There is no shortage of banks to choose from in Belgium. You are therefore sure to find a bank that will suit you – it might even be a branch of your current bank in your home country.
To open a current account (compte à vue/zichtrekening), you need either an ID card (if you are an EU citizen) or a passport as proof of identity and also proof of your address in Belgium (Belgian residence permit or Annexe 15 document issued by the town hall) or in your home country.. Once the account has been opened the bank will send you a Bancontact/Mister Cash debit card, or arrange for you to pick it up. A PIN number will be given or sent to you separately.
If you want to open a savings account (compte d’épargne/spaarrekening) or obtain credit cards, the bank will be able to advise you on the different options.
Belgium’s sophisticated banking system also provides for truly online banks, where you can open and manage your account without ever having to go to a bank. In some cases, these banks offer zero fees for basic online banking services; if you do ever need to use in-branch services, however, the fees can add up so it's important to weigh up the costs.
Online banks allow you to open a bank account prior to moving to Belgium, but other banks are increasingly offering these services too, so ask your chosen bank or your local Euraxess Service Centre what's possible.