Due to strict regulations and security aspects it takes an effort to open a bank account in Sweden, as in most foreign countries. Banks are required to carry out a stringent check of customer identity and they charge a fee for their services. Also, services and offers from the different banks are depending on how long you’re staying and whether you have a Swedish personal identity number or not.
General information - cash, checks and credit cards
Regardless of how long you will be studying in Sweden you should make sure that you have enough money to cover your expenses for the first months of your stay. As international debit and credit cards are widely accepted as a method of payment in Sweden we strongly recommend you to bring a VISA/Mastercard to give you access to funds in your existing bank account. You can withdraw cash in all ATM’s and make your purchases with your card. An ATM cash-machine is referred to as Bankomat in Swedish.
The best way to send money to Sweden is via online money transfer from the bank in your home country to your bank account in Sweden. Discuss this with your current bank before you come to Sweden.
Please note: Never bring personal checks or large amounts of cash to Sweden! Personal checks will not be accepted and the bank will only accept cash deposits to some extent. Also, banks are reluctant to accept foreign currency.
The cheapest and most convenient way to pay your bills is by transfer through your Swedish or home country’s online banking payment service. If you are staying with KTH Accommodation, please use the pay site: pay.kth.se . If online payment is not available to you via your bank’s services, check with them about what alternative payment services are available for you, and at what cost.
Bills can be paid at a lower cost per bill than most banks’ regular payment service at these locations:
DIREKTEN (convenience store) : Branches in Kista Galleria, Metro: Kista, and at Odengatan 52, Metro: Odenplan
Having access to a Swedish bank account during your stay in Sweden can be convenient for paying bills and receiving incomes, etc. However, depending on the agreement with your national bank, the fees of money exchange in Sweden might in total be less than the costs of a bank account, bank cards and payment fees. Please note that the offers from banks vary depending on how long you’re staying and if you have a Swedish personal identity number or not.
Short term students
If you are studying 1 or 2 semesters (less than 12 months) in Sweden you cannot get a Swedish personal identity number and you will get a limited service offer at Swedish banks (e.g. no internet banking). Consider using your national bank account and bank card for money transactions and withdraw cash in ATM’s if necessary, even if this means that your transactions will result in currency exchanges.
Long term students
If you will be studying for more than 2 semesters (longer than 12 months) in Sweden you are entitled to apply for a Swedish personal identity number, which will make it easier for you to open a bank account at a Swedish bank of your choice. Receiving your Swedish personal identity number may take a few weeks and should be done before applying for a bank account. Once you have a personal identity number you can also apply for a Swedish ID card which will simplify identification at the bank.
What do I need to open a bank account?
Read the checklist below to see what documents you need to prepare for opening an account. Also bear in in mind that Swedish banks are generally open only on weekdays between 10.00 and 15.00, but they normally have one evening a week with extended opening hours.
- Valid passport (Your passport must have a valid international standard for Swedish banks to accept it as an ID)
- Your residence permit (if applicable)
- Proof of admission showing the duration of studies
- Details of address in Sweden
- A birth certificate issued by the Swedish Tax Authority (if you have a Swedish personal identity number)
To prepare yourself for which documents are required and questions the bank might ask, you can read the information on their website (the Swedish Bankers' Association)
As a bank customer always remember to:
- Inform the bank about changes in your contact information such as; your address, e-mail or telephone number
- Close your Swedish bank account before you leave Sweden! This should be done at the branch office where you opened your bank account. (Note: Plan ahead-the amount of cash you can withdraw from your account in a single withdrawal is limited)