How to Open a Swedish Bank Account
Sweden is a cash-free society, and any credit or debit cards are accepted as long as it is VISA or Mastercard (American Express is accepted in some stores). If you are planning to stay in Sweden for a longer time or moved to Sweden for work, it might be best to open a Swedish bank account.
Opening a bank account in Sweden will not only save you more on international fees and exchange rates, but it will also allow you to receive your salary from your employer & make your life easier when paying bills in Sweden.
When you moved to Sweden, the first thing you need to do is apply for a Swedish personal number especially if you are planning to stay (or if you have the right to stay) in Sweden for at least 12 months. Then you should also get a Swedish ID card.
After that, you can open a Swedish bank account.
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How to open a Swedish bank account
If you are an EU/EEA citizen, or a non-EU citizen with a valid residence permit/work permit in Sweden, you have the right to open a bank account in Sweden.
Even if you are a dependent of a work permit/student visa holder, you still have the right to open a bank account.
Opening a Swedish bank account should be easy, but this depends on the bank and branch you go to.
When you open a bank account in Sweden, you need to have
- Swedish personal number (personnummer)
- Swedish ID
- A clear purpose of opening an account
Most banks in Sweden will need you to go to the branch to open an account. You need to book an appointment with the bank of your choice and you will have to fill out the application form.
You will get the bank’s decision within two weeks. If you are denied a bank account or are not happy with the response, you can refer to what we did when we were refused to open a bank account.
Banks in Sweden
There are a lot of banks to choose from when opening an account in Sweden. But, for this list, I will only mention the banks where you can also get a mobile BankID.
Nordea Bank, SEB, Handelsbanken, and Swedbank are the major banks in Sweden.
- ICA Banken
- Danske Bank
- Sparbanken Syd
My first Swedish bank account is Handelsbanken and I’m still with them. I was able to get a BankID too so I was able to open an account to other banks online.
What is a BankID in Sweden
A BankID in Sweden is used to securely identify yourself digitally. Since almost everything in Sweden is online, you can use your BankID to digitally sign your documents, pay online, pick up your package from a service point, or almost every transaction that you do online.
There are three types of BankIDs:
- BankID på kort (BankID on the card)
- BankID på fil (BankID on file)
- Mobile BankID
You need to have a card reader that is connected to your computer in order to use the BankID on the card. While Mobile BankID is an app that you download on your phone.
I only use Mobile BankID.
How to get a BankID
The basic requirements for getting a BankID are (1) you should have a bank account from one of the banks that issue a BankID and (2) you should have a Swedish personal number (personnummer).
Don’t have a personnummer yet?
A personnummer is a Swedish personal number that you get when you are registered as a resident in Sweden. If you don’t have one yet, check out my guide on how to get a Swedish personal number.
Not all banks in Sweden provide a BankID. The 10 banks I have listed above are the only banks where you can get a BankID.
The steps on getting a BankID depend on your bank. But, mostly you can order your Mobile BankID online by logging in to your bank account online.
Another useful app in Sweden is Swish. Swish is used to send or receive money to a mobile number & the money will arrive immediately.
I am a student/have a job. Can I open a bank account in Sweden without Personnummer?
When you don’t have a personnummer yet, you can still open a Swedish bank account. If you have a samordningsnummer, then the chances of opening an account are higher. Without a personnummer, you still have the right to open a bank account in Sweden. It will be cumbersome only!
In my personal experience, I was able to open a Swedish bank account without a personnummer nor samordningsnummer.
I have a full-time job in Stockholm but I needed to open a bank account to receive my salary while waiting for my personnummer.
I only showed the following documents:
- Job contract
- Residence permit card
- Rental agreement
Unfortunately, now, you need to wait for a few months before you get your personnummer. But, there are still banks that you can open a basic bank account with as long as you have a job or you are a student in Sweden.
In SEB, for example, you can become their customer with the following requirements:
- Valid passport
- Swedish work permit & certificate of employment. Or, an acceptance letter or certificate of studies. The document should indicate how long you plan to stay in Sweden.
- Swedish residence permit (non-EU citizen)
Can I open a bank account in Sweden without a job or income?
If you have the right to be in Sweden, then there shouldn’t be a problem with opening a Swedish bank account without a job or income.
I know that the dependents of work permit holders are having troubles with opening their own bank account despite having a personnummer.
My husband and I opened a joint account with ICA Banken. They have an option to apply without a Mobile BankID. This is especially for those without an existing Swedish bank account yet.
You need to fill out the application form online and they will send the agreement to your home. You need to sign it & send it back to them. Within a week, you will receive your account details. You can then apply for a Mobile BankID.
What we did when we were refused to open a bank account
When my husband, Miguel, tried to open a bank account in a Handelsbanken branch near Kallhäll, I inquired with the branch first & explained that he doesn’t have a job yet and asked if he can open a bank account or if we can open a joint account. His money in Sweden will be coming from my Swedish bank account.
The bank officer then booked an appointment with us so Miguel can fill out the application form. It’s normal for a bank to ask several questions and you have to answer all questions carefully.
They will contact you if they need more information from you.
In the source of income section, there is an option for “transfer from family” (I cannot remember the exact term). He selected that and added more information that my money will be coming from my salary and I will send a portion of my salary to him.
After the phone call & personal appearance at the bank, his application was rejected due to a missing source of income. They didn’t even bother asking for more information or documents.
We were unhappy with the response, so we filed a complaint at the National Board for Consumer Disputes (Allmänna reklamationsnämnden or ARN). ARN is a public authority that functions roughly like a court.
NOTE: When you received the decision from the bank, there is also a note that you can file a complaint to ARN if you are unhappy. That’s where we first found out about it.
The bank officer then sent an email to Miguel, apologized, and asked for more documents such as my payslips so they can review his application. After a week, he was asked to visit the branch again & he just canceled his application.
Check out The Newbie Guide to Sweden’s guide on what to do if you are denied a bank account in Sweden.
I hope you will be able to open a Swedish bank account without any problems! Always know your rights and provide all the requirements the bank asked you for.
Anyway, you only need to go through this process once since once you get a mobile BankID, you can freely open an account online.
Transfer money abroad
I often send money abroad, especially to the Philippines, so I had to find an option that’s hassle-free and cost-effective for international transactions.
Wise (formerly TransferWise) a great bank for sending and receiving money internationally with low fees — much cheaper than using a traditional bank.
You can also get your own local bank account details in Europe, UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand with the Wise Borderless account.
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