Many fun, exciting things can happen when moving to a new country. Opening a bank account is definitely not one of them. As an expat, opening an account in your new country, can save you from paying international withdrawal fees and enable you to deal directly with bank personnel and financial advisers who can help you secure loans and international mortgages.
Opening a bank account in Sweden can seem like a daunting task; banking information and account options are only offered in Swedish. Branch personnel provide conflicting information, and bank policies seem widely varied from company to company. Your Living City has done the research for you. This is part 1 of our 4-part series about opening a bank account in Sweden.
Opening an account at Swedbank:
Accurate Swedish banking information is hard to come by, so we have checked and double-checked our information with Swedbank experts. They told us the ins and outs of opening an account.
Starting a new Swedbank account requires only visiting a branch with 1) a Swedish ID card or a valid passport and 2) a Swedish social security number (personnummer). These documents will allow you to open a simple interest-free personal account. But you cannot get a bank card (Visa debit or Maestro card) until the bank sees that you have a regular source of income deposited into your account.
Getting a Visa debit or Maestro card:
A person, who holds a Swedbank account and who has received regular income for about three months, can apply to receive a debit card. A debit card allows you to directly withdrawal money from your account. There are two options, either a Maestro or a Visa Debit card.
You can use a Maestro card for cash machine withdrawals and debit payments in stores and restaurants. This card is accepted in fewer places than the Visa debit, but its annual fee is less, generally about SEK 150.
A Visa debit card works the same way as a Maestro card, but it allows you to make payments anywhere Visa is accepted. This can be handy when booking airlines tickets or making online purchases. The yearly fee varies depending on the type of account, but it is generally around SEK 250.
Until you get a Swedish bank card, you will have to see a bank clerk to withdraw cash. This service is free of charge, but keep in mind that banks in Sweden have limited opening hours usually between 10.00 and 16.00/18.00. If you’re coming from North America like me, you will be surprised to find out that Swedbank does not charge for cash machine withdrawals within Sweden. This applies to all Swedbank offices and any cash machine within the country.
Many Swedbank offices have automatic deposit machines that accept Swedish bills and coins. There is a daily deposit limit of SEK 10,000.
All accounts are set up with online banking. If you wish to pay bills online, expect to pay SEK 100 a year. I highly recommend this option because many Swedish companies send invoices that can only be paid either through your internet bank or at a branch office. Internet banking allows for free money transfer (with some restrictions).
For more information visit www.swedbank.se