The Travel Money Guide to Currency in Sweden
Sweden, the land of the Nobel Prize and northern lights, is often said to be expensive, but actually not everything in Sweden is expensive if you learn all you can about the local currency and payment options before you go.
The official currency of Sweden is the Swedish Krona (SEK). In English krona literally means "crown." It's best to take Swedish Krona to Sweden. If you can't buy some before your trip, the next best option is to bring US dollars (USD), Euros (EUR) or Pounds (GBP).
Want to learn more about the Swedish Krona and how to get your hands on it for the best value? Read on to find out:
What Currency is Used in Sweden?
In Sweden, locals use Swedish Krona, which has the international code SEK and the symbol kr.
The Swedish Krona has 3 coin denominations: kr1, kr5, kr10
Swedish banknotes have 6 denominations: kr20, kr50, kr100, kr200, kr500, kr1000.
Please note: Older versions of the 20, 50 and 1,000-krona banknotes and the majority of older coins are now invalid. If your cash is invalid, you can redeem Swedish banknotes for a fee of SEK 100 from Swedish Riksbank.
What is the currency of Sweden
The national currency of Sweden is the Swedish Krona. Historically, the Scandinavian Monetary Union, which consisted of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, introduced the krona in 1876, replacing the riksdaler.
Do They Accept Australian Dollars in Sweden?
Not unless you exchange it to Swedish Krona. Most hotels, shops and restaurants in Sweden do not even accept the Euro. Although Sweden's central bank Riskbank are looking at online options to convert Euros into SEK. At the moment, only tourist shops accept the Euro as payment.
Krona is the best currency to take to Sweden. Businesses are likely to factor conversion costs into their prices. So you could end up paying a worse rate in foreign currency like the Euro than if you used Sweden's local money.
How to Buy Swedish Krona Before You Go
There’s a certain reassurance that comes with stepping off the plane (or cruise ship) already cashed up with Swedish Krona.
Buying Swedish Krona before you leave Australian shores isn’t just convenient. It can also save you money. But it all depends on where you get your Swedish Krona in Australia. There are three main options:
- Buy SEK online and have it delivered or collect it in-store
- Buy from a money changer
- Buy at your home airport
Currency exchange offices at Australian airports are notorious for their poor rates and commissions so we recommend avoiding that option entirely.
You’ll easily find a bureau de change near you; even suburban shopping centres should have at least one. But it’s better to get your money from an inner-city bureau if possible. They have more competition, which is likely to drive their rates down.
If there’s already too much running around to do ahead of your trip, consider ordering Swedish Krona online. You can choose to have them delivered or made available for pick-up at a location near you.
Online orders are often the best value too, especially if you go with S Money, which offers the same rates listed on Google and XE.com.
How to Change Currency When You Arrive
Places like Stockholm, and Gothenburg receive great numbers of tourists, so there are facilities to cater to money exchanges. Beyond these major destinations, it’s best to get cash before you venture into remote territory.
You can get cash with your Visa, MasterCard, Maestro or Cirrus card at any “Bankomat” or “Uttagsautomat” ATM. A small fee can be added for your withdrawal, it’s all depending on your bank’s terms.
There is often ATM’s available directly at the airport, for example on Arlanda, Landvetter, Skavsta, Malmö and Luleå.
To find a convenient ATM use these ATM locators for local and global banks:
- Bankomat ATM locator – Bankomat is owned jointly by several of the largest banks in Sweden, and all ATMs in the network can be found here
- SEB ATM locator
- Danske Bank ATM locator
- Nordea ATM locator
Depending on your bank, you may have to pay for overseas ATM withdrawals and currency conversions. To reduce the amount you’ll pay in fees, try to withdraw just the right amount of money you’ll need for the duration of your trip.
Don’t forget: Let your bank know you’re travelling! If they detect a foreign transaction but aren’t aware you’re overseas, they could end up freezing your card.
Currency Exchange in Sweden
You won’t have any problem changing money in Sweden. There are often money exchange offices available directly at the airport, for example on Arlanda, Landvetter, Skavsta, Malmö and Luleå, or in Stockholm and Gothenburg.
Most money changers have websites where you can see their exchange rates for different currencies and can compare conversions from the dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), Pounds (GBP) to Swedish krona’s (SEK).
Not worth the bother! Travellers cheques are so outdated, very few banks even accept them any more.
Using Your Bank Card
Most Swedish businesses are well set up to receive card payments. But before you use your bank card willy-nilly, it’s worth reading up on the fees and charges you might incur.
You’ll probably want a debit card if you plan to withdraw money from an ATM. While you may also be able to pay with a debit card in some businesses in the major destinations, you might discover some hefty fees on your account summary.
Depending on your bank, you could be hit with fees for foreign ATM withdrawals or currency conversions. But some banks are better than others; we recommend checking out ING, Revolut, and TransferWise, all of which have travel-friendly debit cards that waive these charges.
Sweden is widely thought of as the most cashless society in the world. This means major credit cards are widely accepted throughout Sweden, including American Express, Diners Club, and Visa. If you see a Eurocard or Access sign, the establishment accepts MasterCard. However, Discover cards are not accepted. You also can withdraw currency from ATMs at various locations.
For those wondering how much it will cost to use your credit card abroad, it all depends on the agreement you have with your card supplier. Most credit cards will charge you for using a cash machine abroad, but since it varies between companies, contact your card-provider to know the rate for sure.
Please note: In order to pay or withdraw cash with your credit card it requires that you have a card with chip and PIN (Personal Identification Number). The older magnetic-stripe cards won’t work.
Credit cards can come with some enticing perks, including added security, loyalty programs, and even free travel insurance.
But are they worth it?
Major local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, airline offices, and department stores, accept credit cards. But you usually have to pay a 1-3% surcharge.
So be aware of additional charges you may incur for foreign transactions. These could include:
- International transaction fees
- High exchange rate margins
- ATM fees
- Potential ‘cash advance fees’ if you use an ATM
If you still prefer credit cards over any other payment, consider going with a company that offers cards that waive certain travel fees. Bankwest Platinum and 28 Degrees both have travel-friendly cards.
Prepaid Travel Cards
The biggest advantages of prepaid travel cards are that you can lock in a favourable exchange rate. You also get a handy back-up card.
Just remember that while they are convenient, you could end up paying a long list of hidden fees. Many travel cards still impose:
- Currency conversion fees
- Uncompetitive exchange rates
- International ATM withdrawal fees
- Initial load fees
- Reload fees
- Inactivity fees