How to get access to banking services in Norway

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How to get access to banking services in Norway

To get access to banking services in Norway you must present a valid identity document, as well as other documentation the bank may ask for. You will also have to explain why you need the banking services you request.

Here you find information about different banking services in Norway, and what documentation and information the bank needs from you in order to give you access to the services.

Norwegian banks offer various banking services. “Basic banking services” are as a main rule available for everyone living in Norway, irrespective of citizenship. Basic banking services include bank account, debit card and access to online banking. Other kinds of services, like loans, credit card, BankID etc., the bank can choose to offer after a risk assessment of the customer.

Customer due diligence

According to the anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, banks are obliged to take measures to prevent being used (intentionally or unintentionally) by criminals for money laundering activities. The obligations involve due diligence measures whereby the bank must identify and verify the identity of the customer, as well as obtaining other relevant information about the customer.

Proof of identity

You will have to provide a valid identity document to get access to banking services. Which identity documents the bank will ask for and accept to verify your identity will be decided according to a risk-based approach, hereunder taking into account which services the customer requests.

Valid identity documents may be:

  • Valid Norwegian passport
  • Valid foreign passport
  • Valid immigrant’s passport
  • Valid refugee travel document

A national identity card from an EU/EEA country may also, in certain cases, be accepted as a valid identity document according to a risk-based approach.

Please note that the bank may ask for additional documentation to verify your identity before giving you access to its services.

You will also need to provide your residential address.

Purpose of the use of banking services

You must be prepared to explain why you need the banking services you request, and how you plan to use them. You may want to deposit your salary or other income, pay rent and your bills, transfer or save money. The bank may ask you where your money comes from.

Bank accounts

Banks offer different types of bank accounts, including current accounts and savings accounts. Normally, your salary will for instance be transferred to the current account, and this account will be withdrawn from when using a payment card (see below). The savings account has a higher interest rate than the current account, and it is therefore advisable to transfer the money that you do not intend to spend in short-term to the savings account. You may transfer money back and forth between the different accounts.

Payment cards

With a payment card, you can withdraw cash from ATMs, and pay for your goods in regular shops and online shops. Banks issue various kinds of payment card. The most common is debit card, where the payment is withdrawn directly from your (current) bank account. This card will normally not allow you to spend more money than you have on your account. It is however possible to agree with the bank on a limited credit on the account the card is connected to.   

Another type of payment card is credit card. When you use a credit card, the money you spend is not withdrawn from your account immediately, instead the money is borrowed from the bank. The card therefore gives you the opportunity to pay for goods and services without access to cash and without charging your account straight away.

Online and mobile banking

To get access to online and mobile banking you need BankID or other login methods, e.g. code device solutions. Online banking gives you the opportunity to check the balance on your accounts, how you have spent your money and transaction history. You will also be able to transfer money between your own accounts, transfer money to other people’s accounts and pay your bills.

Mobile banking offers a quick and easy way of checking your balance and using other banking services on your smart phone or tablet.

Online banking also allows you to set up direct debits (AvtaleGiro) and electronic invoices (eFaktura). AvtaleGiro is a service that allows invoices from selected suppliers, such as your electricity supplier, to be paid automatically from your account. eFaktura means that invoices from selected suppliers are automatically presented through your online banking.

Transferring money abroad

Once you have opened a bank account, you may transfer money in a safe and secure way to an account abroad, using your online banking solution.

To send money abroad, you will need the following information:

  • The payee’s account number – for Europe and some other countries outside of Europe you need the International Bank Account Number (IBAN).
  • The payee bank’s BIC/SWIFT code.
  • The payee’s name and address.
  • The currency you want to pay in.
  • Information for the Norwegian Currency Register for amounts above NOK 100 000.

Please note that the bank has the right to put restrictions on the customer’s access to make international payments.

BankID

BankID is a personal electronic ID for secure identification and online signing.

In the physical world, you can use your passport etc. to verify your identity. In the electronic world, you can use BankID. In the physical world, you use a pen to sign a contract, whilst in the electronic world, you can use BankID to sign documents and notifications online.

BankID allows you to sign documents electronically, so you do not have to present yourself in person or send signed documents though the mail. A BankID issued from one bank may be used also to access services in other banks. BankID may also be used for other services than banking services, for instance when applying for kindergarten placement, changing your address, offering on a house for sale, applying for a loan, or registering property right documents. 

To get BankID issued you must be over the age of 15, although from the age of 13 to 15 it can be issued with parent/guardian consent. Some banks choose to not issue BankID to persons under the age of 18.  

 “Vipps” – mobile payment application  

The mobile payment application “Vipps” allows you to transfer money with your smart phone, instead of through your online/mobile banking or visiting a branch. The customer’s account is linked to the phone number and you will therefore make the transaction to the payee’s phone number instead of his/her account. The transaction is made through the Vipps mobile application.

To get access to Vipps, you must have established a customer relationship with a bank, and the bank will have to approve you, register your information and verify your identity. You must be over the age of 15. There are some restrictions on the amount to be transferred through Vipps.

Debit cards with your picture and BankID

BankID and debit card with your picture are both identification instruments, and therefore the requirements in the bank’s customer due diligence process are stricter than for basic banking services. As a main rule, to get BankID you need to present a Norwegian passport, documents equal to Norwegian passport or a foreign passport.

Refusal of banking services

The bank can refuse to give you access to banking services if:

  • You fail to provide valid identity documents or other documentation the bank asks for.
  • The bank finds your explanation for why you need the services unsatisfactory.
  • Offering you banking services would be an infringement of regulation/law.

The bank can also decline banking services when your conduct in a former process with the bank has been considered dishonest.

Things to keep in mind…

  • What kind of documents you need to bring/send to the bank.
  • You need to be able to communicate with the staff of the bank, either yourself or through a translator.
  • You may be asked where your money comes from and how you plan to use the banking services.