If you're living in working in Belgium, having a local bank account will make managing your finances a lot easier. Think about it: if you didn't have a local account, how and where will you cash in your check? You can't exactly use it to pay for food and other necessities, not to mention you won't be able to use it for credit either. Furthermore, it can't be helped that since you're from another country, you'll be transferring money back home. A local bank account can help you do that without a hitch and even avoid a few pricey fees along the way.
On the question as to whether foreigners can open a bank account in Belgium, the answer is actually yes. You don't need to be a citizen or legal resident of the country to be able to set up your own account in a local bank. In fact, you're even allowed to open said account from overseas. Since most, if not all banks have their own respective online platforms nowadays, it's become possible to set up a bank account from anywhere in the world. Many would even suggest doing it so that the moment you finally land in Belgium, you can already use your account here.
As for the documents you need to jumpstart the application process, you'll only need to show both your proof of your identity and proof of address. And it's the same for actually going to a local Belgian bank yourself to opening the account online. For the first document, proof of identity, banks will usually ask for your valid passport or any government ID that shows your personal details and signature. For the latter, proof of address, you can simply submit your rental lease or even a utility bill that shows your address. For some Belgian banks, they'll also ask for your residency permit if you're opening a resent account.
Belgian banks take pride in the fact that online banking has become the norm here in the country. Practically all banks operating here, be it local or international, have their own digital platforms to make mobile banking a standard option. In order to access them, you'll only have to visit the bank's official website or perhaps it has its own app that you can download and use on your phone. More often than not, you're better off doing most transactions online. It saves you a lot of time and effort and it is practically the norm here in Belgium anyways.
Belgium was actually one of the first few countries that started to rely heavily on credit. Now, most of the normal transactions here are done with credit, making it another huge reason as to why you need a local bank account. You won't be able to get your own credit card here if you don't have a local account in the country. Sure, you might still be able to use one that you got from your home country, but you won't be able to pay for it with the money you earn here locally. At least, with your own account here, you can easily pay for your credit card.
Now, which banks should you go for here in Belgium? It's better to start looking through international banks in Belgium, most especially ones with branches in your own home country. Such likely candidates include HSBC, Citibank, Santander, and more. As for the local ones, ING Bank has a ton of branches throughout the country. There's a good chance there will be one near you no matter which part of Belgium you end up in. BNP Paribas Fortis, on the other hand, operates in many languages (including English) and is known to have low fees when it comes to their baking services.
Never forget to set up your own local bank account when you move to Belgium. You may think you don't need it now, but they do things differently here in this country, including how to properly handle your finances.
Once you've set up your account, you can easily invest in a Belgian luxury place for your new home here! And with a local account, you can easily stay on top of paying for it!