There are over 130 banks in Sweden. These include commercial banks, savings banks, cooperative banks, and foreign banks.
Sweden is mainly dominated by the big four major banks, covering about 80% of the banking industry’s total assets.
These major corporations are Swedbank, Handelsbanken, Nordea, and SEB.
Let’s take a closer look at these Sweden banking pillars and get to know other banks that can also offer reliable banking services — both Swedish and foreign alike.
Banking System in Sweden
Sweden’s excellent financial system means you can live in any of the cities this country has to offer.
Sweden’s banking system maintains an efficient and stable system for deposits, finance, payment intermediation, and risk management.
In fact, the oldest central bank in the world — Sveriges Riksbank — is in Sweden.
The Riksbank is Sweden’s central bank and is responsible for monetary policy.
The banking sector in Sweden is of fundamental importance for economic health, and it is a prerequisite for both private and corporate customers for long-term financial security.
One notable feature of the Swedish banking system is its focus on digitalisation. It is one of the first countries to adopt cashless payment services.
10 Best Banks in Sweden
Check out this list of the ten best banks in Sweden. Let’s start with the 4 largest banks
1. Nordea Bank
Also known as Nordea Sweden Bank, it is a Nordic financial services group headquartered in Helsinki, Finland.
Nordea Bank also offers insurance, investment banking, and security brokerage services.
As one of the well-established universal banks, Nordea’s 200-year history and high annual total assets prove its great contribution to growing Nordic economies.
As of December 2022, the bank’s market capitalisation has reached about SEK 410 bn.
2. SEB Bank
The bank also offers universal banking services and is known for its focus on providing a sustainable financial situation.
Founded in 1856 and with 14 worldwide branches, its activities comprise not mainly banking services, but SEB also carries out significant life insurance services.
SEB reported an operating profit of SEK 11.6 billion for the first quarter of 2023, with a return of 17.9%, a CET capital ratio of 19.2%, and a capital management buffer of 480 basis points.
As a commercial bank, SEB offers other services like financial solutions, securities brokerage, private loans, and mutual funds to residents and non-residence in Sweden.
3. Svenska Handelsbanken AB
Svenska Handelsbanken AB is the second biggest banking institution in Sweden with respect to total assets. It boasts over 400 branches spanning over 20 countries.
Their services are available across the following countries:
- The Netherlands
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
In a remarkable first quarter of 2023, the bank reported an astonishing 57% increase in underlying profit compared to last year and an impressive 15.0% return on equity.
This impressive performance shows that Svenska Handelsbanken AB is a force to be reckoned with in the banking industry.
Bank offers investment banking and trading services, including equity, currency, and fixed-income trading services.
Founded in 1820, Swedbank has over 7 million customers in their home markets — Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Swedbank is also present in other Nordic regions, the U.S. and China.
In 2022, Swedbank had a dividend of SEK9.75 per share to its owners, including savings banks, pension funds, small-scale savers, individual investors, and non-profit organisations.
5. Forex Bank AB
Forex Bank AB is one of the world’s largest foreign banks, created in 1965.
But after 2003, the bank started giving services like loans, accounts, cards, and other services.
They also now provide payment services like online and mobile app banking services.
As of 2022, Forex Bank has reported a $147 m Net Operating Income and a 77% Recurring Revenue.
6. Ikano Bank
This was founded in 1988 by the Kamprad family’s international corporate finance group.
It was previously named “IkanoBanken” but was rebranded in 2009 to Ikano Bank.
In their 2022 annual report, the bank’s interest income increased to SEK 2,229 million — driven by higher lending volumes and margins.
Interest expense also increased to SEK 404 million.
7. Avanza Bank
Avanza Bank has headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden and has operated with a small workforce since 1999.
Avanza has over 1.7 million customers with over SEK 700 billion in total assets — 6% of the Swedish saving market.
In 2022, Avanza added 116,600 new customers and won the Swedish Quality Index’s “Year’s Most Satisfied Savings Customers” award for the 13th consecutive year.
8. ICA Banken
ICA Braden Bank started operating in 2022. It is headquartered in Solna, Sweden, and serves about 713,000 customers.
This Swedish bank operates under the ICA brand, known for its food and health products and services.
ICA Banken’s annual 2022 report shows their revenues amounting to 2,302 SEK m and an operating profit of 344 SEK m.
9. Resurs Bank
Since 1977, Resurs Bank has built up a customer base of 6 million customers in the Nordic region.
Resurs Bank has held a banking license since 2001 and is a subsidiary of Resurs Group, which operates in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.
At the end of the fourth quarter of 2022, the Group had 647 employees and a loan portfolio of SEK 37.2 billion.
It also reported a total assets income increase of 9% to SEK 1,662 million.
10. Westra Wermlands Sparbank
Started in 1856, Westra Wermlands Sparbank is amongst the oldest banks in Sweden.
It is a regional bank based in Karlstad, Sweden, serving the Värmland region.
Although this bank still operates as Westra Wermlands Sparbank, it was purchased by Swedbank Group in 1998.
This savings bank provides services like retail banking products, wealth management, pension plans, consumer loans, and car loans.
Can a Foreigner Open a Bank in Sweden?
Want to open a bank account in Sweden? The process is actually easy.
Those with legal residency in an EU/EEA country and valid identification, such as a passport, can apply without any issues.
For those without Swedish residency, non-resident bank accounts are available and can be used for receiving payments or paying bills.
However, obtaining a personal identification number from the Swedish Tax Agency is mandatory before being able to make use of these accounts.
Withdrawing Money From Abroad
ATMs are the best way to access money abroad and are increasingly available.
Withdrawing cash in Sweden is possible, depending on your bank account.
Your bank or credit card company may charge fees for withdrawals overseas. It may also have a limit on the amount you can withdraw daily.
Good thing there are many financial institutions in Sweden for expats that you can rely on.
The Best Bank in Sweden for Expats
Choosing the right bank is important for an Expatriate living in Sweden, so here are a few you may check.
Revolut is a fintech company that provides a range of financial services through the mobile app.
Revolut offers users a multi-currency account with no hidden fees, low foreign exchange market rates, and free international transfers.
The interest rate is 1.67% annually.
One of the unique features of Bunq is its “Green Card,” which allows users to plant a tree with every €100 spent using the payment card.
Bunq ATM’s first four monthly withdrawals are free, while the ones that follow five will cost you 0.99 EUR each.
Opening an account in Swedbank as a resident is free of charge. However, opening one as a foreigner will cost you roughly 2,000 SEK.
Most of their online services are free. However, expect to pay some transaction fees when you go to the bank’s branches.
Handelsbanken is known for its decentralised approach to banking, with each branch operating independently.
You will be free of charge if you are 18-26 and get CSN study funding in your Handelsbanken account.
A Swedish bank account from Handelsbanken will cost you 25 SEK per month.
N26 is a purely online bank based in Germany, offering free virtual contactless N26 Mastercard debit cards (with free ATM withdrawals in Euros) accepted worldwide.
Due to the significant savings on foreign exchange and ATM withdrawal costs, N26 is popular among Expats in Sweden.
Services Offered by Banks in Sweden
Many banking services for individuals and businesses in Sweden offer the following:
1. Checking Accounts
A checking account is an essential tool for individuals and businesses alike.
It offers convenient access to funds for daily operations, allowing them to deposit or withdraw money with ease.
2. Savings Accounts
Savings accounts allow individuals and businesses to save money while earning interest on their deposits.
Some commercial banks may have withdrawal limits to encourage individuals to save money.
A loan is a form of debt that banks offer to allow individuals or corporate customers to borrow money.
A few banks in Sweden include consumer loans, unsecured loans, business loans, and mortgage loans.
4. Online Banking
Online banking, or Internet banking, offers a private banking service for customers to access their current accounts and manage their finances online.
It is a convenient way for asset management. It allows customers to access their accounts 24/7. The best part? There’s no need to visit a physical bank branch.
5. Mobile Banking
Mobile banking is a private banking service that allows customers to access and manage their finances using an app on their smartphone.
It offers many of the same features as online banking but offers more convenience as it offers Q.R. code scanning.
Additional Benefits of Banking in Sweden
Here’s a list of the benefits of using Sweden Bank services.
1. Low Fees
Most financial institutions in Sweden do not charge a regular ATM fee, but most will include a yearly maintenance fee.
Banks in Sweden offer fee-free banking options for students, young people, and customers who maintain a certain balance in their accounts.
2. High Interest Rates
Swedish banks offer higher interest rates on savings accounts than banks. This is because of Sweden’s strong economy and low inflation rates.
The higher the interest rates, the more profit and asset quality people may gain.
3. Easy Access to Funds
Many banks in Sweden offer online and mobile banking services that allow customers to access their current accounts anytime and anywhere.
Swedish banks also have a large network of ATMs and branches nationwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions relating to the best banks in Sweden.
How Secure Are the Banking Services Offered by Banks in Sweden?
There are credit rating agencies that have given Sweden banks very high ratings.
Professional actors like rating agencies would notice if the internal models of a Swedish bank had flaws and limitations.
Are There Any International Fees With Using Banks in Sweden?
The costs are frequently between 1% and 3% of the purchase price and may vary between banks charging them for ATM withdrawals.
Swedish may easily manage their money and access their funds — thanks to a wide range of services provided by Sweden’s top banks.
Whether you’re looking for a checking account, savings account, loan, or online/mobile banking services, Sweden banks have you covered.