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Scandinavia Money Transfers: Sweden, Norway, Denmark & Iceland

By 
Matt Di Vincere (Chief Editor)
Last Edited Dec 31, 2022

Transferring money to and from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland are a particular area of interest for us. Whilst these countries aren’t big in terms of population – with less than 30m inhabitants in total – there is significant demand for bank-alternatives to make international money transfers. One of the main factors driving this demand is that other than Finland, which uses the euro as its currency, all other Scandinavian countries are using their own currency – money transfers to Iceland are denominated in Icelandic Krona (ISK), money transfers to Norway are denominated in Norwegian Krone (NOK), money transfers to Denmark are denominated in Danish Krone (DKK) and money transfers to Sweden are denominated in Swedish Krona (SEK).

Scandinavian currencies are certainly not the most exotic out there – NOK, DKK and SEK are all in the 20 most popularly traded currencies in the world – but they are traded significantly less frequently than GBP, EUR and USD, meaning  banks may charge even MORE when you’re transferring them abroad.

This guide deals with transferring money to and from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland and focuses on transfers from Sweden to UK, UK to Sweden, USA to Sweden, Sweden to USA, Sweden to Europe, Norway to Europe, Europe to Norway, Norway to UK, Norway to USA, USA to Norway, Denmark to Europe, Europe to Denmark, UK to Denmark, USA to Denmark etc.

 

101 Currency Markups

Transferring large amounts (as well as receiving) is extremely sensitive to the foreign exchange rate that the bank provides you, and many of the money transfers from and to Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark are exactly that – large sum transfers in the tens of thousands or more. Other than international wire transfer fees which banks charge in each country (we will drill down on a per-country basis below), there’s an added component which makes a much bigger difference at the costs of international money transfers which is the markup added to the currency exchange rate.

To simplify the concept of markups: if the actual exchange rate of a certain currency is 1.1 SEK but the banks would only exchange at a 1:1 rate it means the customer is getting 10% less than the actual rate making this an invisible fee embedded into the transfer. In a more practical example, true for Sept 12 2022, the SEK to EUR rate is 0.094 but if the bank is only giving 0.08 Euros for each SEK, it means each SEKEUR money transfer gets you 6.7% less than the official rate. And that’s why verifying you get the best foreign exchange rate on your bank transfer is crucial, to a far greater degree than to make sure you aren’t paying fixed fees which are £10-20 or the equivalent.

Higher markups for Nordic Currencies

Now banks are notoriously expensive when transferring money abroad but they are going to be better if you are transferring money to USA, to France or Spain because these countries use major currencies as their currency. For example, UK banks are going to charge approximately 2.2% in currency markup to those destinations. But when it comes to transferring money to Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Iceland they may charge substantially more – even upwards of 5% in some instances. Hence, those sending money to a Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic or Danish bank account should be seriously considering using a bank alternative, namely a money transfer service / currency broker.

Formatting Transfers to Scandinavia

When sending money to Scandinavia from overseas, it’s really important to get the beneficiary account details right. This avoids potential delays and crucially, it means you won’t risk losing your money if it credits the wrong account.

Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland have all adopted the IBAN formatting standard. The IBAN standard was originally developed to make facilitating transfers within the EU easy but it is now globally recognised and used by many countries around the world. The IBAN consists of a 2 digit country code, followed by two check digits and then up to 30 alphanumeric characters which depend on the bank and account number you’re sending money to. The only thing to look out for is the length of the IBAN, it varies from country-to-country and it’s best to use a reputable IBAN checker to verify you’ve got the details correct.

Sending Money to Sweden

Sweden’s IBAN format consists of 24 alphanumeric characters, starting with ‘SE’ and then 22 further characters depending on the account you’re sending money to.

SEkk BBBB CCCC CCCCCCCCCCCC

SE = Country Code

kk = Check Digits

B = Bank Code

C = Account No.

You may also have to supply the ‘SWIFT BIC’ of the receiving bank if the transfer is being sent on the SWIFT network – this will be 8 or 11 characters. Be sure to get this from a reliable source (such as the recipient bank’s own website) or verify the details with your account manager if you’re working with a money transfer specialist.

Sending Money to Norway

The Norway IBAN format consists of just 15 alphanumeric characters. Starting with ‘NO’ the other 13 characters will be populated based on the account you’re sending money to.

NOkk BBBB CCCC CCK

NO = Country Code

kk = Check Digits

B = Bank Code

C = Account No.

K = Check Digits

You may have to provide the beneficiary bank SWIFT BIC (8 or 11 characters) if you’re making a SWIFT transfer.

Sending Money to Denmark

The IBAN format for Denmark consists of 18 alphanumeric characters.

DKkk BBBB CCCC CCCC CC

DK = Country Code

kk = Check Digits

B = Bank No

C = Account No

That should be all you need for transfers to Denmark.

Sending Money to Iceland

The IBAN format for Iceland consists of the highest number of alphanumeric characters (26) because it includes the National Identification number of the recipient. You’ll also need to provide extra information to complete your transfer.

ISkk BBBB SSCC CCCC XXXX XXXX XX

IS = Country Code

kk = Check Digits

B = Bank Code

S = Sort Code

C = Account No.

X = Holder’s National Identification Number

For international transfers to Iceland, you’ll also be required to provide:

  • Beneficiary Bank BIC/SWIFT: 8 or 11 characters
  • Beneficiary Address

International Money Transfer Providers: Scandinavia

The following list of providers supports

  • Transferring money to Sweden (and exchange the funds to SEK)
  • Transferring money to Norway (and exchange the funds to NOK)
  • Transferring money to Denmark (and exchange the funds to DKK)
  • Transferring money to Iceland (and exchange the funds to ISK)

Additionally and importantly, these providers have offices in the EU which means that they can onboard customers from anywhere in Scandinavia.

You can use the for:

  1. Transfer money from Sweden internationally (and exchange SEK to Euro, Dollar, Pound Sterling or 100+ currencies)
  2. Transfer money from Norway internationally (and exchange NOK to Euro, Dollar, Pound Sterling or 100+ currencies)
  3. Transfer money from Denmark internationally (and exchange DKK to Euro, Dollar, Pound Sterling or 100+ currencies)
  4. Transfer money from Iceland internationally (and exchange ISK to Euro, Dollar, Pound Sterling or 100+ currencies)

We have omitted Finland for our listing but they can surely help Finnish customers, we have just covered it in another guide – transferring money between UK and Europe.

🇸🇪 🇳🇴 Top 10 Providers for Transfers to/from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland 🇩🇰 🇮🇸

#1
UK EU USA Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
Headquarters:
1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AA, UK
97.8% Editorial rating
7,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • 96% Positive Feedback from Customers, Since 1996
  • Service Oriented - Specialising in Large Transfers - Friendly Dealers
  • Very Competitive Rates, No Wire Fees
+Read more
#2
UK Australia EU TorFX: Strong Guidance and Staff
Headquarters:
Pz360, St Mary's Terrace,Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4DZ, UK
93.4% Editorial rating
5,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • HQ Outside of London - Lower Staff Costs Rolled Over to the Client
  • Quick Onboarding Process and Highly Professional
  • Trading Desk with 100+ Years of Experience
+Read more
#3
UK EU USA UAE moneycorp: Oldest and Most Reputable Foreign Exchange Service
Headquarters:
Zig Zag Building, 70 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6SQ, UK
93.2% Editorial rating
7,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£50 / €50 / $50 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Providing FX Services since 1979
  • Very Recognisable Brand with Excellent Reputation - £36.9in Transfers Annually with Offices in Every Continent
  • Business Specialists
+Read more
#4
UK Spain Key Currency: Up and Coming Currency Broker with Local Presence UK/Spain
Local British Offices:
St Piran House, Technology Park, Heron Way, Truro TR1 2XN, United Kingdom
90.8% Editorial rating
800 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
€250
Why Them?
  • Fastest Growing UK Currency Transfer Provider
  • Strong Onboard Team, Get an Immediate Callback
  • Recipient of Multiple Industry Awards
+Read more
#5
UK EU Canada Global Reach Group: 99% Positive Client Feedback
Headquarters:
20 Wood St, London EC2V 7AF
90.6% Editorial rating
10,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000/€1,000 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • 99% of its Past Clients Gave the Firm a Positive Review
  • Best Rate Guarantee: Global Reach Group Will Beat Any Competing Quote
  • Strong Global Reach with Offices in UK, Europe, and Canada
+Read more
#6
UK EU Brazil Currency Solutions: Best Money Transfer on TrustPilot
Headquarters:
21 Queen Elizabeth St, London SE1 2PD
90.4% Editorial rating
1,900 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000
Why Them?
  • Best Customer Satisfaction Score on TrustPilot
  • Welcoming and Clear Website, Easy to Sign Up
  • Excellent Currency Transfer Rates
+Read more
#7
Australia UK EU USA New Zealand OFX: The Publicly-Traded Money Transfer Company from Down Under
Headquarters:
Level 19, 60 Margaret St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
90.4% Editorial rating
1,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Traded Publicly in Australia
  • £20bn Turnover per Year
  • Ultra Professional
+Read more
#8
UK Halo Financial: Excellent Online Platform and Support
Headquarters:
Battersea Studios 2, 82 Silverthorne Rd, Nine Elms, London SW8 3HE
87.3% Editorial rating
100 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000
Why Them?
  • Feefo 2020 Platinum Trusted Provider
  • Excellent Website and Online Flow
  • Highly Professional
+Read more
#9
EU UK USA Australia Wise (Previously TransferWise): Valued at £10bn
Headquarters:
17 Avenue Marnix, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
86.8% Editorial rating
32,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum
Why Them?
  • Largest Money Transfer Provider of its Kind
  • Fully-Online Journey
  • Transparent Pricing
+Read more

For Ecommerce and Business Clients (Not Accepting Private Clients)

#10
UK Australia Hong Kong Singapore Worldfirst: Best FX Rates Online
Headquarters:
Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP, UK
95.4% Editorial rating
7,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000/€1,000 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Best Rates for Business Transfers
  • Authorised by 6 Global Regulators
  • Asian Currency Specialists
+Read more

Currencies Direct & Key Currency: Most Scandinavia Oriented

While each of the best money transfer services in UK is able to both deal with Scandinavian currencies (each of them offered SEK NOK DKK and ISK), and is able to register Scandinavian customers (having offices in the EU), there are two particular brokerages which are Scandi-oriented.

  • Currencies Direct: Swedish / Norwegian Website Translations + Swedish / Norwegian Speaking Staff
  • Key Currency: Swedish Speaking Staff

One of the reasons both of these brokers are the best for money transfers to Sweden and money transfers to Norway is that they are very active in Spain. Currencies Direct boasts 18 different locations in Spain and Key Currency has local Spanish offices as well, and there are many money transfers from Spain to Sweden and from Spain to Norway. As per statistics, Swedes are the #6 most popular nation for buying overseas property in Spain and are the #2 in new home buyers (with Norwegians accounting for 1.33% of buyers). The allure for Scandinavians is clear – the cost per meter in Spain is about a third of what the cost of property in Stockholm is and moreover, the SEK NOK DKK and ISK are proving resilient in turbulent times for currencies. The average SEK/EUR exchange rate remained stable over the past 3 years, for example, with the exception of a short dip during COVID (which has fueled overseas property investments as a whole).

Banks in Scandinavia for Money Transfers Abroad

It is not easy to figure out how much money you are paying in both direct wire transfer fees and exchange rate markups when transferring money from Sweden or sending money from Norway. For Denmark it appears like banks are a little more open.

Fixed Fees: To start off with wire costs, it appears like the average cost to transfer money from Scandinavian countries through banks is approximately €35 equivalent which is higher than other European banks and British banks and in most cases even more than American banks which are notorious for their hefty fixed fees. (example)

Exchange rates: It was impossible to find the actual exchange rates offered by banks for money transfers from Sweden, Norway or Iceland. While these banks advertise their wire transfer fees, they do not advertise their foreign exchange rates.. This is similar to what most UK banks do, and it normally signals very high margins.

We can look at Swedebank Estonia’s exchange rates and we can see margins hover at around 2% (on top of fixed fees), a margin that could definitely be beaten by foreign exchange specialists such as the ones top rated for international money transfers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland (as per the above).

Nordea DK advertises their foreign exchange rates for transferring money from Denmark (here) showing reasonable margins as compared to UK or American banks which range between 2% and 5% margin. They are both a lot more transparent, enabling customers to know exactly how much they are going to pay in foreign exchange markups, as well as showing markups from 0.35% to 2% per currency exchange. 0.35% is actually really low but is very specific to certain currencies like Australian Dollar or Hungarian Forint, and actually beats Wise’s exchange rates which are known to be very tight… are there additional costs that we aren’t aware of? Hard to say, but we can at least say they are not advertised on Nordea DK’s website.

To summarize Scandinavian banks in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland seem to be as expensive or even more expensive than their counterparts when it comes to fixed international transfer fees but perhaps offer better exchange rates than them (especially if Nordea DK’s margins are indicative of anything). In any case, the best money transfer companies to transfer money to/from Scandinavia have demonstrated a long track-record of safe and low-cost international transfers, attested to by thousands of positive client reviews.