Så, banking in Sweden
If you are going to stay in Sweden for two years, then don’t hesitate opening a bank account. It’s just easier. Do yourself a favor.
Unlike other countries, opening a bank account here in Sweden is rather difficult. I thought banks would welcome me with open arms and yelling “gimmie all your money!”
Before you even start, you need to gather a bunch of necessary documents:
- Housing contract
- University acceptance letter.
- Swedish residency card…
- SWEDISH PERSONAL NUMBER/ SWEDISH IDENTITY CARD
- List goes on…
First, the bank open for short periods of a day… Something like 10:00 to 16:00 (or earlier). So you really need to make a conscious effort to go to the bank. You don’t “happen to pop by the bank”. Also prepare to spend two hours at the bank (waiting time included).
Second, you can’t really deposit a foreign cheque to a Swedish bank account. I took a traveler’s cheque with me before leaving Canada. Bad idea. I got told here that the Swedish bank needs to verify my cheque, which costs around 300 bucks, and they charge 1~2% service fee on top. Hmmmm…
Proverbial don’t put all eggs in one basket, bring some cash, your debit card, your visa card, and have ways for family back home to wire you money.
Thirdly, if you need to take out money from a foreign debit card, you can only perform such acts on an ATM machine. The maximum limit is 4000 SEK (some are 3000 SEK). What does this mean? If you want to pay for rent AND groceries, you need to visit the ATM on two different occasions. What a pain.
Finally, now you have the cash in hand and you want to deposit into your newly opened Swedish bank account, you still need to do so at the ATM machine. Banks in Sweden just don’t work with cash!
To make things worse, there are only a handful of ATMs around town that allows cash depositing. These machines are also nuisance. It draws in the money, counts it, scans it and most likely spits out a few notes. Then you have to flatten every crease on the bill. (wait, did I mention I am trying to deposit the money I just took out?) agh! Of course there is a long queue of eager people waiting behind you. (music) under pressure!
You can pretty much barter in Sweden using coffee coupons… trick of the day!
Now I will tell you what that calculator-looking thing is… It is your personal security passcode generator. It produces a unique code each time you try to login to your web banking. So don’t lose it. The security (at least the way it seems) is pretty strong. Every time you make a transaction, you also need to get a randomly generated code.
My biggest complaint by far with banking is that everything is in Swedish. I choose to go with Swedbank because their home page have an option for English. But once you log in, everything is in Svenska.
I think Chalmers have some sort of deal with SEB. But I am ok with Swedbank right now. I also heard good Forex bank is good.
Food for thought…
Most importantly, remember to wash your own coffee cups! Swedish proverb: your mommy doesn’t work here!