The banking system in Sweden

Opening a bank account in Sweden
Updated 2021-07-20 14:26

Wondering how to open a bank account in Sweden? What are the required documents? Find out in this article.

Cash in Sweden, as in most Scandinavian countries, is quickly becoming obsolete. And since most transactions are done via debit cards or phone payments, opening a bank account is one of the first things you will need to do in Sweden. Formalities will vary depending on your nationality and your bank of your choice but you should know that it is almost impossible to open a bank account without a Swedish civic number.

Opening a bank account as an expat

The first thing you need to do is apply for a Personnummer at the nearest Skatteverket which is the Tax Agency. Once you have it, you can go to your bank of choice to open an account.

The following documents also have to be produced:

  • Your Swedish ID card or a valid passport/EU national ID (this varies from bank to bank)
  • A certificate or letter issued by your employer, confirming your position within your company (or similar documentation if you own your own company/are self-employed)
  • The Personbevis, that is your social security number (issued by the Tax Agency)
  • Proof of address, such as your lease contract

Good to know:

Note that the bank of your choice may also request you to be accompanied by a Swedish national who can confirm your identity.

In all cases, banks are obliged by law to accept applications for the opening of a bank account, unless refusal can strongly be justified.

The banking system in Sweden

The first thing you need when opening a bank account is to get a debit card. Card payments are prominent in everything from shopping at the supermarket to buying bus tickets on the bus ' so much so, that most Swedes don't carry wallets anymore but instead have mobile cases that double as cardholders.

Another very important thing to set up is online banking: nowadays, banking in Sweden is something that mostly happens in your laptop, or on your phone. You will be paying online anything from rent to bills to your taxes and any communal fees. Thankfully most banks offer online and phone banking as part of their standard process when opening a new account. You will probably just need to activate it.

A key feature of the digital dominance in Swedish banking is a service called BankID (or Mobile BankID). This BankID basically works as identification and verification of identity in several instances: with it, you can sign documents such as contracts, complete and authorise transactions and generally do anything that would require your physical signature. You can opt for a mobile version or a stationary one that you can download and keep on your laptop.

Good to know:

The stationary version is free, whereas the mobile version comes with a fee. The fee varies depending on your bank of choice, so make sure to enquire about it.

Useful links:

SEB Bank




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