Opening a bank account in Norway

To open a bank account in Norway, you will need to provide proof of identity. You will also need to explain what you plan to use the account for. Read on to see which documents the bank will require from you when opening an account and using various banking services.

Proof of identity

To open a bank account, you must be able to provide proof of identity. The following forms of ID are accepted:

  • Residence permit from a Schengen country
  • Norwegian bank card with identifying photo
  • National identity card from an EU/EEA country
  • Norwegian driving licence
  • Norwegian Ministry of Defence ID card
  • Norwegian Police ID card
  • Norway Post ID card
  • Norwegian asylum seeker ID card

 You will also need to provide your address. Note that the bank may ask for additional documentation before it can open an account for you.

Why do you need a bank account?

You will need to explain what you plan to use the account for, and how you plan to use it. It may be that you want to deposit your wages or other income, in which case the bank will ask where this money will come from. If you have a bank account, you can use it to pay your rent or other bills, to transfer money, or to save.

You have the right to open a bank account…

In principle, everyone has the right to open a bank account in Norway, whatever their reason for being in the country. A bank account is defined as an account where you can deposit money.  Banks and some other financial institutions have a duty to accept deposits from the public. Bank accounts come in different forms, such as current accounts and savings accounts.

… but in some cases the bank may reject your application

The bank may not open an account for you if:

  • The bank is unsure of your identity
  • The bank feels you have provided insufficient information about why you want to open an account
  • The bank would be breaking the law if it opened an account for you

The bank may also turn you down for an account if you have previously been dishonest with the bank.

Preventing money laundering is important and means that banks must be particularly careful when taking on a new customer.

Things to bear in mind

  • The documents you will need to take with you to the bank
  • You will need to be able to talk to staff at the bank, if necessary through an interpreter
  • The bank will ask you where your money will come from and what you plan to use the account for

Bank cards with and without identifying photo, BankID and credit cards

Regular payment cards (debit cards) are linked to your current account. You will not be able to take out cash with your card or use your card for payments unless you have money in your account. The bank may, however, offer a limited overdraft facility on the account the card is linked to.

To obtain a non-photo payment card, you will need to prove your identity with one of the following:

  • Valid Norwegian passport, documents equivalent to a Norwegian passport, or a foreign passport
  • Residence permit from a Schengen country together with written documentation showing your D-number or personal identity number
  • National identity card from an EU/EEA country
  • Norwegian driving licence issued after 1 January 1998
  • Norwegian Ministry of Defence ID card
  • Norway Post ID card
  • Norwegian asylum seeker ID card

If you want the bank to issue a card with an identifying photo or a BankID, which can then be used as proof of identity, you will need a valid Norwegian passport, documents equivalent to a Norwegian passport, or a foreign passport. No other forms of ID can be accepted. Documents equivalent to a Norwegian passport are:

  • Norwegian immigrant passport (dark blue)
  • Norwegian refugee travel permit (dark green)

To obtain a card with an identifying photo, you must also be able to document that you are in Norway legally.

Using payment cards

You can use a payment card to withdraw money from cash machines and to pay for goods at most shops in Norway instead of using cash. Banks issue various types of payment card to their customers. The most common are debit cards, where the payment is taken straight from your bank account.

BankID

BankID is a personal digital ID for secure identification and signatures online.

To get BankID you must be 15 years or older. If you are under 18, you must have legal guardian (s) consent. Some banks, however, has chosen not to issue BankID for individuals below 18 years. You must present a valid passport to the bank issuing it. You may obtain a BankID from more than one bank.

In the physical world, you prove your identity using a passport, driving licence or bank card. In the online world, you can use your BankID to prove who you are. In the physical world, you use a pen to sign a contract. In the online world, you can use your BankID to sign documents and submissions electronically.

With BankID, you can sign documents electronically so you do not have to attend in person or send signed documents in the post – for example, when applying for a childcare place, registering a change of address at the Post Office, bidding for a house, applying for a loan or registering documents. 

Online and mobile banking

To use online and mobile banking services, you will normally need a BankID.

With online banking, you can view your account balance and transactions to and from your account, transfer money to other accounts, and pay bills.

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

Online banking also allows you to set up direct debits and electronic billing. Direct debits (AvtaleGiro) are where bills from selected suppliers, such as your electricity company, are paid automatically from your account. Electronic billing (eFaktura) means that bills from selected suppliers are automatically sent to your online banking solution.  

Transferring money abroad

Once you have opened a bank account, you can transfer money safely and securely to an account abroad using your online banking solution.

To send money abroad, you will need:

  • The payee’s account number – for Europe and some other countries you will need the full International Bank Account Number (IBAN) (see which countries)
  • ·The payee bank’s BIC/SWIFT code. If you have received a bill from abroad, you will normally find the IBAN and BIC/SWIFT code on the bill. If not, contact the payee or the payee’s bank.
  • The payee’s name and address
  • The currency you want to pay in
  • Information for Norwegian Customs for amounts above NOK 100,000