Your guide to opening a bank account in Finland
Finland is known for being nearly fully cashless—which means you’ll need your own Finnish bank account to get by in the country.
5 min read
Not only is Finland known for being one of the happiest countries on earth, it’s also rated as one of the most cashless places in the world. That means Finnish people are more likely to pay by card or smartphone both in cities and rural areas alike. If you’re planning on setting up residence in Finland, no matter which part of the country you choose, we’d definitely recommend getting a Finnish bank account. Thankfully, the process is relatively simple for foreigners. Here’s our guide to opening a bank account in Finland.
What to look for in a bank account in Finland
Finland has many banks to choose from—domestic, Scandinavian, international, and even online banks. When searching for the right bank, it’s wise to compare the fees that come with each one. Some banks charge a monthly maintenance fee, which is typically around €2 per month. Others charge a fee for online banking, though this is becoming less common. Keep in mind that many banks offer free accounts for students and young people, so be sure to ask if you are eligible for one of these deals. Finally, there are often fees for using an outside bank’s ATM, so make sure the bank you choose has convenient ATM locations or other ways to withdraw cash in case you need it.
What do you need to open a bank account in Finland?
In the past, opening a bank account in Finland required Finnish documents, which made the process challenging for expats. In 2014, however, Finland’s Discrimination Tribunal ruled that banks cannot discriminate against applicants with foreign documents. That means as long as you have the required documents, no matter what country they’re from, opening an account should be simple.
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How old do you have to be to open a bank account in Finland?
There is no minimum age for opening a bank account in Finland. In the case of minors, however, the parents or guardians must decide whether the child can use banking services independently. Both guardians must submit approval before an account can be opened.
What documents do you need to open a bank account in Finland?
What do I need to open a Finnish bank account? While each bank has its own requirements, you’ll likely need a combination of the following documents: a passport, a proof of address (such as a utility bill or a piece of official government correspondence), your Finnish personal identification number (called a henkilötunnus), a KELA card (which shows you can be covered by the Finnish social security system), and a visa or residence permit. Before you walk in, call ahead to make sure you have everything on their list.
If you do not yet have an address in Finland, you can open a non-resident bank account. However, this account comes with limitations. A non-resident bank account may not include online banking and some other services. This restriction should be lifted after three months of living in the country. Be sure to compare the limitations of different non-resident accounts before going this route.
How to open a Finnish bank account, step by step
Once you’ve gathered your documents, the next step is to walk into your local branch (Unfortunately at the time this article was published, Finnish banks don’t allow foreigners to open bank accounts online). Bank staff typically speak English, so you should have no trouble communicating even if you don’t speak Finnish. During the appointment, they will verify your documents and ask you a list of obligatory questions. Most banks are able to send bank statements in English, so it’s a good idea to request this service if you can. Ideally, you should walk out of your appointment with an active bank account and debit card in hand. It’s possible you might have to wait several days for your debit card to reach your address by post.
Can I open a bank account online in Finland?
While it’s not possible to open your Finnish bank account completely online as a foreigner, some banks allow you to start your application online and go into the physical branch to finalize the details. If you do decide to open a bank account online, just be careful when selecting your online banking institution—look for a bank account with a real banking license, not just an e-money service provider.
What is the difference between a banking license and an e-money license?
Companies with an e-money license are able to offer a number of limited services, such as money transfers and currency exchange. If you’re looking for the full suite of banking services—like getting direct deposits, making withdrawals, managing your savings, and more—you’re going to need a company with a banking license. A banking license is what makes a financial institution a bank. N26 earned its banking license in July 2016, which means we can offer all banking services and more, including protection on deposits up to €100,000.
How to open a bank account online with N26
Opening a bank account with N26 takes just 8 minutes, and can be done entirely online. While not a Finnish bank, we are a fully licensed European bank, which means your deposits are protected up to €100,000 per EU regulations. To get started, visit the N26 website or download the smartphone app. From there, enter your personal details and choose the type of account you’d like to open. (Need help deciding? Take a look at our comparison tool. Our Customer Support experts are on hand if you need any help.) You’ll be asked to jump on a quick video call to verify your identity with your ID. Finally, make a transfer into your new account and start making payments right away!
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Your money at N26
An account with N26 puts you in control of your money. Learn how to optimize your budget with Statistics, the features that shows your monthly spending at a glance. The Spaces feature allows you to organize your money into sub-accounts that sit alongside your main account, so you can save up for your dream vacation or a rainy day.
At N26, we’ve taken the red tape out of opening a bank account in Finland. Open an online account in just 8 minutes—all you’ll need is your smartphone, a valid address in Finland, and a valid photo ID. You’ll get an official German IBAN, so you can pay and be paid like a local. Plus, there are no hidden fees and you’ll always have access to English-speaking customer service, so you can focus on settling in to your new home.
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