STHLM Guide #4 : Banking for Students in Sweden

One of the biggest worries about anyone moving to a new country is “how to access banking facilities”, I have compiled information for all the newly arrived students in this blog post regarding the same. There are six major banks that I see everywhere, Nordea, SEB, Swedbank, Handelsbanken, Dankse Bank, and ICA (Yeah the same ICA as the ICA Supermarket).

Now, it’s a bit different in Sweden, you don’t get any interest on your savings account, but you rather pay for monthly facilities. If you’re a student, then you’re lucky because for students some of the banks offer these services for free.

The banks who offer free services to students are:

Nordea

You need to take following things to the bank to create an account. You will need a Swedish ID Kort to open an account with Nordea.

The following documents have to be presented to the bank for account creation:

Checks

Possible alternatives when cashing out a check at Nordea:

• If you have a Nordea account, but no registered “Application / Change of employee information” (see above), it is enough to identify with passport / ID card when you cash in your check

• If you have neither an account at Nordea nor a registered transfer order to another bank, then you need to identify with the passport plus that a KTH employee with Swedish ID follows with you to the bank and guarantees for your identity

• If the amount of the payment slip is higher than 15 000 SEK, Nordea would pay the amount, but not the same day. Nordea pays out a maximum 15 000 SEK in cash without pre-ordering. The payment of higher amounts requires at least one day of pre-ordering.

If you draw a salary of any from KTH, regardless if you want your remuneration deposited into your Nordea account or transferred to another bank, you must fill in and send to Nordea the form Application / Change of employee information (Överföringsuppdrag) to be found in KTH’s online form archive.

NB: Though the banking services are free for students at Nordea, you might be needed to pay a monthly fee after one year, if you’re not receiving any CSN money (which is the case with most of International Students), this is a new thing and the bank’s explanation on this has been quite vague.

Source: kth.se

ICA Bank

Probably the best option for students, you get some free stuff as well initially, and account creation is also easy. And the process is completely online. It’s not mandatory to have a Swedish ID Kort for this, so the best option for anyone who is staying in Sweden for one year. If you don’t have a Swedish ID, apply online and then you must contact ICA Banken at 033-47 47 90 to inform them that you don’t have a Swedish ID (The transaction verification devices in both cases are different).

Online Application

ICA Supermarket also has a lot of weekly offers at all the stores, which is great to save money. Just follow the weekly offers at the store nearest to yourself.

Swedbank

I haven’t had first-hand experience with Swedbank, but as far as I know, they also have free bank accounts for students.

Swedbank Student Account

Some Benefits: In addition to the services included in the Key Customer you also get access to several benefits. Among other things, you get to Key Customer Student three months free insurance when you sign up for at least one-year agreement.

Danske Bank

A recent update from 2017, Danske bank offers Bank accounts for International students without personnumber using their passport as the ID document, I am not pretty sure about this because this is something I recently came to know through a student who contacted them. But if you are one of the students who are staying in Sweden for a short time and needs to open a bank account, then I would suggest contacting Danske Bank.

Danske Bank Student Account


Swish

Probably the best thing about handling money in Sweden, makes everything easy and cashless when you can transfer money just using someone’s phone number.

My recommendation, get Swish as soon as you get a bank account, Get Swish

FAQ

How would I get money in my account from my home country?

There would be an IBAN number associated with your account, this can be used to transfer money to your account from anywhere in the world.

Why can’t I keep using my Forex Card?

Well, you can but then paying bills also becomes tough in a lot of cases, when the payment has to be done using BankGiro, you can’t also take any subscriptions which need to configure auto debit with your account. And you can’t also use Swish.

PS: I haven’t talked about SEB & Handelsbanken because they don’t have any free accounts for students. SEB has free bank accounts for students who get their CSN money in their account which is a specific case for Swedish students, you can read about it here. 

Read another detailed guide to banking from the new KTH blogger Oluchi here:

Banking for International Students in Sweden

19 thoughts on “STHLM Guide #4 : Banking for Students in Sweden

  1. Kim

    ICA Bank requests a Social Security ID (or personal number) when you try to register online.

  2. Abhineet Tomar Post author

    Hi Kim,

    You need a personnumber for creating a bank account in Sweden, with ICA Bank you go create an account without a Swedish ID kort (which is needed by all other banks).

  3. GABRIELE

    Hi Abhineet, do you know if it is possible to also get a CREDIT card and home banking with the ICA Bank account? I only read about a Debit Card…

  4. Abhineet Tomar Post author

    Hi Gabriele,

    I don’t know what exactly you mean by “home banking”, but regarding Credit Cards, I don’t think it’s possible for students to get Credit cards, one of my friends, who works full time had to show 6 months of salary proof for the application for Credit Card.

  5. Alex Radu

    Hej! Nice blog. I want to point out that what you said about ICA bank is not totally true. You can apply for a bank account without having a Swedish ID but you can’t pick up the debit card along with your account details if you don’t have a Swedish ID and in the end it is the same like any other Swedish bank.

  6. Abhineet Tomar Post author

    Hi Alex,

    This is strange, for me and most of my friends, the bank Card and other stuff was delivered at home (in the mailbox), it this was before I had a Swedish ID Kort.

    And as far as I know, to pick up stuff from ICA, showing Passport works fine as a proof of Identity.

    If this issue is happening now, it’s new.

  7. Slava

    Hej! About the ICA debit card: yes, it’s possible to order it without the Swedish ID (you will receive it via post) but you need the security token to it (säkerhetdosa) that will be sent to the nearest ICA store. BUT: you will NOT be able to pick the device up there without Swedish ID as the system requires it 🙁 I had experienced this situation a few days ago.
    Hence, unfortunately, obtaining Swedish ID is the only option if you want to open the bank account.

  8. Abhineet Tomar Post author

    Hi Slava,

    That’s unfortunate, for me and a couple of my friends that I know, everything was delivered at home in the postbox.

  9. Phil

    Hello,
    Nice Blog!
    I will be coming to KTH next year and have a question in regards to ID Number.

    I have read online and seen that as I would be staying under 6 months, I can only get a co-ordination number and not a personnumber. Will I be able to use this number to open a bank?

    Also, I saw that KTH had a day in which you could apply for a person number on campus, would I be able to do the same in regards to a co-ordination number?

    Sorry if this is confusing, I am just trying to work out the best way to bank when I move over.

    Thanks,
    Phil

  10. Slava

    Abhineet,
    The manager from the call-centre explained that they have been replacing the old card readers with the new ones, which are personal. That is why they don’t send them to the home addresses any more (to avoid the risk of loss) but to the post departments at the shops, and require Swedish ID or driving licence to verify the personality there. Nevertheless, one of my friends managed to pick up reader with the passport, probably, that was the old version.
    They promised to send me the old reader in a week, and then I have to contact the bank again via phone to confirm it. It’s interesting how it is going to be sorted out.

  11. Abhineet Tomar Post author

    Hey Slava, I hope it can be fixed without having to spend 400 SEK for the sake of bank account, I know a bunch of people who got it with passports. I guess it depends on the person at the counter in the end. I hope you’ll be soon able to access your account, however, in ICA bank now you can’t activate Mobile BankID without Swedish ID, which makes it impossible to use services like Swish. Everything else works perfect.

  12. Abhineet Tomar Post author

    Hi Phil,

    I understand your situation, and unfortunately, you won’t be able to open a Swedish bank account with your co-ordination number. Even on the day when the Tax Agency comes on KTH campus, only those students who are staying in Sweden for more than a year are eligible to apply for a personnumber.

  13. Lara

    Interesting, has anyone found a way to pick up the delivery at ICA without the tax ID? Would love to hear experiences and work-arounds, since I’m in that situation right now and not sure I’m willing to invest in the ID card… :/

    Also, Slava, I would be very interested to hear which steps you took exactly and how it turned out…

  14. Slava

    Lara, yes, I finally managed to do it. If you failed to pick your personal card reader, the algorithm is as the following:
    1. Call to the bank 033-474790, press “2” for banking and then “3” for personal assistance. You will then have to press your personal number and wait in line for approximately 30 min.
    2. Explain your situation and ask them to send you the old version of the card reader (kortdosa) to your home address.
    3. After you’ve received it, call to the bank again and activate it. Don’t forget to ask operator about enabling the Internet payment function for you.
    4. To be able to login to your account on the ICAbanken website https://www.icabanken.se/logga-in/?refurl=%2faktivera, you need Lösenord – another 4-digits password (different from the PIN-code). If you haven’t received it by post, ask the bank to send it. Probably, they will ask you to send copy of the passport and birth certificate from the Tax Agency (easy to order for free on https://www.skatteverket.se). I haven’t received it yet, nevertheless, with the card I can pay online and in the shops, receive, withdraw and put money in any ICA supermarket.

    Hopefully, this information is helpful. Good luck!

  15. Jon

    Dear all,

    If I am not mistaken, student banking service offered by ICA does not require an applicant to show a Swedish ID but a valid passport (plus a personal number) shall do, is that correct? And also, how much does it cost for each month? Does it also include Internet banking and Autogiro options?

  16. Abhineet Tomar

    Hi Jon,

    ICA Bank is now providing new security devices which can be only received by showing Swedish ID card, now you can see from Slava’s comment that you can ask for the older device which normally gets delivered at your home.

    For students, the account is free, there is not monthly fees (which is also mentioned above in the blog), and yes, it also includes Internet banking and Autogiro/Bangiro options, although you cannot use Swish without having a Swedish ID.

  17. Kate

    Is it possible for an international student to get a Swedish ID. What is the difference between Sweden ID and Personal Number. How can you get both of them? As in, what’s the process of getting them?

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