Like what I mentioned in my previous blog, we had to secure our Swedish ID cards first because it seems to be a requirement and would make it easier for you to open a bank account. In this blog, let me tell you about our experiences about the three different major banks and what was for us the easiest bank to open a bank account in Sweden. **DISCLAIMER: This is just a re-telling of our own experience and it would still be up to you to decide which bank will best suit your needs.**
For our first bank, we tried to open in Länsförsäkringar Bank. My husband needed to immediately open a bank account for his salary at work. This was the bank that was located on the same building of my husband’s office. So naturally, we tried to open there first. However, when we got there, we were informed that we needed to book an appointment to open a bank account. We went last December 14, 2020 and the earliest booking appointment given to us was January 19, 2021 (so like more than a month’s time). Still we decided to take the appointment so that we could be sure that we have the slot already since it takes a long time for the schedule.
The second bank we tried was the Handelsbanken. This bank was recommended to us by our migration consultant who helped us with our papers since the website easily has an English translation and being British herself, she found it easy to deal with them. When we got to the bank, there was a small queue waiting outside because apparently, one customer can only be catered at a time. Because of the current pandemic, they only allow one customer at a time and we saw that there’s only one person inside assisting the customer. So if the previous customer before you has a lot of concerns or questions, you have no choice but to wait outside. And mind you, it was winter time and freezing cold outside. My husband and I waited for 30 – 45 minutes standing outside in a 2 degree Celsius weather. We even got lucky because 3 different people who’s in front of us decided to just leave because it was taking so long and it was really cold outside.
When we finally got our turn, we asked if we could open a bank account. The lady gave each of us a form that needs to be filled-out. We thought that we could fill it out right then and there inside the bank (on the side) while she cater to other customers. However, the lady instructed us to just come back once the form has been filled-out. I gently asked asked if we could just go to one side of the bank to fill-out the forms and so that she could accept the other customers already waiting outside. The lady was adamant that we need to go out of the bank (preferably fill out the form in our home) and then just come back the next day. In our heads, we couldn’t believe why we had to go home just to fill-out the said forms when we’re already complete with the requirements and all we need was to submit the forms right then and there. Since we definitely didn’t want to argue with the bank personnel, my husband and I just decided to just leave the bank. Honestly, we just felt at that time that they didn’t want our business and we had no choice but to respect that.
Getting anxious and starting to get a little bit tired because of our experiences with the first 2 previous banks, we tried our luck in Nordea since it’s considered to be one of the biggest banks in Scandinavia and it was located near the Handelsbanken. Thankfully, there’s 2 bank personnel inside and 1 guy was free so he immediately opened the bank to let us inside and we didn’t have to wait. We asked to open a bank account and told him we got our personnummers and Swedish ID card. He just asked us the reason why we need to open the bank account and aside from informing him that we need it for my husband’s salary, we also have to pay our rental apartment and utilities and also for groceries as well.
We then just presented to him our Swedish ID cards, our resident permit cards and passports and he immediately began the process of opening the bank account, yay!!! We heaved a sigh of relief as this guy patiently assisted us even with our Mobile Bank IDs to be set-up on each of our phones. The Customer Service is just really great and awesome and we’re so grateful that we got to open the account with him. We definitely left the bank with a smile on our faces, grateful for his assistance as we finally got over this hurdle. We found their online banking really easy to use and we even got our home insurance (IF) through them. So if someone were to ask us which bank to open in Sweden, we’d absolutely recommend Nordea based on our wonderful experience with them.
Going back to the scheduled bank appointment in Länsförsäkringar Bank. The day before our booking appointment (January 18), a personnel from their bank called to remind us of our booking appointment for the next day. He asked us if we have a bank account already with another bank and we told him that yes, we opened already with Nordea. He asked us if we intended to discontinue Nordea and we said no. He said that since we’re good with Nordea already, there’s no reason why we still need to open a bank account with them. So he just asked permission to cancel the appointment and so we just decided not to continue with it. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural thing here that once you already have a bank account with a ceratin bank, you can’t open another one with another bank. Whereas back home in the Philippines, it doesn’t matter if you already have one. I mean each of the banks will definitely encourage you to open a bank account with them because it’s all business for them and you would definitely be availing their services. We just realized this was just one of the glaring differences between the two countries, I suppose. Oh well…. 💟
Be grateful and kind,