If you're planning to reside in Sweden, then opening a Swedish bank account is the first thing you should do.
Sweden is a popular expat destination, because to its strong job market and welcoming attitude. Sweden has a bustling expat community, whether you're starting a new profession, furthering your education, or simply visiting.
With an English-speaking population of 89 percent, the procedure of opening a bank account in Sweden should be rather simple.
For non-Swedish or non-English speaking guests, many financial facilities provide translators. Because the country is rapidly becoming a cashless culture, it is crucial that you open a bank account in the country as soon as feasible for your comfort and convenience.
Banking System In Sweden
A bankkonto is the Swedish term for a deposit and withdrawal account. For free money transfers between other Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) accounts, a bankkonto comes with an International Bank Account Number (IBAN).
Not all accounts are set up for online banking automatically. You'll need something called a BankID for that (more on that in a bit).
While opening an account is free, most Swedish banks charge roughly €20 per year to "maintain" it. Do you already have a SEPA account in another country? Because most employers will only transfer your salary to a Swedish bank account, you need open one there as well.
What Documents do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Sweden?
The process of opening a bank account varies depending on how long you plan to stay in Sweden and can be rather difficult.
In Sweden, cash is rarely used, and checks are completely defunct. It is highly recommended that you make the bank one of your first stops when you arrive.
If you plan to stay in the nation for less than three months, some policies may limit your bank account access, such as denying you access to a debit card.
Having all of the following documentation on hand is your best bet:
- Swedish national ID, or EU passport, or non-EU passport with Swedish residence permit
- Personnummer (personal identity number)
- Proof of address (utility bill or rental contract)
- Proof of employment or school enrollment
While a personnummer is not required to open an account, it is required for many banking operations, such as signing up for BankID and Swish.
To apply for a personnummer, you must first register with the Swedish Population Register, which is administered by Skatteverket, the Swedish tax authority. There is no online application option, thus you must apply in person. Registration will necessitate the following:
- A valid passport
- A Swedish residence permit (unless you have a family member that is an EU/EEA citizen)
- Proof of your Swedish address
Who is Eligible to Open a Bank Account in Sweden
You can legally open a bank account in Sweden if you're 18 or older, have an EU passport, and live in Sweden. Non-EU citizens will also require a residency permit.
Keep in mind that these are the bare minimums. Most banks will also want your Swedish personal identification number (personnummer), which you can obtain from Skatteverket, as well as proof of work or study.
Finally, you'll require a BankID, which grants you access to online banking as well as mobile payments using Swish, Sweden's mobile payment app. This BankID can be obtained at any physical branch of a bank.
Best Banks in Sweden for Residents, Non-Residents (Foreigners), Expats
Sweden has a sophisticated banking system, and while things may appear complicated at first, the people are friendly and have experience working with expats, so you should be able to complete the process quickly.
There are four major banks in the country, each with a vast network of branches and ATMs. They occasionally collaborate to save you money on fees. Nordea Bank, SEB, Handelsbanken, and Swedbank are the following banks:
They have all the basic financial products, such as personal accounts, savings accounts, personal and business insurance, and a selection of debit and credit cards, with 35 branches and over 110 ATMs. Only available in Swedish.
They have around 20 locations in Sweden and a large ATM network of over 230.
They have a well-designed mobile banking app, bank accounts for all personal and business purposes, and an English-language phone service line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Only available in Swedish.
Handelsbanken is a viable option with over 450 branches and ATM locations across the country and a wide range of account options including current, savings, and business accounts. Only available in Swedish.
Swedbank's network is extensive, with 3000 ATMs and 300 cash deposit machines, which might be a deciding factor when opening an account.
If you don't speak English, they can provide translators in your native language, as well as a number of account, card, and service alternatives such as insurance, mortgages, and financing.
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How to Open a Bank Account in Sweden
Although it may seem counterintuitive in other countries, opening a bank account in Sweden at a branch is the quickest and easiest way to do it.
Only two of Sweden's four major banks provide internet services in other languages. You'll also need your BankID to open an online account.
Fortunately, the majority of bank employees are fluent in English.
You can also open an account with a mobile bank from the comfort of your own home. All you need is your passport and evidence of residency to complete the process online.
You're done once you've downloaded an app, submitted your documents, and verified your ID. During the winter solstice, you may complete it in the time it takes for the sun to rise and set.
If you open an account with a mobile bank, keep in mind that you'll eventually need a BankID to use Swish mobile payments and other important features like signing papers online.
You'll need to go to a bank's physical branch to do this.
Steps to Open a Bank Account in Sweden
- Identify and print the documents required by your bank.
- Make an appointment and bring your documents to a local bank branch.
- Answer some questions and verify your identity with the clerk.
- Wait for your confirmation, card, PIN, and other necessary documents to arrive by post.
- Activate your account and online banking with BankID.
Opening a Bank Account in Sweden Online
Most financial institutions will open an online account for you if you have an existing bank account with them.
However, there are only a few possibilities for getting started on your own that do not require the assistance of a banking person at some point.
Because of Sweden's technology improvements, every bank there now offers both online and mobile banking.
You can follow the steps below when opening a bank account in Sweden online;
- Confirm your phone number or email.
- Download your bank’s mobile app and select the type of account you want.
- Finish the registration process.
- Complete in-app ID verification .
- Create a PIN and wait for your card to arrive by mail, if included.
Opening a Bank Account in Sweden as a Foreigner (or Non-resident)
As a non-resident, you can open a bank account in Sweden, however it will be more challenging. If you're not a Swedish resident, do your homework and visit your preferred bank in person, armed with the necessary documentation. These are some of them:
- A valid passport
- A Swedish visa
- A residence permit
- A letter of acceptance from a university with information of duration of the studies or an employment contract
- Details of your Swedish address
Although you're unlikely to have access to online banking this way, having a bank account will at the very least make getting about the country easier.
Before you can get a Swedish debit card, you'll probably have to wait three months of established and consistent income. Until then, you'll have to withdraw money from a bank teller directly.
Opening a Bank Account in Sweden from Abroad
Opening a bank account in Sweden is subject to highly tight regulations. Many banks do not allow you to open an account online due to anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws.
When many banks now offer a Mobile BankingID, which is an e-identification for smartphones and tablets that can be used for online and mobile banking, including while traveling, you'll still need to open a bank account in person.
How Long Does it Take to Open a Bank Account in Sweden?
Though you don't need an appointment to open a bank account in Sweden, banks in the country are normally open from 10:00 to 15:00, so plan ahead to complete the process of opening a bank account in Sweden in one day.
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Sweden is becoming an expat hotspot at an exponential rate, thanks to a flourishing job market and an open-minded English-speaking population.
With some of the world's most livable cities and the strongest social safety net, it's no surprise that opening a bank account in Sweden is a relatively simple process, but one that necessitates the presentation of a number of paperwork.