Information for participants


For the fourth time, the National Bank of Belgium is organising a survey on household finances and spending patterns.

More than 10,000 households have been selected at random. Some of them will be invited to take part in the survey in 2020.

This survey is the Belgian arm of a European project, it is based on the use of a questionnaire which is partly the same as that used in most other euro area countries. The questions cover different themes relating to household finances, such as borrowing, savings or consumption patterns.

The participation of the households is a fundamental part of this process. Without their collaboration, this study would not be possible. The NBB thanks deeply all those households who will accept to reply to this survey, contributing to a better knowledge of the Belgian economy and the impact of economic policies on families.

COVID-19 update: The process of contacting and interviewing households will ensure the well-being of both the interviewer and the household members.


This survey of household finances and spending patterns is a matter of general interest and concerns the entire population. The aim is to collect information on the diversity of financial situations that households may face.

Financial behaviour does actually vary considerably with age, income, family status, etc. Yet the statistics that are currently available only give a very general picture of household finance patterns, based on national averages. 

The results of this analysis are intended to give a full and balanced overview of the financial health of households, in order to gain a better understanding of the many different factors that affect the day-to-day life of every citizen. These data can also be used for making comparisons on a European scale.

COVID-19: This year, the entire Belgian population has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis (lockdown constraints). Understanding to what extent households have suffered from this unprecedented situation and how they have changed their behaviour to cope with it is of crucial importance. By taking part in this survey, households will help experts and researchers to better advise the community. 

Interview procedure

Comment reconnaître nos enquêteurs? Enquête HCFS

Ipsos, the market research bureau appointed by the NBB for the survey, sends one of its representatives round to your home to make an appointment at your convenience.

This person identifies herself or himself with the documents, as set out in the leaflet that you have received. He/she reads out each question before recording your replies on a portable computer.

Your participation is rewarded.

COVID-19 update: The process of contacting and interviewing households will ensure the well-being of both the interviewer and the household members.

Households taking part will receive a small reward, which, if they choose, can be donated to one of these five NGOs: Amnesty International, Belgische Vereniging voor Strijd Tegen Muvoviscidose, Handicap International, Oxfam and Plan International.

Thanks to households’ generosity, the NBB gave € 13 510 to these organisations on their behalf in 2017.

Privacy protection

Taking this survey is entirely voluntary. Should you not wish to take part, this will have no impact whatsoever on the members of your household.

Besides your name, age, gender and possibly your e-mail address, the personal information collected via the questionnaire predominantly involves data of a financial nature. You will only be asked for your name and e-mail address for the purposes of conducting this survey or, subject to your agreement, future surveys. Any other details that may be requested are processed exclusively on an anonymous basis and therefore cannot be traced back to you personally. Anonymised data may then be sent on to the European Central Bank and scientific researchers.

The NBB is responsible for processing personal data and this is grounded in Article 6.1, (e), of the General Data Protection Regulation. Statbel (the Belgian Statistical Bureau) and Ipsos have been respectively appointed as trusted third person and as subcontractor for the NBB. As part of the survey, Statbel has permission to receive from the National Register the address of potential survey participants and to pass on this information to Ipsos for the purpose of conducting the survey.

Non-anonymised personal data that are processed as part of the survey are solely accessible on a need-to-know basis for certain Statbel staff members, for survey interviewers and for certain NBB staff who are in charge of the survey. These personal data are deleted by Ipsos after one year and by Statbel and the NBB after seven years.

In as far as the conditions laid down in the applicable legislation and regulations are met, you are entitled to: (1) access your personal data and, if need be, rectify them; (2) object to processing on grounds relating to your particular situation; (3) obtain the erasure of your personal data or the restriction of their processing; (4) receive any personal data concerning you in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format, and to transmit those data to another controller; (5) lodge a complaint with the Gegevensbeschermingsautoriteit/Autorité de protection des données if you consider that processing your personal data infringes the applicable legislation.

Those concerned may exercise the rights mentioned under points (1) to (4) by submitting a dated and signed request, together with a copy of their identity card, either in person at the NBB’s reception or by post to the National Bank of Belgium, Data Protection Officer, Boulevard de Berlaimont 14, 1000 Brussels. The request can also be sent by e-mail with a digital signature to

Contact points

For any additional information about this survey, please do not hesitate to contact Ipsos, the firm in charge of the interviews:
tel: 0800/15602

For additional information on how the data are analysed and the contribution of this survey to our knowledge of the Belgian economy, you may contact the National Bank of Belgium:

Tel: 02 221 44 66