Banks in Sweden

Bank i Sverige
Here you can read about your right to open a bank account in Sweden and how you can take out a housing loan in a Swedish bank when you are not a Swedish citizen. You can also find out about how to get a Swedish ID card and a bank ID, and how to move money between countries.

There can be many reasons why you need to open a bank account in Sweden to organise your private finances. You can deposit money in your account, withdraw money, and pay bills by bank transfer, by post, and by direct debit.

The account you use to control your private finances can have different names, such as salary account, transaction account, personal account, private account, or current account.

You are entitled to open an account in a bank in Sweden if you are a legal resident of an EU/EEA country and can show proof of identity in a way that enables the bank to check your identity.

The bank cannot demand that you have a Swedish personal identity number or an address in Sweden.

Can foreign citizens open a bank account in Sweden?

EU/EEA citizens living in the EU/EEA are entitled to a basic current account, even if they are not resident in Sweden. It is against the law to reject customers on the grounds of not having a Swedish address or a Swedish personal identity number.

In addition to the account, you are also entitled to a debit card (betalkort) for payments and withdrawals and to enable you to make online payments. These are the payment services normally available in your Internet bank. It enables you as a customer of a bank to withdraw and deposit cash, make payments with a debit card with a balance check, and receive money in the account. Certain banks have commuter accounts for people who commute to work in another Nordic country.

How do I open a bank account without a Swedish personal identity number?

Even if you do not have a Swedish personal identity number or a Swedish address, or if you have a protected identity, you are entitled to open a bank account. The bank must be able to confirm your identity before you can open an account. If the bank cannot confirm your identity, you cannot open a bank account.

How can I prove my identity at a Swedish bank?

If you have a Swedish driving licence, an ID card issued by a Swedish authority, or a certified ID card, take this with you so that the bank can check your identity.

If you do not have Swedish identity documents, the bank can check your identity using your passport or some other document that proves your citizenship and is issued by an authority. The bank may ask for more than one document to prove your identity.

If you do not have any identity documents, the bank can still check your identity through other reliable documents and other checks in accordance with the obligatory risk-based procedures the bank must have in place.

Do I need to explain why I need a bank account?

All banks in Sweden are legally obliged to ask why you need a bank account and how you intend to use the account. You may intend to use the account so that salary, allowances or other social security benefits can be paid in, or to allow you to pay rent or save money.

How much does a bank account cost?

Banks are free to set their own charges for bank services. It is up to you to decide if it is worth paying the price the bank charges for its service. To find out which bank services are most suitable for you, you should look over your needs.

What should I do if the bank denies me a bank account?

If the bank denies you a bank account, contact the complaints department of the bank and ask them to reassess the decision.

You can also contact the Swedish Consumers' Banking and Finance Bureau (Konsumenternas Bank- och finansbyrå) and tell them that the bank has denied you a bank account.

Can I get an ID-card and e-ID in Sweden?

Swedish citizens can get a passport and a national ID card from the Swedish Police (Polisen).

If you are foreign citizen, over 13 years of age, and living in Sweden, you can order a Swedish ID card from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). In Sweden, the ID card is used in many different situations in everyday life.

At some banks in Sweden, you can apply for e-ID (e-legitimation) and an ID card, E-ID is an electronic ID document that you can use to prove your identity safely on websites and in apps. This enables you to sign agreements and transactions with public agencies and businesses, by confirming your identity or your purchase with a code.

If you have an e-ID from another country than Sweden, on some occasions you may be able to use this to access e-services of Swedish public agencies. However, as yet, you cannot use your Swedish e-ID for e-services in other countries.

Can I get credit and loans in Sweden?

When you apply for a loan, the lender must carry out a credit check to examine whether you have the financial capability to pay interest on the loan and make repayments. To evaluate your ability to pay, the bank’s credit check must be based on sufficient information about your financial position.

Banks cannot carry out credit checks across the Nordic borders. Banks in Sweden can only obtain information about events in Sweden.

If you wish to apply for credit or take out a loan in Sweden, you must be aware that many banks hesitate about lending money to foreigners and also to Swedish citizens if they work in another EU/EEA country.

If you work in another country, the bank conducting a credit check cannot see that you have an income, so you must confirm it in some other way, such as by submitting documents that show you have a certain income. Examples are employment contracts and salary slips.

The banks are entitled to set their own conditions for lending money. However, they must not treat EU citizens differently on the grounds of nationality. If you feel that a bank has treated you differently, you can contact the bank's complaints department and ask for a written explanation on why they have rejected your loan application. Once you receive the bank's written explanation, you can ask for help and advice from FIN-NET, which mediates in financial conflicts between consumers and providers of financial services.

Can I get a housing loan from a Swedish bank if I am not a Swedish citizen or if I work abroad?

There are no regulations that prevent foreign citizens from taking out loans in Sweden. A housing loan, or mortgage, (bostadslån) is regulated by agreements with banks. Apart from certain types of legislation, perhaps above all legislation aimed at protecting consumers, freedom of contract applies. Consequently, banks may have different conditions for granting loans.

It can be difficult to find a bank that will offer a housing loan to a foreign citizen who does not have permanent residence in Sweden and who has no income or assets in Sweden that can be used as collateral. Since this concens agreements that can vary greatly depending on which bank you want to borrow money from, it may be worth contacting several banks to get information about the possibilities of taking out a loan.

Bank websites have calculation tools that help you calculate the monthly costs when you borrow money to buy a property. The Swedish Consumers' Banking and Finance Bureau also has a calculation tool for housing loans, Bolånekalkyl, which you can use when you want to buy a property.

It can be difficult to borrow money to buy property in another country. Some banks will not approve loans for purchase of property abroad or to people who live or work in a different country to that of the bank.

How can I transfer money between countries?

For transfers and payments within the EU and EEA (Norway and Iceland), the same regulations and costs apply as for payments in Sweden if the payment is in euros or Swedish kronor. 

As a consumer, you should therefore investigate what type of transaction you want to make and what it costs before you make the transaction.

  • Always use the Internet bank to avoid extra charges.
  • Special codes are used for foreign payments to identify bank accounts and banks , such as BIC and IBAN/SWIFT.
  • If you want to transfer money between two different countries, you should try to use an EU payment.
  • The basic rule for an EU payment is that a payer and a recipient share the costs of the payment service. However, exceptions can be made for currency exchange.
  • Check the fees your bank charges to transfer money.
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