Living in Finland

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Everyday life in Finland

Bank account

You need a bank account in order to handle your finances. It’s a good idea to compare the services and prices of different banks so that you will find the most advantageous option for you.

When opening a bank account, you need a passport, identity card for foreign citizens or some other official identity card. If you do not have a passport or identity card for foreign citizens, it is a good idea to check what kind of proof of identity the bank accepts. Some banks accept an alien's passport granted by a Finnish authority, a refugee travel document or other proof of identity which can be accepted as travel document. In some cases, the bank may also require other proof of identity if your document states that your identity could not be verified.

You cannot prove your identity with a driving licence.

According to law, when you open a bank account, the bank must ask you to clarify for what purpose you intend to use your bank account. The bank also has the right to check your credit history. The bank needs the following information from you:

  • name
  • personal identity code
  • address in Finland or abroad
  • if you pay taxes to a country other than Finland, your address in that other country
  • the same information on persons entitled to use the bank account.

It is a good idea to also acquire online banking credentials when opening a bank account. With online banking credentials you can, for example, attend to many official matters online. However, the requirements for obtaining online banking credentials are stricter than those for opening a bank account. Thus, in some cases, you cannot get online banking credentials even if you have a bank account.

If you want to ask for advice on banking matters, you can call the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE). The service is free of charge, in other words, you only pay the price of the phone call. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

The Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (Vakuutus- ja rahoitusneuvonta)
Mon–Thu 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Tel. (09) 6850 120

linkkiFederation of Finnish Financial Services:
Bank services for foreignersFinnish | English

Foreigner’s identity card

The police can issue you with a foreigner’s identity card if you have been identified and your identity has been reliably verified. Your identity can be verified from a document that proves your identity. If you do not have such a document, your fingerprints can be compared to the fingerprints stored on your residence permit card or residence card. Other requirements that must be met:

  • you have a valid residence permit or residence card, or your right to reside has been registered;
  • you have a municipality of residence in Finland;
  • your information has been saved in the Finnish Population Information System.

You can use a foreigner’s identity card to prove your identity in Finland. You can use it for example when opening a bank account in Finland. However, you cannot use it as a travel document when travelling abroad.

linkkiPolice:
Identity cardFinnish | Swedish | English

Insurance

It is recommendable to take out home insurance. Home insurance covers, for example, damage to your furniture and other articles. Home insurance policies are sold by insurance companies. According to law, you must take out motor insurance if you use your own car.

If you want to take out a motor insurance policy from a Finnish insurance company, you normally need a Finnish personal health insurance card, the Kela card. Insurance of the person include, for example, accident insurance, medical expenses insurance and life insurance.

linkkiVakuutusfakta.com:
Insurance companies in FinlandFinnish

Telephone

When you buy a telephone subscription in Finland, you get a Finnish phone number. Many companies sell telephone subscriptions. When you take out a telephone subscription, you must have a Finnish personal identity code and an address in Finland. Normally, you must also provide information on your payment behaviour, in other words, that you have paid your bills and that you don't have a payment default entry recorded in your credit history. Otherwise, you need to make an advance payment for the subscription.

You can also buy a pre-paid subscription. In this case, you don't need a Finnish personal identity code or an address in Finland. A pre-paid card has a certain sum charged into it beforehand which you use to make phone calls. Pre-paid subscriptions are sold, for example, at R-kiosks, some supermarkets or over the internet.

When calling abroad by phone, it’s wise to check which international dialling codes are the most affordable. Many companies offer affordable international dialling codes. Please note, however, that the price of a phone call always depends on the country you call. Make sure that you know what is the most inexpensive option for you.

linkkiPuhelinliittymat.fi:
Telephone operators in FinlandFinnish

linkkiTeleAle:
Affordable international phone callsFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiGlobetel:
Affordable international phone callsFinnish | English

linkkiNettia:
Affordable international phone callsFinnish | English | Russian

linkkiSkype:
Affordable international phone callsFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian | French | Spanish | Turkish | Chinese | German | Portuguese | Polish | Norwegian | Dutch | Hungarian | Japanese

Internet

In Finland many matters can be dealt with over the internet. You can often attend to your matters with authorities or businesses via their websites. It is worthwhile getting an internet connection as soon as possible after moving to Finland.

You can acquire an internet connection in your home by making a contract with an internet service provider. It pays to compare prices before making a contract. There is a large number of companies providing a wide variety of internet connections in Finland. You can find these, for example, with internet search engines by typing the search word ”internet subscription (internet -liittymä)”, ”internet connection (internet-yhteys)” or "online connection (verkkoyhteys)". Internet connection prices vary a lot.

You can also use the internet for free in libraries if you have a library card. You can get a library card free of charge from a library. Read more on the Infopankki page Libraries. Some cafés also offer customers the possibility to use the internet.

linkkiFinnish Communications Regulatory Authority:
Internet and telephone subscriptionsFinnish | Swedish | English

General price level in Finland

The general price level in Finland is high. For example, food and many services are more expensive than the European average. The cost of housing varies a lot. Housing in major cities is much more expensive than in small municipalities.

linkkiStatistics Finland:
Consumer prices in European countriesFinnish | Swedish

linkkiStatistics Finland:
Prices of privately-financed rental housingEnglish

linkkiStatistics Finland:
Prices of state-subsidised rental housingEnglish

linkkiAsuntojen.hintatiedot.fi:
Information on prices of dwellings soldFinnish | Swedish

Buying and consumer rights

Anyone who buys goods or services is a consumer. The Consumer Protection Act protects the rights of consumers in Finland. You are entitled to compensation, for example, when an item you have purchased has faults that you have not caused yourself. You can receive a flawless item as a replacement or your money back, for example.

If an item you have bought has shortcomings, contact the seller first. If you cannot reach an agreement with the seller, contact the consumer advisory services.

linkkiFinnish Competition and Consumer Authority:
Consumer consultingFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiSuomi.fi:
Information on the rights of the consumerFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiConsumers' Association:
Information on the rights of the consumerFinnish

Public transport

Public transportation in Finland works well. You can travel almost everywhere in Finland by bus or by train. You can also fly to many cities. In larger cities and areas surrounding them, local public transport is also very efficient. Local public transport is usually organised by buses. Read more on the Infopankki page Traffic in Finland.

Driving licence

You can acquire a Finnish driving licence if you are at least 18 years old. If you have a driving licence issued in some other country, the best way to act depends on the situation. Read more on the Infopankki page Traffic in Finland.

The climate and clothing

The Finnish climate is colder than in many other countries. The average temperature in Finland in the winter is below zero Celsius and in the summer above +10 Celsius. Temperatures in the spring and autumn fall between these. In the winter you need to dress warmly in Finland. Read more about the climate in Finland on the Infopankki page Finnish climate.

Media

Nearly 200 newspapers are published in Finland. Four public television channels and many commercial television channels operate in Finland. Read more on the Infopankki page Media in Finland.

Finnish culture

Information on the Finnish culture is available on the Infopankki pages Finnish customs and Finnish working culture.