New in August: banks increase interest rates, Antwerp tightens parking policy

The major Belgian banks BNP Paribas Fortis, KBC and ING are raising interest rates on savings accounts on 1 August. At Fortis, the base rate and loyalty premium rise to 0.25 per cent each, while those at KBC and Beobank rise to 0.90 per cent. ING has increased its rate to 0.45 per cent, while its loyalty premium rises to 1.05 per cent.

Big banks in Belgium are under pressure to raise interest rates. They are lagging behind several smaller banks that already offer over 2 per cent interest on savings accounts without additional conditions.

Stricter parking in Antwerp

People who plan to travel to Antwerp by car will have to keep new parking rules in mind. Most visitors will not be able to park in the city centre, roughly between the Leien and Scheldt quays. That zone will be reserved for residents and permit holders, like caregivers, business owners and people with disabilities.

The aim of the new policy is meant to steer tourists towards the parking buildings and underground car parks, which should make the heart of the city more livable. According to Mobility alderman Koen Kennis, a third of the street's parking spaces are currently occupied by visitors, creating excessive parking pressure.

Health insurance to reimburse more lenses

Lastly, more eyeglass lenses will be eligible for health insurance reimbursement: for the age group 18-65, lenses 7.00 and stronger will now be reimbursed. On an annual basis, 10,000 more people will receive money back.

"Anyone who needs glasses should be able to afford them," said Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke. "Next year the threshold must be lowered further. Everyone deserves to see clearly."


#FlandersNewsService | Cars parked in Antwerp. © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

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