While in Norway you will probably need a Norwegian bank account, especially if your stay exceeds six months. Access to a Norwegian bank account will enable you to receive salary payments and handle your finances.
Choosing a bank
There are a number of banks to choose from. Banks have different policies and sometimes there are even local variations within the same bank. Currently, only Nordea and DnB NOR offer English websites, and DnB NOR is the only bank that provides online banking in English.
Your host institution might be able to offer advice as to which banks provide the best services to international clients.
Banks with comprehensive, nationwide services:
Opening a bank account
To open a bank account you need a Norwegian national identity number and an adress in Norway. Some banks also accept a D-number. Usually you have to apply for an identity number or D-number at the Norwegian Tax Administration.
You will have to show up personally to sign the account agreement. Bring your passport, a passport photo and your Norwegian national identity number. For some countries additional documentation may be required. You may be asked if you plan to transfer money out of Norway.
Most banks attach a VISA card to your bank account. You will receive the VISA card and your PIN code separately by post. To apply for a credit card you may have to document employment and salary.
When you move from Norway you should return you bank card. Usually you have to pay an annual fee to keep the card even if the account is 0,-. You can still keep your bank account and internett bank.
- All banks offer online banking which allows you to transfer money and pay bills without paying service fees.
- Giros can be used as an alternative, but you will have to pay a service fee.
- Banks offer either an ordinary electronic chip bank account debit card that can be used at any cashpoint (ATM) or point of sale terminal in the country. Alternatively you will be offered an international debit card, such as VISA. Any debit card also serves as an identity card in Norway, as it has your photograph, national identity number and signature printed on it.
- Normally, it is also possible to get a credit card, e.g. MasterCard.
- Please note that cheques are no longer in common use in Norway and have high handling fees.
Transferring money abroad
Online banking is the easiest and cheapest way to transfer money to a foreign bank account. However, you may also use money transfer companies, the post office, or banks. Prices vary.
Housing loans require some form of security, for instance income or a surety. Contact your bank to find out how much you can borrow and what interest rate the bank offers. Most mortgages have a floating rate that varies according to the market rate. The website Finansportalen (in Norwegian) offers a useful overview of current mortgage rates.
First-time buyers of property in Norway may apply for a first-time buyer mortgage from their bank. You can borrow up to 80 % of the purchase price.
Please note that all members and pensioners belonging to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund can apply for a housing loan with advantageous rates through the housing loan agreement. You may also be granted a loan to re-finance a housing loan.
Bank deposit insurance
Bank deposits in the Norwegian banking system are guaranteed through a sound deposit guarantee scheme. The guarantee is valid for all banks, including foreign-owned banks. All deposits in any account are guaranteed up to a value of NOK 2 million. This is a favourable scheme for Norwegian bank clients.
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