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Planning a big move to Norway? One of the first things you’ll need when moving to another country is a bank account.
Opening a bank account in Norway isn’t difficult as long as you’re a Norwegian legal resident, but you will need to get familiar with different banking brands, processes and fees. This guide has you covered.
Plus we’ll introduce Wise as a good banking alternative to hold, send, spend and exchange NOK even before you leave the US.
Firstly, you’ll need a Norwegian National Identity Number¹. This is issued by the local tax assessment office to those entitled to stay or work in the country for more than six months.
Those planning to stay for less than six months will be given something called a D-Number instead, which can also be used to open a bank account. You should note that it can take up to two weeks for these to arrive.
Here’s what you need to open a bank account in Norway with DNB®² — one of the major Norwegian banks we’ll look at in more detail later.
You can’t usually open a bank account as a non-resident of Norway. Shop around to see if any of the banks you like offer specialist non-resident accounts — if not you could be better off with an alternative account from a non-bank provider like Wise.
You can’t usually open a Norwegian bank account from abroad. However, you may be allowed to open a non-resident account if you can find one that suits you.
These are not easy to find, though — DNB has stopped offering these services³, and for other banks such as Nordea®, you’ll need a BankID to open an account online⁴.
This is a digital verification ID issued by Norwegian banks — which means you’ll need another Norwegian bank account to have any luck navigating the system.
Yes, you can open an account online, but as we mentioned above, there’s a catch. Usually you must obtain a Bank ID first, which means you need to visit a bank branch in person.
You can obtain a Bank ID by taking your passport and D-Number/National Identity Number to any Norwegian bank. Once you have a Bank ID, you’ll then be able to open a bank account online. You can also use it to sign legal documents, bid on a house and even pay bills.
Yes, there are several banks who can open an account for you quickly. N26® for example offers an online-only experience if that’s what you’re in the market for⁵. However, these accounts are usually for holding euros, rather than NOK specifically.
Once you’ve applied for and received your D-Number/National Identity Number, you can open an account instantly by visiting a branch or online with Bank ID.
If you don’t have a Bank ID yet, you’ll have to physically visit a branch to open your account as well as obtaining a Bank ID in the process. To physically open an account in a branch, you’ll need to make an appointment first.
Deciding which bank is best for you depends on your needs and where exactly in Norway you’re moving to. Sparebanken Vest, for example, has branches and ATMs in only Western Norway.
Let’s take a look at the four big banks in Norway and the services that they offer their customers.
DNB Bank⁶ is one of the most popular banks in Norway. They offer a current account called Pluss⁷, which includes a VISA card with mobile and internet banking.
If Norwegian is still tough for you, DNB is also one of the only major Norwegian banks to offer an English language website. Plus, it’s relatively easy to open a bank account online if you already have a Bank ID.
Norway’s largest bank, Nordea⁸, has everyday, youth, child and saving accounts with the usual mobile banking options. Even though they don’t offer an English-language website, all of their accounts can be reviewed conveniently using built-in browser translation features like Google Translate in Chrome.
Sparebanken Vest®⁹ has the normal assortment of everyday, student and specialist accounts. Their accounts allow for online payments, easy cash withdrawals and use abroad, as with all other Norwegian banks.
Danish bank Danske®¹⁰ has been operating in Norway since the early 1900s. Three everyday accounts are available: the Basic Account, the Gold Reward Account, and the Platinum Account and Reward Card. Different accounts have their own features and fees.
Danske Bank also offers a fee-free student account and an impressive range of savings accounts.
Don’t expect the banking fees in Norway to be quite the same as you’re used to at home.
Accounts may have monthly charges, particularly for options with lots of perks and extras.
Plus, with the exception of student and child accounts, banks usually have an annual card fee for all customers — ATM fees also apply when you use your card.
And of course, there are commonly other charges for transactions, such as a percentage fee when spending in a foreign currency, and fees when you need to send money overseas for deposit.
It’s important to read through the fees that apply for the account you pick carefully. The fee schedule may well only be available in Norwegian, so get some help from a friend if you’re struggling to translate.
Or — as an alternative — you might consider a low cost account from a non-bank provider like Wise. More on why, next.
If you're looking for an alternative to banks, Wise is a great option for you.
The Wise Account lets you hold, spend, send and exchange NOK — so you may not even need a Norwegian bank account. You can manage your money online or through the Wise app, and can support 40+ currencies including NOK and USD.
You can get a linked Wise card for a small fee, which can be used in 170+ countries around the world for convenient spending and withdrawals. Best of all, whenever you need to switch to or from NOK — or any of the other supported currencies — you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate and low fees from 0.41%¹¹.
If you’re already in Norway, and a legal resident with a full set of documents, opening a bank account should not be too much of a hassle¹².
If you’re new or wanting to get your account open ahead of time, you may find it easier to get started with a flexible online and in-app service like Wise.
Hold and exchange NOK as easily as you can USD, and spend with your Wise card in Norway and around the world.
Wise may request additional documents to verify a customer's identity
Sources checked on 05.26.2023
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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