Best Banks in Sweden for Foreigners

The thought of opening a bank account in a foreign country may sound hectic. However, you shouldn’t be worried as the commercial market in Sweden is efficient and reliable. 

The best banks for foreigners in Sweden include Revolut, Bunq, Swedbank, Handelsbanken and N26. If you’ll be staying in Sweden for a while, opening a bank account is advisable, as this country is predominantly cashless. 

Relocating to Sweden means that you will need access to a bank to get salary payments and pay bills. That said, the Swedish banking system includes savings, commercial, cooperative, and foreign banks. To help you make the ultimate choice, below are descriptions of the best banks in Sweden. 

Which bank in Sweden is best for expats and foreigners? 

Favorable banks for foreigners should have few requirements, easy application, an English-speaking service, and low fees. That said, below are some expat-friendly banks in Sweden. 

1. Revolut 

Revolut is by far the best bank for all foreigners living in Europe, whether they study, work or run a business.

Revolut is the fastest-growing digital banking system. Saving in this bank is quite profitable as the interest rate stands at 1.67% per year. What’s more, this bank’s headquarters are situated in London hence all its services are offered in English. 

Creating a bank account in Revolut is free, and you’ll get your physical bank card, regardless of your location, after signing up. Getting it in Sweden will take just a few days. That said, creating an account in this bank will allow you to spend like a local, as it charges no fees when paying in another currency. 

Below are some benefits of banking with Revolut:

  • Free multi-currency account, with the main one in EUR – you can pay in any currency
  • Instant money transfers 
  • Reliable customer support 
  • Easy top-up 
  • Free debit card 
  • Free money transfers 24/7
  • Free cash withdrawals
  • IBAN number (for SEPA transfers)
  • Very user-friendly app in English
  • English service and support

Revolut has been our bank of choice since 2018. It’s one of the best banks to use while living in Europe. Besides, it’s perfect for someone who travels often.

If, while traveling, you pay in a different currency, they won’t charge additional fees for it, and they will convert your money at best possible exchange rate.

Revolut is based in the UK; hence, all its services run in English. Besides the Netherlands and the UK, Revolut is available for everyone residing in EEA countries, Switzerland, Australia, and even in the US.

If a standard free account isn’t enough for you, you can check their premium plans. Revolut has two tiers. The first is called Premium, and it costs 7.99 EUR per month. The second is Metal and costs 13.99 EUR. Paying this monthly price will get you a beautiful metal card.

Things to keep in mind:

Withdrawing money from any ATM is free for up to 200 EUR per month; after that, it costs 2%.

2. Bunq   

Bunq is also a foreigner-friendly bank as it operates online and offers its services in English. It’s very easy to use and navigate. Bunq is one of the few banks that provides full support in English and allows you to open & manage your account 100% online.

Bunq was founded in the Netherlands and later expanded to all European countries. What keeps this bank on the map is that it also charges nothing to convert currencies.

You can apply for free savings account on Bunq’s website in just a few minutes. Opt for a free saving account, while a cheap plan goes for 2,99 EUR every month or a premium plan at 8,99 EUR. That said, below are other Bunq benefits:

  • Instant transfers 
  • Simple navigation 
  • IBAN
  • Instant transfers/payments
  • English customer service 
  • Affordable ATM withdrawals 
  • Earn interest on your money – 9x more than you get in other banks

With a premium account, you get:

  • free ATM withdrawals
  • 25 sub-accounts
  • multiple debit cards, including Mastercard and Maestro
  • free travel card

Moreover, Bunq offers a 1-month free trial so that you can test the product.

See more on the bank account from Bunq:

FeaturePrice
Monthly feeFree or 2,99 EUR
International debit cardFree
TransfersFree and in different currencies
Cash withdrawals in Sweden0,99 EUR per transaction
Cash withdrawals abroad 0,99 EUR per transaction
Payments in foreign currencies1,5% of the transaction plus 0,5% or 0,5%
depending on the package
Contactless paymentsFree

Things to keep in mind:

The first four withdrawals every month, using a Bunq ATM card, are free, and the following five will cost you 0.99 EUR each.

3. Swedbank 

Swedbank is among the biggest and oldest banks in Sweden, which was founded back in 1820. This company serves more than 7 million customers and has more than 240 branches throughout the country.

Swedbank is also found in several regions like Denmark, Norway, South Africa, Finland, and Luxembourg, meaning you can trust it.

Below are other benefits of using Swedbank as a foreigner in Sweden:

  • Free debit card – only for students, for anyone else 350 SEK per year
  • Free online banking – only for students, for anyone else 39 SEK per month
  • Free cash withdrawal in Sweden

Besides that, Swedbank provides the following:

  • Offices are found all over the country 
  • Debit and credit cards
  • Offers both basic and advanced services 
  • Online website and app to access your bank account
  • Offers English-speaking customer service 

Opening an account in Swedbank as a resident is free of charge. However, opening one as a foreigner will cost you around 200 EUR. Although getting an account in Swedbank will require some paperwork, the institution won’t charge you a dime for handling the documents. 

Nonetheless, this bank is a traditional one, meaning you will need to meet several requirements to open an account and even visit the branch in some situations.

Moreover, as a non-student, you will also pay monthly and annual fees for using the card and online banking.

To open an account online, you will need:

  • Have a Swedish personal ID number
  • Have a Swedish mobile number
  • Have a Mobile BankID

If you decide to open an account in the bank’s branch, you will need to prove your identity. If you have a Swedish social security number, you must provide a valid Swedish identity document. In case you don’t, you can use a valid foreign passport in the original to show your citizenship.

Lastly, bring an interpreter if you don’t speak Swedish or English.

Swedbank costs

Most of their services are free if you use online banking and payments. If, however, you want to do transactions in one of the Bank’s branches, expect to pay several types of fees.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Payment in the foreign currency costs 1.65% in commission.
  2. If you want to make a transfer to another bank, you must pay a fee of 400 SEK. International non-SEPA transfers cost 50 SEK in the online app and 150 SEK in the bank’s branch.
  3. Cash withdrawal abroad costs 10 SEK per transaction.

4. Handelsbanken

Handelsbanken is one of the main conventional banks in Sweden with a long history. They offer banking services for private and corporate customers in Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.

The basic account from Handelsbanken will cost you 25 SEK per month.

At Handelsbanken you can get:

  • Current and salary accounts
  • Debit and credit cards, including Maestro and Mastercard
  • Online banking
  • 24/7 customer service 
  • Offers both basic and advanced services 
  • Online website and app to access your bank account
  • Offers English-speaking customer service 

Things to keep in mind:

  1. A basic debit card Bankkort Mastercard starts from 300 SEK per year. However, will be free of charge if you are 18-26 and receive CSN study funds in your Handelsbanken account.
  2. A basic Maestro card is free for people under 21, otherwise, the fee is 300 SEK/year.
  3. See all fees of the bank account at Handelsbanken.

5. N26 

N26 is an international bank that operates online, making it the perfect choice for foreigners and expats who don’t want to get involved in the Swedish financial system. Creating an account on this bank’s website is free and won’t take more than eight minutes (they claim so).

Moreover, the customer care hotline is always in operation; you can get help whenever you encounter difficulty. 

N26 has taken the initiative to employ fingerprint recognition and 3D technology for increased security. This bank also gives insight into your spending habits, making it easier to spot saving opportunities. 

If you fancy a physical N26 bank card, you can easily order one on their website. Remember, all N26 card payments are free, which is quite impressive. 

N26 also offers: 

  • Free basic banking account
  • Zero withdrawal fees for 3 transfers per month
  • Free payments abroad
  • Free transfers
  • Free credit card
  • Low fees
  • English-speaking customer service 
  • Push notification button makes you aware of your withdrawals and spending patterns
  • Easy access; do all transactions from your smartphone 

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Cash withdrawals in other currencies cost 1,7% of the amount drawn plus a 2.00 EUR fee.
  2. You will have only 3 free withdrawals per month; after that, a fee of 2.00 EUR applies. See more on fees and pricing.

Can a foreigner open a bank in Sweden? 

Generally, you have the right to open a bank account in Sweden if you legally reside in an EU/EEA country and can prove your identity.

Opening a bank account as a foreigner in Sweden is possible, simple, and straightforward. Furthermore, a Swedish bank account is mandatory to manage your expenses, social benefits, and taxes when staying in this country.

This is because the Swedish banking system still uses the Krona despite its capability of switching to the Euros. 

The easiest and most effective way to open a bank account in Sweden is to visit the local bank branch near you. Swedish banks conduct rigorous customer identity and often charge you for these services. 

That said, below are some documents you might need for account opening:

  • Swedish National ID, EU/EEA passport, Swedish driver’s license, or any other valid passport/photo ID 
  • Mobile Bank ID

Additionally, banks might request:

  • Your Swedish address and proof, i.e., lease contract, utility bills
  • Proof of Swedish employment or school enrollment( indicating the duration of studies) 
  • Personnummer (if not a member of EU/EEA country) 

Not all of them are required. You will receive exact guidelines from the concrete bank. For example, EU/EEA citizens who reside within the EU/EEA are entitled to a bank account, even if they are not permanently resident in Sweden. So, these types of applicants don’t need a Swedish address.

Keep in mind that having a Mobile Bank ID is a requirement if you want to open an account online. However, to get this ID, you must visit the bank’s branch in person.

International students

If you are a foreign student in Sweden, you need one of the documents mentioned above plus:

  • Residence permit or visa (for non-EU citizens).
  • Admission confirmation from the university with the duration of your study program.

To ease the process of creating a bank account, call the bank before the appointment to know what you will require. The major Swedish banks like Nordea, Swedbank, and Handelsbanken are the best option for recent arrivals who intend to stay in the country for more than six months, legal residents, and workers being paid in the Krona.

That said, you could open an online bank account after getting a Mobile bank ID. Notably, most banks offer Mobile Bank IDs after complete verification. Another possibility is opening a non-resident bank account in digital banks like Revolut and Bunq.

Digital banks allow you to convert your money to the Swedish Krona from USD, EUR, or any other foreign currencies. This means that you can use your debit cards in Sweden markets, shops, or enterprises as a local. 

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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