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Banking in Norway – Nordea

nordea 300x128 Banking in Norway   Nordea

I made an assumption when I came here, partly based on a conversation I had with a few people at RBC in Canada. The assumption was that I could bring a bank draft for a large amount of money, and deposit it into a new account here in Norway. RBC made a draft for me, and made it out to my own name at the bank Nordea. It took the better part of the day to figure out how to start a bank account here.


After quite the run around, I’ve come to a few conclusions that I’ll share with anyone else who might come to this country.

Personal ID / Tax Deduction ID

Anyone who wants to open a bank account here in Norway needs an ID number. This is similar to a SIN in Canada. Without this number you can’t possibly have a bank account. But there are 2 kinds of numbers. One is a tax deduction number for people who are working. The other is called a personal ID and it’s used for retirees/students and anyone else who doesn’t need to work… like me.

Beyond this, I found out that you also need a Letter of Recommendation from your bank at home in order to apply for credit and/or have access to online banking.

Tax Deduction ID

My first trip to Nordea, I was told I need to go down to to Skatteetaten (the tax office) and get a tax deduction number. The queue there was very long, so I took and number, went to Coop and got lunch and then came back. When my turn came, they would not give me a tax deduction number because I don’t have a work contract. So, back to the bank.

Personal ID

I went back to the bank, and had a meeting with the branch manager. She said that if I was not working, the only way to open an account would be to get a personal ID number, and to start that process I would need the letter of recommendation from my bank.

So, I sent an email to RBC asking about this. Hopefully they will fax it to me later today. I’ll be relying on cash for a while, as the branch manager at Nordea told me it will take several weeks to process.

Letter of Recommendation

So, the moral of the story for anyone planning to come to Norway for an extended amount of time – working or not:
bring a letter of recommendation from your current financial institution.

If you are going to school, make sure the school gives you a personal ID number.

If you are going to be working, you’ll need to take your work contract to Skatteetaten to get your tax deduction ID number before going to the bank.