Open a bank account
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If you are studying in Finland for a longer time it is advisable to open a Finnish bank account. Opening an account will be easier if you make some preparations even before you leave your home country. For banking services – such as for opening an account or granting a card or student loan – foreign citizens need to show generally accepted and valid documents.
Usually, the following documents are needed at the first banking appointment:
- Residence permit card (if applicable)
- Certificate of student status at the University of Helsinki (you can download it from Sisu)
- Finnish personal identity code
- Finnish ID code is a number sequence with 11 characters, formed on the basis of your date of birth. You may have it on your residence permit card. If not, you should visit the Digital and Population Data Services Agency to get the code.
- Address in Finland (registered at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency)
Also prepare to provide the following information to the bank official by answering their questions as every bank has an obligation to know its customers:
- Whether you are in a prominent public function in a foreign country (and are thus a Politically Exposed Person, PEP) or a member of the family or close business partner of such a person
- Your occupational status which describes your financial position (= student)
- Whether you will use the bank as your main bank
- Origin or source of your funds and regular payment transactions or cash flows
- Estimated amounts of your regular payment transfers (= certificate of scholarship)
- Estimated amounts of your foreign payments and reasons for them
NB! The practice of opening a bank account varies according to bank and branch in Finland. Each case is decided individually by the bank. However, every bank has a statutory obligation to open basic payment account services to anyone who has a legal residence in an EEA member state. Please notice that you should always contact the bank beforehand to make an appointment and confirm the documentation you need with you.
In many banks you can get your account number immediately, but getting a Visa Electron bank card will take longer and an access to internet banking even two to four months after the account has been opened. If you come from outside the EU/EEA area, you will need to have a foreigner's identity card in order to be granted online banking codes.