How To Open a Bank Account in Sweden as a Foreigner (Even Without a Personnummer)

Feb 15, 2022
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When people think of Sweden, Stockholm often comes to mind as one of the cultural and historic centres of not only Scandanavia but all of Europe. But the country has much more to offer than just this "Venice of the North". It is also one of the safest countries in the world, gave rise to ABBA, and hosts the mystical Northern Lights in early September.

Whether you plan to move to Sweden to experience its high quality of life or to take advantage of its higher education as a student, then you will need a Swedish bank account to manage your expenses, taxes, and social benefits.

As a taxpaying resident in Sweden, the process to open a bank account will be straightforward. Our experts at Monito will detail what documents you need and how to open an account in person or online. If you are a non-resident, then we will provide you with bank alternatives to ease your day-to-day finances in Sweden.

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Best Bank Account in Sweden 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 Swedish Krona).

What is Banking Like in Sweden?

Sweden joined the European Union in 1995 but has yet to adopt the Euro (EUR) as the country's official currency. While the country is capable of meeting the criteria to enter the eurozone, the Swedish Krona (SEK) continues to have public confidence. Referendums to adopt the Euro in Sweden have failed and popularity in the Euro has continued to wane since the 2008 European debt crisis.

The Swedish banking system uses the Krona. While some department stores and other retailers may accept the Euro in cash, you will need to open a Swedish bank account to conduct your day to day finances. If you are working in Sweden, then you will want to accept your Krona-denominated paycheck with a bank account with a Swedish IBAN.

Sweden's six largest banks have adopted Swish, which is a mobile wallet that links clients' mobile phones to their bank accounts. With the app, payments and fund transfers are instantaneous. Sweden is also home to Lunar, a fully-licensed digital bank, which serves clients in Norway and Denmark too.

After opening a bank account in Sweden, you will get a debit card and access to online and telephone banking services. Bank branches are generally open from 10 am to 4 pm, while some of the larger branches may stay open until 6 pm.

lilzidesigns on Unsplash Gamla stan, Stockholm, Sweden

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

The list of documents required to open a bank account in Sweden will vary depending on the citizenship status of your home country, and on your length of stay in Sweden.

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

  • Swedish National ID, EU/EEA passport, or non-EU/EEA passport with Swedish residence permit;
  • Proof of address in Sweden (i.e. utility bill, lease contract, government form);
  • Proof of employment or school enrollment.

If you are not a citizen of an EU/EEA country, then also provide:

  • Personnummer (personal social security number in Sweden).

What is a Swedish Personnummer?

Citizens of EU and EEA countries have the legal right to open a Swedish bank account without a personnummer, which is a national identity number used for taxes and other public services. Citizens of other countries, on the other hand, must present a personnummer to their bank of choice¹.

If you have been issued a residence visa to study or work in Sweden for over six months, then you will have been given a personnummer during your registration. This identity document will ease the process of opening a bank account. Many banks will even allow you to open an account online with a personnummer.

If you are an EU/EEA citizen visiting the country for less than six months, then you will still be allowed to open an account. Banks may only provide basic services for you, however, because you do not have status as a legal resident of Sweden.

Can I Open a Bank Account in Sweden Without a Personnummer?

In short, yes you can open an account without a personnummer as long as you are a citizen of another EU/EEA country.

Even though Sweden does not currently use the Euro, it does have closer legal ties to the EU than its neighbours. Norway, for example, is not in the EU and Denmark has been able to opt-out of the eurozone. Swedish banks, however, legally cannot refuse to open a basic account for EU/EEA residents².

To ease this process, however, it is advised to call the bank of your choice ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

Option 1 — Opening a Bank Account with a High-Street Bank in Sweden

To open a bank account in Sweden with a traditional bank, you must visit a branch in-person with the required documentation in hand to verify your identity. You may contact your local branch to book an appointment, although walk-ins are usually welcome.

Can I Open a Bank Account Online in Sweden?

You may only open a bank account online if you have a Mobile BankID. Once your identity is verified in person, Swedish banks can issue you a Mobile BankID unique to you, which you may use as a digital identification number³. The service, which is accepted by banks across Sweden, also allows you to sign and send documents online with ease.

Jon Flobrant on Unsplash Gamla stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Whether you have to open an account in person or can open one online with a mobile BankID, take a look at three of Sweden's major banking options available for foreigners:

SEB Bank

SEB (Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken) Bank is headquartered in Stockholm as one of Sweden's largest banks. With 3.44 trillion SEK in assets, SEB Bank has branches across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. You may either use your mobile BankID or book an appointment to verify your identity and open an account:

  • Current Account: SEB Bank's standard account, the Privatkonto, connects you to banking apps for managing your day-to-day finances and paying your bills. While SEB Bank does not support Apple Pay, you can link the account to a card or to the 'Swish' network for payments and withdrawals.

Swedbank

Swedbank, founded in 1820, is centred in Sundbyberg and provides financial services across the Nordic-Baltic region. You can use your mobile BankID to open an account online. To find your nearest branch, you may visit their website:

  • Current Account: Get day-to-day banking services with Swedbank's digital and telephone banking services. Swedbank uses the 'Swish' network to simplify payments and transfers too.

Nordea

Nordea, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the parent bank of one of the largest bank groups in the Nordic region. You can speak to a representative at a Nordea branch or open an account online by providing your mobile BankID:

  • Current Account: Access Nordea's online and mobile banking apps as well as use the 'Swish' network for payments and transfers. Nordea integrates with Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, and runs the 'Nordea Investor' platform for individuals.
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Recommendation

We recommend high-street banks in Sweden for the following types of foreigners:

  • Recent arrivals who are permitted to work or study in Sweden for over 6 months;
  • Legal residents who already have a mobile BankID;
  • Workers who need to get paid in Swedish Krona (SEK);
  • 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 grown tremendously in Europe and around the world because they allow clients to open accounts fully online and provide high-quality mobile apps to make managing your personal finances fast and easy. Since these companies do not run expensive physical bank branches, they often charge no monthly fees and reduce other standard bank fees.

If you are living in Sweden or frequent the country, then you will want a bank account that operates in Swedish Krona (SEK). Using a foreign credit card as an alternative can be costly. You can be charged international transaction fees, make card payments with poor EUR to SEK exchange rates, or get hit with both.

David Becker on Unsplash Abisko National Park, Sweden Northern Lights

We will walk you through two digital bank options that give you access to Sweden's local currency. One is Lunar, a fully licensed bank that operates throughout the Scandinavian region and is only open to Swedish residents. The other is Revolut, a multi-currency account that gives foreigners and non-residents direct ownership of Swedish krona.

Let's take a closer look at these two major digital bank accounts offered in Sweden:

Lunar

Lunar is a duly-regulated bank with more than 400,000 users across Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. As an independent licensed bank, the company is able to offer more than just a current account, personal financial management, and a debit card. It also comes with a platform to invest in stocks and ETFs and a portal to apply for loans via the app.

To sign up with Lunar Bank, you can be an expatriate by you must have turned 18, and have a Swedish personnummer and BankID. In other words, you must be a taxpaying resident of Sweden to open a bank account with Lunar.

Here is a list of documents that Lunar will ask for to sign up, which will be done exclusively on their mobile app:

  • Swedish social security number (personnummer)
  • Driving license, national ID or passport;
  • Valid BankID.

Here is a closer look at the free and paid plans that Lunar offers its clients in Sweden:

  • Standard: For zero monthly fees, this plan gets you a Swedish current account and a Visa debit card. The card charges no international transaction fees and all ATM withdrawal fees are waived worldwide. Even get 1.05% in savings interest.
  • Premium: For 79 SEK per month, you get 3 unique accounts and 3 cards. In addition to everything you get in the Standard Plan, you also get travel and baggage insurance — a solid option for frequent flyers.
  • Pro: For 149 SEK per month, get 6 accounts and 6 cards to match. In addition, you get a metal card engraved with your signature.

Revolut

Revolut is one of the most widely-used digital banks in Europe, and for good reason. As a non-resident in Sweden, you can still convert your money — whether it is denominated in US dollars, Euros, or dozens of other currencies — into SEK at the mid-market exchange rate. You can then access your Krona with your Revolut debit card to spend like a local in Sweden.

You will also get your own Euro IBAN and UK account and you will get access to Revout's stock investment and cryptocurrency platforms. Since Revolut is not licensed as a Swedish bank, you will not get access to a Swedish IBAN, loans, or overdraft facilities.

To see how you can spend like a local in Sweden, have a look at this overview of Revolut's 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 of 2,000 SEK per month. You can exchange up to 1,000 British pounds worth of currency into SEK per month without any fees.
  • Plus: Plus accounts cost 33.99 SEK per month, including a debit card. The ATM withdrawal limit remains at 2,000 SEK 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 76.99 SEK per month, including a debit card, and there are no fees for ATM withdrawals up to 4,000 SEK per month. Currency exchanges without fees are unlimited.
  • Metal: Metal accounts cost 139.99 SEK per month, including a debit card. ATM withdrawals up to 8,000 SEK 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

Lunar is an innovative option for legal residents and citizens of Sweden, while Revolut offers a good alternative for non-residents who frequent the country.

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 who frequently travel to the EU or countries in the EEA;
  • For those without proof of residence in Sweden, 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 an excellent non-resident 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 Euro IBAN).

Just like with Revolut, you can use the Wise Multi-Currency Account to hold Swedish Krona and use the Wise Visa debit card to spend local currency without international card transaction fees. If you've recently arrived in Sweden and you need access to the local currency, then the Wise Multi-Currency Account will save you the hassle of purchasing Krona at an expensive bureau de change counter at the airport.

If you don’t have a bank account in Sweden but need to pay a bill, you can use your Krona account with Wise to pay it. Monito recommends this alternative to taking your bill to a Forex Bank, which will charge a handling fee and a weak exchange rate.

You do not need to show proof of residency in Sweden to open a multi-currency account. (Wise does require you to show proof of residence in either the EU/EEA, US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand). The identity verification process is completed with your valid government-issued identification on Wise's mobile or desktop app.

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

"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

While your Visa debit card can take up to two weeks to arrive in Sweden, you'll be able to instantly take advantage of other unique features provided by 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 SEK;
  • A multi-currency Visa debit card that's useful for paying in SEK without international transaction fees;
  • Access to Wise's industry-leading international money transfer service right from your account balance.

Foreigners Transferring to Swedish Krona in Sweden

To get a sense of just how useful Wise can be for foreigners in Sweden, let's suppose that you've just moved to Stockholm from Germany and you'd like to spend in SEK before you've registered for your personnummer or mobile BankID. 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 SEK at the mid-market rate, minus a low fixed fee (e.g. if you convert €1,000.00 to SEK, the total fee will be around 0.45% or €4.58);
  3. Hold the converted funds (around 10,556 SEK);
  4. Pay in SEK at Swedish stores and withdraw cash from ATMs with your Wise debit card.
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Recommendation

Experts at Monito recommend Wise's Multi-Currency Account for the following types of clients:

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

What’s the Best Bank in Sweden for Foreigners?

Have a look at this comparison table between Swedish high-street banks and banking alternatives offered by online digital banks that operate in Sweden.

Bank

SEB Bank

Lunar

Revolut

Wise

Provider Type

Bank

Neobank

Neobank

Neobank

Account Type

Current account

Current account

Multi-currency account

Multi-currency account

Card Type

Mastercard credit + debit

Visa credit + debit

Mastercard debit

Visa debit

Language(s)

Swedish, English

Swedish, English, Danish, Norwegian

English and 20 others

English and 15 others

Currencies

SEK

SEK

SEK and 31+ others

SEK and 51+ others

Monthly Fee

0.00 SEK

0.00 SEK

0.00 SEK

0.00 SEK

Swedish Residence Requirement

✔️

✔️

Ideal For

Tax-paying residents looking for a fully-fledged bank account with multiple services.

Tax-paying residents looking for a convenient, sleek, and fee-free bank alternative.

New arrivals in Sweden looking to spend and withdraw cash before acquiring a local bank account, or non-residents.

New arrivals in Sweden looking to spend and withdraw cash before acquiring a local bank account, or non-residents.

See MoreSee MoreTry RevolutTry Wise

How to Send Money to Sweden

Now that you've learned about how to open a bank account in Sweden, you may want to transfer your funds across borders.

To convert your money into SEK in your new Swedish bank account, you will need to use your home bank to make an international transfer in one of the following two ways:

  • Sending a wire transfer through your bank directly;
  • Sending a bank transfer via a money transfer specialist.

Our experts at Monito recommend that you do not use your bank to transfer money internationally because it will likely wire funds over the SWIFT network, a global bank network that charges 'middlemen' fees for transfer your money across borders and across currencies.

Online money transfer services, in the other hand, specialize in international payments and can hasten this process into hours and even minutes at a much lower price.

Geran de Klerk on Unsplash Gävle, Sweden

Use an Online Money Transfer Service

We recommend that you use a money transfer specialist to send your funds to your bank account in Sweden. Wise is one such company that offers these services, but there are many that operate through all corridors of the world. To find which one sends money from your home country to Sweden at the best rate, take a look at Monito's travel money comparison page.

Use a Foreign Exchange Broker

If you need to transfer large amounts of funds into your bank account in Sweden, such as life savings or business revenues, then foreign exchange brokers may be a better choice for you. They negotiate favourable exchange rates on your behalf, which can save you a lot of money on large transfers.

By analysing tens of thousands of searches on Monito's comparison engine, our experts found that Wise, Xendpay, and Currencyfair were the cheapest on average for small to medium-sized transfers from Germany to Sweden.

However, for large transfers (defined here as €30,000 or above), TransfergoXendpay, and Deutsche Bank may be most 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 Sweden

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References Used in the Article

1. Swedish Tax Agency. Moving to Sweden. Accessed 15 February 2022.

2. Karolinska Institutet. Guidance to opening a Swedish bank account. 1 July 2021.

3. BankID.com. How to get a BankID. Accessed 15 February 2022.

4. Lunar. Questions and Answers. Accessed 15 Feburary 2022.

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