How to open a bank account in Sweden

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How to open a bank account in Sweden

With a thriving job market and an openßminded English speaking population, Sweden is growing exponentially as an expat hotspot. Boasting some of the world’s most livable cities and a social safety net that is considered by some as the best, it is not surprising that opening a bank account in Sweden is a fairly straight forward process albeit you are required to have a series of documents.

If you are interested in opening a bank account in Sweden as a student, worker, investor or retiree here is our guide:

Documents necessary to open a bank account in Sweden

As it becomes a cashless society (checks are completely obsolete already), opening an account can be a bit tricky. We suggest you start this process as soon as possible and be aware of all the rules.

Here are the documents needed:

  • Passport
  • Resident permit
  • Employment contract paperwork
  • Swedish ID number, called the Personnummer
  • Swedish ID card

The first step is the application for a Personnummer with the Swedish Population Register which you have to do in person. We recommend you do this first before you visit a bank. Here are the requirements:

  • Passport
  • Residence permit (except if you have EU family members)
  • Proof of address in Sweden

Can I open a bank account as a non-resident in Sweden

Yes, it is possible to open a bank account in Sweden as a non-resident. It will be a bit more complicated, not all banks will have this option, and there will be several documentation requirements and it is best to be ready before you go to a branch. It is likely this account won’t come with a debit card nor online access which means you will have to visit the bank to perform transactions. You will need:

  • Passport
  • Swedish visa
  • Residence permit
  • A letter from university or employment contract
  • Swedish address details

Best banks in Sweden

Sweden has modern banking infrastructure and although things may be complicated at first, they are friendly and have experience working with expats which means you are likely to get the process done in a timely manner. There are 4 major banks in the country all of which have large networks of branches and ATMs which sometimes partner with each other which will save you in fees. These banks are Nordea Bank, SEB, Handelsbanken and Swedbank:

  • Nordea Bank: with 35 branches and over 110 ATMs they have all the standard financial products such as personal accounts, savings accounts, insurance offers both personal and for business and a selection of debit and credit cards. Only in Swedish.
  • SEB: they serve Sweden with over 20 branches and a large 230+ ATM network. They have a well featured and designed mobile banking app, bank accounts for all personal and business needs and a 24 hour phone service line in English. Only in Swedish.
  • Handelsbanken: With more than 450 branches and ATM locations around the country and plenty of account options to choose from such as current, savings and business accounts, Handelsbanken is a viable option. Only in Swedish.
  • Swedbank: With 3000 ATMs and 300 cash deposit machines, Swedbank’s network is massive which can be a decisive factor in opening an account. They have interpreters in your language if you do not speak English and a variety of options for accounts, cards and services such as insurance, mortgage and lending.

Opening a bank account in Sweden is far from being a breeze but it is straightforward specially because the Swedish people are professional and friendly. It will be very easy once you have all the documentation. You will also notice that banks have limited opening hours which typically occurs between 10AM and 15PM.

It is good practice to ask for a list of fees. For example, there could be annual fees to use the ATM network at your bank and special exchange rates when using your debit card in neighbouring countries which you may do often. This is not always the case and some banks do have free ATMs albeit limited to a number of transactions.

The virtual bank account alternative

It is expensive to do international money transfers from Sweden

If you need to send money bank to your home country’s bank account chances are will be using your bank. It will send money on your behalf by charging a large variable fee above what is called the mid market rate. This rate is what a bank uses to transfer money to another and in order to make a profit and make for the cost of the transfer, they have to charge excessive amounts which also include a SWIFT fee. This means that if you wire 10 thousand euros to India - for example - only 9000 euros worth of rupees will arrive in your account bank home.

A more financially viable alternative is a virtual bank account with B2B Pay. With it, you or your business gets a European IBAN which is connected to your bank account in your home country. This means that when you transfer money to it, the money goes straight to your home country for a 1% flat fee and no SWIFT charges. You save over 80% in transfers to most countries and you can also do transfers yourself to dozens to countries and currencies.

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How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.

How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.

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