netherlands generally meet or exceed U.S. standards.

Foreign Exchange Controls

There are no foreign exchange controls in the Netherlands.

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks

A list of American and other non-Dutch banks operating in the Netherlands can be found on the Foreign Bankers’ Association website.

EXIM Bank does not offer country specific or limiting programs for the Netherlands.

For additional information, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statements.