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A good bank for foreigners?

Pref. with an English customer service/online bank

Crocie
post 18.Oct.2011, 02:09 PM
Post #1
Joined: 18.Oct.2011

Hi!
I am moving to Sweden next week, I have a job.
I will take care of my personsnumber next week aswell.

What is a good bank for foreigners in Sweden?
I will still need to pay bills in my homecountry and I am looking for a bank where I can easily access an english online banking site, english speaking customer service, maybe with handy tools like currency calculaters etc.

Basically a Swedish bank for expats.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
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eagaldor
post 18.Oct.2011, 02:40 PM
Post #2
Joined: 28.Sep.2011

Well if you want to open a bank account asap (without a Swedish ID card) you could do worse than Swedbank. I went into two SEB branches today (just to check!) and was refused an account both times. They wouldn't open a temporary one for me either...very odd. Swedbank gave me one with online banking and a maestro card (in the post) and I was out the door again in less than 5 mins. The online banking itself is in Swedish but he made sure I understood how to log in and gave me instructions in English. It's a temporary account but I can upgrade to a visa card when I get the ID. Most of the website is available in English.
I haven't yet encountered any customer service anywhere who have a problem with English.
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Rick Methven
post 18.Oct.2011, 02:51 PM
Post #3
Location: Linköping
Joined: 30.Nov.2005

I use Swedebank with online banking and they are pretty good. The online banking is in Swedish only but would you expect an English Bank to have a service in Swedish?

You can get most of the general info in English and International payments/receipts are pretty good
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Johno
post 18.Oct.2011, 02:59 PM
Post #4
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

One useful tip about Swedbank online is that there is a demo site where you can practice using that facilty without using real money or getting locked out. Its in Swedish but you can play there to your hearts content. Have a look at http://www.swedbank.se/idc/demo/ There is also a booklet in English you can download explaining how to use online banking so have that alongside you. It just may miss out the odd more complex action but it certainly has the basics. http://www.swedbank.se/idc/groups/public/@.../cid_151786.pdf
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007
post 18.Oct.2011, 03:10 PM
Post #5
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Apr.2006

handelsbanken has free internet banking (though probably not free international transfers) and in english. their technical support is also perfectly fluent in english and very helpful.

and pretty much any employee in the branch offices speak excellent english and will be willing to help you in english.
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Shibumi
post 18.Oct.2011, 03:28 PM
Post #6
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 30.Sep.2010

Have you searched the forum? This has been covered before.
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Johno
post 18.Oct.2011, 03:45 PM
Post #7
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

So has almost every other topic that gets asked, but new slants always come up.
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Crocie
post 18.Oct.2011, 04:28 PM
Post #8
Joined: 18.Oct.2011

Sorry, I browsed a bit, but no full search.
Thanks for the answers!
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Abe L
post 18.Oct.2011, 07:40 PM
Post #9
Joined: 20.Jul.2011

These topics come by all the time and it always seems like people have very mixed experiences. Whether you get a bank account or not seems to completely depend on what mood the bank employee you meet is in.

It does help if you have an income and have a Swedish person with you that can 'vouch' for you. Just buy a random coworker a few beers and they'll usually help you out.

Last, if you have a solid income get a 'private banker' assigned. It saves you a lot of time and annoyance as Sweden seems notorious for understaffing banks and 30m-2h queues are the most normal thing in the world. Mind that Swedes are anything but service minded. Though these private bankers are very useful once you do some business with them and generally take care of any business you ask them to.

If you care about personal experiences, I have very positive experiences with Nordea and Danske Bank and terrible experiences with SEB and Handelsbanken.
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skogsbo
post 18.Oct.2011, 07:48 PM
Post #10
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

QUOTE (7 @ 18.Oct.2011, 03:10 PM) *
handelsbanken has free internet banking (though probably not free international transfers) and in english. their technical support is also perfectly fluent in english and very helpful.

I will 2nd these guys (and girls), I got an account within 10mins (not as fast as some), card in the post the next day, pin the day after. Only line banking is a little faffy, but certainly very secure. I did have a Pers No. and took my passport with me, no forms to fill out - they did it all on the screen there and then, I just signed a print out at the end. Good english too, but at the end of the day, it's new trade for them.

Handelsbanken also now have lots of UK branches(think they are expanding according to my bank manager), if you are going to keep some financial interests over there it might be worth opening one of them over there, probably much easier and cheaper to transfer funds over. Good exchange rate at the moment if you're earning in Sweden, spending in the UK.

Although RBS now allow online international transfers (or so I'm told).
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Gefle383
post 18.Oct.2011, 08:31 PM
Post #11
Joined: 23.Dec.2009

Handelsbanken for me. They even let me open an account using a C/O address with no personal number whilst I was in the process of buying an apartment. I work abroad and use their online banking to pay all my bills and tranfer money etc. I find the staff really helpful and have never had any issues in 5 years with them. The only other bank I tried was Swedebank and they refused to open an account even though the estate agent that I was purchasing through seemed to have some connection ewith them! Any staff I've dealt with had no problems doing business in English though I do try as much as possible in Swedish.
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SeattleLove
post 22.Nov.2011, 07:27 PM
Post #12
Joined: 12.Jan.2011

I went into SEB today. Said I was moving here from America. Said I wanted to open an account and the teller asked if I was studying. I said no. She asked how long my visa was for, I said 2 years, but I will renew..then she told me I must have a personnumber, my passport, and a letter from my EMPLOYER! I said I am searching for job and I have interviews lined up and I needed to transfer some of my money to a Swedish account.

She said I couldnt open an account without a job. REALLY? So if I have a lot of money I want to put in their bank..they wont let me have an account without a job yet? Is that normal?
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PDX
post 22.Nov.2011, 07:38 PM
Post #13
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 2.Aug.2011

QUOTE (SeattleLove @ 22.Nov.2011, 06:27 PM) *
She said I couldnt open an account without a job. REALLY? So if I have a lot of money I want to put in their bank..they wont let me have an account without a job yet? Is that normal?


Of course this is not the case. The bank personnel you were facing just do not know about any other options. Their job is about extracting miniscule revenue streams from standard customers.

What you are looking for is private banking, all of the banks registered in Sweden, even foreign ones (such as HSBC), have this option. For example, here is a rather nice page of Nordea Private Banking:

http://www.nordeaprivatebanking.se/

If needed, they'll certainly send a private jet to pick you up (providing you are worth it). You will also get service in any dialect of English you prefer.

~~~PDX~~~
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skogsbo
post 23.Nov.2011, 08:56 AM
Post #14
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

If you are going to make a bank some money, either by saving or borrow loads of money with them, then all problems are surmountable. We are with Handelsbanken who are very good and we were looking for extra finance for business stuff, we wished to stay loyal, but also spent an hour here and there with other institutions like Swedbank etc.. We then went back to Handels and said that Swedbanks rates were better (which they were/are), the manager who we were dealing with said, don't worry it's all negotiable and it was.

As PDX says, counter staff are there are deal with the masses, if you want action or problem solving speak to the organ grinder and you'll get the service you require.
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MAFR
post 6.Jan.2012, 10:55 AM
Post #15
Location: Sweden
Joined: 3.Jul.2011

I use to have SEB bank during 15 months, but I got so up set with the bad services from them that I decided to move for another bank. I will not tell the details of my sad history with SEB, but I would not recommend it, basically not service minded. If you decide to use SEB, here a tip so do not call the customer services, but "log on" in the SEB Internet bank and put your telephone number for they call you back. It's much, much, much faster they call you back than be in the line during long time for English speaker.

Just now I am moving everything to Swedbank, because of the inability of SEB in give me a good services and finishing a proposal for my flat mortgage.

So far so good with Swedbank, just for information I've tried Handelsbanken, but took too much time to give me an answer for the mortgage, then I skipped it.

Good luck whatever you bank you select!

In Sweden will help a lot if you find somebody in the bank with similar background as you and your family or the person like the place where you come from, then you will have good services in the Bank Office.

PS. Johno thank you for share the DEMO and PDF of Swedbank, very useful.
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