Credit or debit cards are the most common form of payment in Finland, so it is definitely worth checking with your bank in your home country whether using your card abroad is the most cost-effective way to make purchases.
Major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and Diners Card are widely accepted in Finland. When making a purchase by credit card you will usually be asked to present some form of photo identification at the till.
Finish credit cards for expatriates
As an expat in Finland, it is usually difficult to get a credit card without having established a significant bank account and steady employment history. Regulations for applying for a credit card vary between banks and even branches within the same bank. In this case, it is advisable to use your credit card from home if you have one, provided the charges for using it are not too high.
If you are absolutely desperate to get a credit card from a Finnish bank, one option is to pay a hefty security deposit to the bank. This involves paying three times the amount of the credit limit you are applying for to the bank. This deposit will be held by the bank for a period of three years and will be paid back to you if you pay your bills on time throughout this time.
If you have been living in Finland for long enough with a regular income, you should have little problem in getting a credit card from a Finnish bank.
ATM cards in Finland
Opening up a Finnish bank account usually means you will get a Finnish debit card which can be used to make withdrawals from cash machines. Debit and credit cards are widely accepted with contactless and mobile payments becoming increasingly popular.
Cash withdrawals in Finland
Check with your bank about any charges that may or may not be incurred from making a withdrawal from an ATM. Most common ATMs are called OTTO and you will recognize them from the orange colour. Also, Nosto ATMs are around, but they might charge a fee.
In any case, most shops and restaurants in Finland accept payment by card. If you do not have enough cash on you or you cannot get to an ATM, it is well worth trying to pay with your card.
Using travellers’ cheques in Finland
Travellers’ cheques are a very secure way to bring money into Finland. Writing down each individual cheque’s serial number ensures you against loss or theft, so you should have these kept safely at home in case you need them.
You can exchange travellers’ cheques in Finnish banks and at a bureau de change in the city, at airports and at railways stations. Some larger shops will also accept travellers’ cheques as a method of payment, though preference is given to cheques issued in Euros, pound sterling and US dollars.
Banks in Finland may charge you for cashing your travellers’ cheques into a Finnish bank account, so you should check what these charges are as they are likely to vary between banks.