Banks & credit cards
Like always, there are bills to pay also during the exchange time. There are several banks in Oulu. The following three banks have their internet bank in English, so these are probably the ones you should stick to.
For under 26-year-olds it is free to open a bank account. In Nordea you can get a card for a cash dispenser, a Visa Electron card and web bank service for free.
To open an account you will need either a passport or an EU driver's license. You will also have to fill a form in English which you can get at the bank.
Branch in downtown Oulu:
Kirkkokatu 6 (Mon – Fri 9:30 – 16:15) Map
For under 26-year-olds it is free to open a bank account. In Sampo Bank you can get a card for a cash dispenser and web bank service for free. You can also get a Visa Electron if you have a Finnish social security number.
To open an account you will need a passport and a certificate from your school.
Branch in downtown Oulu:
Kirkkokatu 13 (Mon – Fri 10:00 – 16:30) Map
For under 26-year-olds it is free to open a bank account. From Osuuspankki/OKO Bank (Cooperative Bank) you can get a Visa Electron (which can only be used in cash dispensers) and web bank service for free if you have a Finnish social security number. It may be possible to expand Visa Electron's usability, but at first you can get it only for a cash dispenser use.
Remember to close your account before you leave from Finland!
What is Visa Electron or Maestro?
Visa Electron and Maestro are not traditional credit cards. Actually they are not credit cards at all because you cannot use credit, only the money you have on your bank account. Visa Electron and Maestro can be used in Finland and abroad for paying in shops (if your card has this usability) and in cash dispensers. When you use your card for paying, it first checks if there is enough money on your account, so with Visa Electron and Maestro you cannot spend more money than you actually have on your account.
Almost all stores in Finland take Visa Electron so this is a very good way to handle your shopping. Finnish banks do not issue Maestro cards, but they are usually accepted in the same places as Visa Electron cards.
Where do I put my card on a cash dispenser?
If you do not have a microchip on your card, you will use the yellow slot. If you have a microchip on your card, you will use the blue slot. The blue slot does not swallow the whole card in, but make sure you push the card deep enough.