Opening a Finnish bank account is very necessary for students studying in the country for a longer time. It will be a lot easier when a newly admitted student makes some preparations before relocating to the country. Generally, local and international banks operating within the country offer a variety of financial services such as daily banking, complex wealth management, and giving out loans to their customers. The largest and best banks are branches of international banking groups. However, some banks are owned by the Finnish too. All students studying in the country require banking services which they can only access by having accounts. A person without a residence permit cannot open an account for free. The fees for opening vary from bank to bank and one’s citizenship.
Opening an account
The process of opening an account differs according to the bank or branch in the territory. Each application is handled personally by the respective financial institution. However, each of the financial entities has a statutory obligation to offer simple payment account services to an individual with a legal residence in an EEA member state. Many banks will issue an account number after opening it, but a Visa Electron bank card takes longer as well as access to internet banking, which can take up to two or four months after the opening. People coming from outside the EU/EEA area will need to provide a foreigner’s identity card to be issued online banking codes. Traditional banks in the territory issue bank cards that offer benefits to students and youths. They usually charge fees to process applications for account opening. Aside from this, they also charge monthly account maintenance fees and fees for withdrawing cash at non-network ATMs. Ensure to find a bank that issues universal and accepted debit cards like Mastercard or Visa.
Required documents to submit
To access banking services like opening an account or granting a card or student loan, foreigners have to present accepted and valid documents. Usually, these documents should be provided at the first appointment. The following documents are required to open a bank account in any bank within the country:
- Copy of a Passport
- Residence permit card
- Certified copy of the certificate of student status at the University
- Proof of address in the country
- Finnish personal identity code
Note that the Finnish ID code is a number sequence with 11 characters, formed from one’s date of birth. It is on every residence permit card; if not, one can visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to get the code. An applicant should be prepared to provide certain information to the bank by answering their questions. The following questions are asked so the bank may know its customers:
- Are you in a prominent public function in a foreign country or a relative or close business partner of such a person？
- What is your occupational status which describes your financial position？
- Are you going to use the bank as your main bank？
- Source of funds and regular cash flows
- Estimated amounts of regular payment transfers that are a certificate of scholarship
- Estimated foreign payments and their justifications
Opening account online
As a highly advanced country with a great banking system, it is possible to open an account online. Anyone with a valid passport, ID card, or residence permit can open an account via a bank’s app. One can start the process online and then finish the paperwork at the bank in person. It takes at most two weeks to get approval from a bank. The process of opening an account at a traditional bank is a bit time-consuming and costly. Using a mobile app is a lot simpler, faster, and less expensive.