Finnish Bank Accounts, Charges & Interest
Foreign ID is accepted at Finnish banks
Many foreigners in Finland have had problems accessing banking as their foreign ID has been rejected by Finland's banks. On 22nd July 2014 Finland’s Discrimination Tribunal ruled that banks cannot discriminate against people who only hold identity documents issued by foreign governments.
National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal of Finland: yvtltk.fi Search "banking"
Top Tip: Forget about using cheques / checks in Finland!
Checks have not been in use for over 20 years. If you do need to deposit a cheque into your account it can be a lengthy and expensive process, and may require an appointment with a bank officer. Make sure you have photo ID and your account details with you.
Quick Bank Links
Business customers go here
Opening a personal account is generally fast and simple, although the documentation required varies slightly between banks. To minimise the possibility of difficulty, take numerous forms of photo identification and documents proving your address.
Someone, if not everyone, in the bank will speak English. However, some foreign languages could prove problematic so take along a Finnish friend who can translate, if you have one!
Go to the nearest convenient branch of the bank you choose, and chances are you'll be walking out with an active bank account very soon afterwards!
An EU / EEA citizen may well succeed with the minimum documentation:
- Additional photo ID
- Proof of address
Additional documentation: Success will be ensured if the following can also be provided:
- Finnish personal ID number (henkilötunnus - more info.) &/or
- Kela card - with photo is best (more ), plus
- Residence permit if applicable (more info.)
Top Tip: When you are opening your account, confirm the following features:
- statements will be sent to you in English (other options are Finnish or Swedish)
- online banking facilities will be available (for paying bills and doing almost all your banking)
- you can use your ATM card in shops, restaurants etc. (i.e. not just cash machines)
Charges (bank fees / service charges / service fees) vary between banks, and even within the same bank charges vary according to the 'level' of customer. For example, Nordea customers are designated as Normal, Preferred or Key; the greater the volume of banking you do, and the greater the amount of products and services you subscribe to, the higher level customer you become and the more free services you receive.
You can check pricing and terms in English for all services at the following bank pages:
Nordea > Prices
Osuuspankki > Service charges (link at bottom of page)
Danske Bank > Prices and terms (link at bottom of page)
The interest rates on your deposits will not excite you. While you can obtain better rates for long-term deposits, for example, the situation over the last few years has been a steady decline in interest rates:
The average interest rate on household deposits was 0.16% in June 2017 - a gradual slide from 2.20% in September 2011.
Source: Bank of Finland
My own experience: In 2014 Nordea advised that due to the global economy, market pressures, situations beyond their control, etc., the new rate of interest on my accounts was 0.0%. Nordea's operating profit was €4,366,000,000.
Similarly in late 2019 Nordea advised that a new monthly account charge of about €10 was being introduced for the same reasons. Their profit is still over €4 billion.
Interest Rates on Finnish Loans and Deposits
Comprehensive figures on loans, deposits, housing loans, student loans and more are available searching the Bank of Finland - the fourth oldest central bank in the world!
- Statistics www.suomenpankki.fi
- Summary of Interest Rates on Finnish Loans and Deposits: Suomenpankki - Interest rates
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