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  1. November 11, 2014 1:43 pm

    Without knowing about the news story, I was just talking about this today! Because I am not working, our bank won’t allow me to have an account or bank codes in my name. Which means I can’t create online log-ins for things like enrolling in or paying for Finnish classes. To apply for a credit card we had to get our Police ID cards as we didn’t realise our residency permits and Kela cards were not enough. I can’t have a credit card under my own name though and have to tag onto my husbands. It seems so 1950s! I understand there are reasons for this but it really is quite different to how I’m used to things running. As you said there are many stories out there – thanks for reading mine. ; ) And thanks for the post!

    • November 11, 2014 4:39 pm

      Hei, I am not sure about Nordea, but S-pankki lets you open bank account even if you are unemployed and then you can easily make payments online. I myself am unemployed but have an account with S-pankki. Before getting Police ID card I also had to tag myself to my husband’s account.

  2. November 12, 2014 12:37 pm

    I honestly don’t remember any problems with any of these issues when I moved here in 1999. Sure, electricity is still in my husband’s name, we rented an apartment together, I had a mobile phone before he ever did, but the land phone (long gone) was in his name to begin with, the Kela card wasn’t any hassle, we only got a bank loan a few years ago (I was a Finn and had a permanent job by that point), and so on… Opening a bank was painless.
    So frustrating that some of these simple things aren’t so easy, especially so when many of the foreigners don’t speak Finnish.

  3. Sonia permalink
    November 14, 2014 11:09 pm

    There is a difference between inside and outside of the wolves’ ring. Sadly, I am outside. On the other hand, public servants can mess up my issues in any country 😉 I could get only a money card to pick up small sums, even money and warranty by a Finnish partner did not help. And a credit card on the name of my Finn. After getting a job in only few weeks, it was no problem anymore. Of course NOTHING was possible before getting the henkilötunnus social security number.

    Same thing regarding a mobile. I did not need the other stuff, but got the house loan while both of us were employed and my spouse obviously Finnish. Police, address registration and employment office have contradictory rules, so you run like in a hamster wheel. Some officers don’t even know if Germany is a member of the EU (ha ha!) and they made us write some relationship declaration signed by witnesses.

    Then they once discontinued my Kela membership without a reason, even while paying huge taxes – same case to reapply in Helsinki was a formality, I had to reapply everything from scratch. There was no knowledge how to rewrite an EU driving license. I had to reject it once before they checked the conformity and applied the right vehicle classes.

    Trying to get a private healthcare insurance in the beginning was impossible and I got answers like “we offer our services only to Finns” which is not very legal, but struggling for it takes time. You had to live in the country 3-5 years before and they exclude all diseases from the coverage which makes it quite overpriced.

    Even natives told that it was often difficult to find an unambiguous source what is your right. You just need to accept it this way or fill in a complaint to the EU if you feel discriminated as an EU member. For others it is probably even more tricky.

  4. Sonia permalink
    November 18, 2014 11:59 pm

    Just heard from a friend that she could not get the loan payment insurance (against unemployment or other cases when unable to pay back the loan, you are usually offered) while her (half-)Finnish partner (not married) got it. Explanation: foreigners are out, at least according to the specific bank clerk.

    Discrimination of a fully employed person and EU-citizen? Yes.

    The problem is that nobody bothers to announce cases like this and checking procedures take time.

    • Rob permalink
      December 11, 2014 1:09 am

      At least, 6 years ago I had no problem to get the loan insurance from nordea for unemployment or certain health issues. In these cases, better ask a written evidence of that policy or law and take a copy. Upon refusal to provide the evidence, ask to see supervisor.

  5. December 12, 2014 10:57 am

    I too heard this news through my friend. What is the difference between to open a bank account in Finnish bank and other banks?

    • December 15, 2014 11:08 am

      Good question, maybe other people can comment. I can only comment on the Finnish situation.

  6. April 1, 2015 10:47 am

    I just have to comment! Currently I’m going through the process of getting a bank account, I don’t even want a credit card – all I need is an account. While in other countries (like America, Australia or other EU for that matter) you walk in, sit down, give your passport and walk out with an account – in Finland you walk out with nothing. Furthermore, I’m an EU citizen, have an social security number in finland (that was painful process!) work here few hours a month but can’t get paid because they need proof of address, as it happens I spend very little time here and usually spend no more than few days, appointment times never work for me and so here I am, stuck in the system. I’m not even sure should I get it from police or magistrate as they all call this important “document” differently and every single bank worker has pointed me to different direction.

    I’m here 3 days as of yesterday. Made appointment with for Nordea, went there and told them about my situation – I work very little here, I don’t live in Finland full-time but would very much like to get paid. Can you guess how it went?

    So I went straight to OP and made another appointment for tomorrow (I leave tomorrow night) and asked the clerk what do I need to open account – she wasn’t sure (seriously?) but said that passport should be fine. I also showed her everything that Nordea needs and that I simply don’t have the time to get this mystery document. She said it was fine.

    I more than sure when I show up tomorrow I will be sent away again empty handed. (But I seriously hope for the best)

    I’ve tried to comvince my company to pay on foreign account but they won’t have it.

    I honestly feel that opening an account should NOT be that hard. Who the hell has the time to sit an hour in police to get appointment for godknowswhen, then do the same with magistrate AND bank? Don’t get me started on what I had to go through to get the social security number, I had to bloody fly back home to get some flimsy stamped paper for them.

    Sorry for my long vent, I’m just very agitated now. I have bank accounts from all over the world, as I travel a lot but never in my life have I met such discriminating bureaucracy.

  7. Nikke permalink
    June 10, 2015 12:14 am

    I think the most problem in Finnish banks is the inflow of Russian money(?) and all the bureaucratic Brussels regulations of which the Finns love and slavishly follow(indeed).
    I have Finnish citizenship and even few thousand Euro bank transfer is a wrestling match, even to my daughter(even with the same last name) to other part of EU needs to be confirmed by additional phone call to Nordea, to given phone number which does not connect to the call from the States. .. gosh talking about wisdom and the scary of doing a possible error, worst, against EU recommendation(s), uuugh scary…..Prrrrrrrrrrrrrle !

    • March 19, 2016 1:57 am

      The country Finland, most Finns and their mental bureaucracy = wierd as… their language, overly complicated! Luckily their “art/design” is minimalistic and simplified.


  1. Things I didn’t know last week | Life in Finland (and beyond)
  2. “Go back to your home country.” | Life in Finland (and beyond)

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