Banking and Insurance
The main commercial banks in Sweden include Sparbanken Nord, Handelsbanken, and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB). Sweden has the highest rate of internet banking usage in the world and most of the major banks offer internet banking facilities in English.
The other main form of financial transaction in Sweden is the Giro, which is run by Nordea and is a process that instructs a bank to transfer funds electronically to another bank as cheques are rarely used in Sweden. Utility bills for example, have a giro attached which should be used when making payment if internet banking facilities are not used for this purpose.
To open a bank account in Sweden you will be required to show evidence of your address in your home country as well as a personal social security number from your home country. You will also need to show your passport or EU ID card and present as much personal identity proof as possible. This is due to recent changes in EU money laundering laws.
Credit and charge cards including American Express, Diners Card, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in Sweden. Currency and travellers cheques can be changed in banks and post offices throughout the country.
The majority of the Swedish insurance companies are small, local, non-life insurance companies. However, the insurance market consists mainly of a few larger companies and company groups with the five largest Swedish insurance companies, or groups, having a combined total of more than 85% of the market for non-life insurance.
In life insurance, the five largest insurance groups control more than 70% of the market. In recent years important Swedish life and nonlife insurance companies have been acquired by foreign insurance companies with a number of these establishing branch offices and agencies in the Swedish market.