I know of the question Bank account number and account holder in check exposed? , but the answers to it are quite US-specific (checks and such) and I live in the Netherlands.

Dutch banks are introducing Contactless payment on a wide scale; all customers of my bank (ABN Amro) will receive new cards with this ability in 2015. An opt-out is not possible, but on request a radiowave-blocking card holder is available.

The accompanying leaflet explains that it is possible for people with the right equipment to read out the account number from the card from close range, but that that is not in itself dangerous.

According to the linked Wikipedia page, in the US "the major network guidelines do not allow a contactless card to contain the cardholder's actual name, instead a placeholder name is used". In my case I don't know if my name can be found electronically, but it is clearly printed on the card and the attacker is standing at close range...

My gut feeling is that a bank account number should be more or less like an address and therefore doesn't need to be terribly secret, but are there any real risks involved if my name and account number do become known to criminals?

  • With the introduction of IBAN, this question can probably be broadened to all European countries.
    – Lekensteyn
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 9:54
  • I think it's good to also mention that Dutch banks will, in case of fraud, pay the money back. There is a maximum charge of 50 euro that can be withdrawn from your bankaccount when using contactless payments, if I'm not mistaken.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 10:39

1 Answer 1


In Europe the common way to send money is by giving the International Bank Account Number and the Bank Identifier Code, so no problems there.

If your name is available, they might find your address if it's publicly available, e.g. on social networks, blogs... The only risk here, is if they find the email related to your account you can get spear-phishing emails, most of them will end up as spam. And as long as you don't click on anything weird nothing will happen.

As long as they don't have your credentials, the login and password and PIN code, and the two-factor authentication Code (single-use code for online transactions if you're using online services) you are safe.

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