Sweden - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing

It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.

Last published date: 2021-09-14

Methods of Payment

The Swedish payment and banking systems are highly automated and advanced.  The most common method of international payment is transferred via electronic funds/bank transfer.  Common trade finance methods include document collection, letter of credit and bank/payment guarantee.  Common terms of sale are payment within 30-90 days after delivery. For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.

A U.S. exporter looking to recover debts should contact the Association of Swedish Debt Collectors for information regarding and contact with debt collecting agencies.

Credit reports on Swedish companies can be obtained by contacting one of the sources below:

Bisnode Dun & Bradstreet Sweden 
Creditsafe Group                                                       
Sergel
Syna AB

UC AB

Valitive (part of Alektum Group)

Sweden is one of the countries in the world with the highest level of card payments.  Major credit cards such as VISA and MasterCard are accepted throughout Sweden.  Diner’s Club and American Express may be less acceptable due to the high service charges associated with them.  Mobile banking, contactless cards, payments in real time (such as Swish) and other electronic payment solutions continue to increase in use.

Banking Systems

The Swedish market is made up of four main categories of banks: Swedish commercial banks, foreign banks, savings banks, and co-operative banks.  All the above-mentioned types of banks are - since the amendment of banking legislation in 1969 - entitled to operate in all areas of banking.  In December 2020 Sweden had a total of 121 banks.  The three largest Swedish banks are: Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), Svenska Handelsbanken, and Swedbank.  The largest foreign banks in Sweden are Nordea (largest bank in Sweden) and Danske Bank (5th largest bank in Sweden).
 
In 1986, Sweden issued a charter for the first 12 foreign-owned commercial banks and since 1990 foreign-owned banks have been entitled to open branch offices in Sweden. These branch offices have primarily concentrated on servicing the business sector.  Also, in 1990, the restrictions concerning foreign ownership of Swedish bank stock were abolished. In December 2020 there were a total of 32 foreign bank branches represented in Sweden, the largest being Nordea, which moved its headquarters from Sweden to Finland in October 2018.  Sweden is not part of the Eurozone; however Swedish commercial banks offer euro-denominated accounts and payment services.
 
The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) monitors the companies on the Swedish financial market.  Banks and financial institutions are represented by The Swedish Bankers’ Association in Sweden. Both websites provide more information in English about the Swedish financial sector.
 
In 2014, Sweden entered into the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) agreement with the U.S. For clients identified as “U.S. persons”, Swedish banks are obliged to provide information to the Swedish Tax Agency, who then in turn provide the information to the IRS.

Foreign Exchange Controls

Foreign exchange controls are not levied in Sweden. Commercial transactions are, in general, not subject to any restrictions.  There are, however, reporting/declaration requirements when remitting or borrowing funds internationally.

U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks

There are numerous U.S. bank branches in Sweden, the majority of them providing corporate services.  These include: Bank of America, Citibank Europe, Goldman Sachs Bank Europe, and JP Morgan.

All large Swedish banks have corresponding U.S. banking arrangements. Many Swedish banks also have subsidiaries or branch offices in the United States. EXIM Bank support is available to both the Public and Private Sectors.  For more information, see the EXIM website.