How To Open a Bank Account in Denmark as a Non-Resident

Feb 11, 2022
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Did you know that Danish workers average 33 hours a week? On top of that, its cities are known to be walkable and bikeable, filled with great cuisines, and lined with historic sites.

But while you prepare for the good work-life balance that Denmark has to offer, you will also need access to a licensed bank account. In fact, it is required for all tax-paying residents and citizens.

Your Danish bank account is your key to paying your share of taxes to the government as well as gaining access to Denmark's social services. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps you need to take to open a bank account in Denmark as a foreigner. We will also offer alternatives to non-residents who do not qualify to open a Danish bank account.

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Best Bank Account in Denmark for Non-Residents

If you're looking for an online bank-like account, open a Wise Multi-Currency Account, which gives you 10 local bank details and a Visa debit card to hold and spend in 54 currencies (including Danish Krone).

What is Banking Like in Denmark?

While Denmark is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), the country is not in the European Union and has not adopted the Euro (EUR) as an official currency. Political referendums in favour of adopting the Euro have yet to pass.

Instead, Denmark and its banking sector continue to use its traditional currency, the Danish Krone (DKK). As a result, workers from Europe will not be able to use their Euro-denominated bank accounts to deposit their Krone-denominated paychecks.

Some of the country's most well-known high-street banks include Danske Bank, Nykredit Bank, Sydbank, and Nordea. Danish banks tend to have limited hours, starting at 10 am and closing at around 1 pm or 3 pm. In any case, you should not expect to visit physical bank branches as personal banking is often done digitally. Chequebooks, for example, are becoming obsolete in Denmark.

Types of Danish Bank Accounts

If you are liable to pay taxes, even if you are a temporary resident, then you will need to open a Danish NemKonto (or Easy Account). A NemKonto is a basic current account that the government uses to collect your taxes, send you back tax rebates, and payout your social security benefits¹. It comes with a Danish IBAN, which you will need to provide to your employer to get your paycheck denominated in DKK.

There are generally two kinds of accounts that foreigners often open in Denmark:

  • Current Account (NemKonto): This standard current account provides domestic banking services, such as salary payments, direct deposits, tax payments, and debit and credit cards.
  • Savings Account: You can open a savings account to apply a higher interest rate on your idle money. These accounts often come with a monthly withdrawal limit. Interest rates in the EU and EEA are very low, making the difference between a savings account and a current account almost negligible.

Maksym Potapenko on Unsplash Copenhagen, Denmark

What Documents Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Denmark?

To open a bank account in Denmark, you will need a CPR number. The CPR number is a ten-digit identification number that consists of your date of birth and four unique digits. They are given to all individuals who are eligible to pay taxes in Denmark, which includes any citizen or resident above 18 years of age.

Foreigners who were issued a visa to enter the country for short to long-term residency will receive their CPR number during their registration². As a result, non-residents cannot open a bank account in Denmark.

To open a bank account in Denmark, you will need to present the following documents to your bank:

  • Valid Passport;
  • Danish CRP Number;
  • Proof of address in Denmark (i.e. utility bill, lease contract, government form);

Some banks may require more information from you as a potential client:

  • Proof of employment or school enrollment.

Option 1 — Opening a Bank Account With a High-Street Bank in Denmark

Opening a bank account in Denmark for the first time will likely have to be done in-branch. You may contact your local branch to book an appointment:

Can I Open a Bank Account Online in Denmark?

You can open a bank account online only if you have a NemID. A NemID is an optional identification number that works digitally and is accepted by both Danish banks and Danish public service offices. As a foreigner, you can obtain a NemID by visiting a citizen service centre and verifying your identity in person³.

Mona Eendra on Unsplash Nyhavn, Denmark

Whether you opt to open an account in person or online with your NemID, take a look at three of Denmark’s standard banking options for foreigners:

Danske Bank

Danske Bank was founded in 1871 and has become one of the largest banks in Denmark. It holds over 4 trillion DKK in assets and specializes in a wide range of banking services from personal banking to insurance to mortgages.

Book an appointment or give your local bank a call to verify your identity and open an account:

  • Current Account: Use this account to deposit your salary and get a debit card for day-to-day purchases. It also provides an overdraft facility in case you run over your budget.

Nykredit Bank

Nykredit Bank, founded in 1851, is one of Denmark’s oldest financial institutions. Holding 1.6 trillion DKK in assets, it is headquartered in Copenhagen and specializes in wealth management and investment fund management.

Book an appointment online to meet a bank representative to open an account for you:

  • Current Account: Get day-to-day banking services as well as meet with a bank advisor to manage your assets.

Nordea

Nordea is the parent bank of one of the largest bank groups in the Nordic region. Founded just in 1997, it is headquartered in Copenhagen and operates in Danish and English:

You can open an account online with Nordea by providing your NemID:

  • Current Account: Get access to Nordea’s mobile banking app to manage your Visa debit card, withdraw cash from Nordea ATMs for free, and book appointments with banking advisors.
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High-street banks in Denmark are viable for the following types of residents:

  • Recent arrivals who already have a CPR number;
  • Workers who need to get paid in Danish Kroner (DKK);
  • Those looking for fully-fledged financial services (e.g. loans, investments, credit cards, etc.) and don't mind paying more in fees for them.

Option 2 — Opening a Non-Resident Bank Account with a Digital Bank

Digital banks have been on the rise throughout Europe and the world due to their flexible sign-up process, low fees, and seamless user experience online. It is important to note, however, that some of these digital banks that are established in Europe operate in the Euro (€). As a non-resident in Denmark, you will likely want a digital bank account that operates in the local Danish krone.

Online bank accounts are offered by a wide range of providers. Some are fully-licensed banks that are legally allowed to provide loans, overdrafts, and credit cards. Other providers are financial platforms that must partner with a licensed bank to administer their user-friendly digital services.

Oliver Raatz on Unsplash Klitmøller, Denmark

Let's have a look at Revolut, which is one of the only digital banks that gives its clients access to DKK:

Revolut

Revolut is one of the most well known digital banks in the world, offering its services to countries across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. It was founded in London and is a fully-fledged bank in the UK. However, this license does not apply to other countries. if you want to open a Revolut account in Denmark, then you will get access to a multi-currency account but you will not get access to other full-fledged banking services like a Danish IBAN or interest of savings.

As a non-resident in Denmark, you can convert your money into DKK at the mid-market exchange rate and access that money with your Revolut card. To see how you can spend like a local in Denmark, take a look at a full overview of Revolut's different account offerings:

  • Standard: With zero up-front costs, the Standard option gives you a UK sort code and a European IBAN with no monthly fee and a free debit card. You get free ATM withdrawals at 1,500 DKK per month. You can exchange up to 1,000 British pounds worth of currency into DKK per month without any fees.
  • Plus: Plus accounts cost 24.99 DKK per month, including a debit card. The ATM withdrawal limit remains at 1,500 DKK per month and the currency exchange limit remains at 1,000 GBP per month. You gain perks like return protection and 24/7 customer support.
  • Premium: Premium accounts cost 59.99 DKK per month, including a debit card, and there are no fees for ATM withdrawals up to 3,000 DKK per month. Currency exchanges without fees are unlimited.
  • Metal: Metal accounts cost 109.99 DKK per month, including a debit card. ATM withdrawals up to 6,000 DKK per month are free and you get unlimited currency exchanges without fees. You also get 0.1% cash back on all purchases in Europe and 1% cash back outside of Europe.
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Recommendation

While N26 and Bunq are innovative and fast-growing digital banks, we recommend Revolut because it is unique in allowing clients to hold DKK (and 30 other currencies).

We recommend digital banks to the following customers:

  • Those who require the standard range of banking services (e.g. current account, debit card, etc.);
  • Those without a Danish CPR number who want to save time from registering for a bank account;
  • Those who can get paid in EUR or GBP;
  • For those without proof of residence in Denmark, since Revolut does not require it for registration.

Option 3 — Open a Wise Multi-Currency Account as a Non-Resident

The Wise Multi-Currency Account is a free current account that gives you a Visa debit card and ten bank account details unique to you (including a UK sort code, US account number, and EU IBAN).

Like Revolut, the Wise Multi-Currency Account allows you to hold Danish Kroner and use a card to spend in the country like a local. Unlike some banks in your home country, Wise won't charge you international card transaction fees. If you've recently arrived in Denmark and need access to the local currency, then consider the Wise Multi-Currency Account over an expensive bureau de change counter at the airport.

Wise will not require you to show proof of residency in Denmark to sign up. (You will need to show proof of residence in either the EU/EEA, US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand). The process to verify your identity is done online with Wise's software with your valid government-issued identification.

Here's what Wise has to say about opening an account without proof of residence in the UK, although the same applies in Denmark: 

"You can then choose to either supply proof of address from a standard list of documents, or to send in a selfie, in which you’re holding your proof of ID. This can be a great alternative if you’re still waiting to move to the UK or haven’t yet got bills and other paperwork registered in your name."

Product Features

Your Visa debit card can take up to two weeks to arrive to Denmark, but you'll be able to instantly take advantage of the following unique features with the Wise Multi-Currency Account:

  • Local bank details in the US, Eurozone, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, Canada, Hungary, and Turkey;
  • Hold, exchange, and top-up up to 56 currencies including DKK;
  • A multi-currency Visa debit card that's useful for paying in DKK without international transaction fees;
  • Access to Wise's industry-best international money transfer service right from your account balance.

Foreigners Transferring to Danish Krone in Denmark

To get a sense of just how useful Wise can be for non-residents in Denmark, let's say that you've just moved to Copenhagen from Germany and you'd like to spend in DKK before you've registered for your Danish NemID. With the Wise Multi-Currency Account, you'll be able to:

  1. Send Euros from your German bank account to your Wise Euro account;
  2. Convert to DKK at the mid-market rate, minus a competitive fixed fee (e.g. if you convert €1,000.00 to DKK, the total fee will be around 0.68% or €4.60);
  3. Hold the converted funds (around 7,405 DKK);
  4. Pay in DKK at Danish stores and ATMs with your Wise debit card.
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Recommendation

We recommend Wise's Multi-Currency Account for the following types of clients:

  • New arrivals in Denmark looking to withdraw and spend DKK without a local bank card;
  • Those looking to make low-cost money transfers into DKK from their home accounts;
  • Those looking for 10 dedicated account details without having to show proof of residence.

What’s the Best Bank in Denmark for Foreigners and Non-Residents?

Take a look at this comparison table between what products you might find with Danish high-street banks and banking alternatives offered by online digital banks.

Bank

Danske Bank

Revolut

Wise

Provider Type

Bank

Neobank

Neobank

Account Type

Current account

Multi-currency account

Multi-currency account

Card Type

Mastercard debit card

Mastercard debit

Visa debit

Language(s)

Danish, English

English and 19 others

English and 14 others

Currencies

DKK

DKK and 30+ others

DKK and 50+ others

Monthly Fee

0.00 DKK

0.00 DKK

0.00 DKK

Danish Residence Requirement

✔️

Ideal For

English-speakers looking for a fully-fledged bank account with multiple services.

Residents and non-residents in Denmark looking for access to basic banking services at a very low cost.

New arrivals in Denmark looking to spend and withdraw cash before acquiring a local bank account.

See MoreTry RevolutTry Wise

How to Send Money to Denmark

Once you've opened your bank account in Denmark as a foreigner, you will need to transfer funds over from your home bank to your Danish one.

To deposit foreign-denominated money into your new Danish bank account, you will need to use your home bank to make an international transfer in one of the following two ways:

  1. Send a wire transfer through your bank directly;
  2. Send a bank transfer via a money transfer specialist.

Our experts at Monito do not recommend using your bank to transfer money internationally because they will likely wire funds over the SWIFT network, which is a global network of banks that use 'middlemen' to transfer your money across borders and across currencies. This process can take several days to complete and the fees can pile up fast. Online money transfer services specialize in international payments and can shorten this process into hours and even minutes at a much lower price.

Rahbek Media on Unsplash summer in denmark

Use an Online Money Transfer Service

We recommend that you use a money transfer specialist when sending large sums of money to Denmark, and even when sending pocket change. Wise is one such company that offers these services, although there are many that operate in all countries of the world. To find which one is cheapest from your home country to Denmark, take a look at our travel money comparison page.

Use a Foreign Exchange Broker

If you're transferring large sums into your bank account in Denmark (i.e. anything more than €30,000), then foreign exchange brokers may be a better choice for you. They are able to negotiate favourable exchange rates for large transfers, which can save you a lot of money when sending assets like life savings or business revenue.

By analysing tens of thousands of searches on Monito's comparison engine, we found that TransfergoWise, and Currencyfair were the cheapest on average for small to medium-sized transfers from Germany to Denmark.

For large transfers (defined here as €30,000 or above), TransfergoWise, and Currencyfair still tended to be the cost-effective services. Monito's award-winning comparison engine gathers real-time data from foreign exchange brokers, so be sure to run a search to find your best deal.

Frequently Asked Questions About Banking in Denmark

References Used in the Article

1. NemKonto. Easy account for citizens. Accessed 11 February 2022.

2. City of Copanhagen. CPR number. Accessed 11 February 2022.

3. NemID. About. Accessed 11 February 2022.

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