Once in Norway, especially on a long term stay, something which will be of great importance is how you manage your finances. While you are free to open a bank account in Norway if you meet the required criteria, a credit card and debit card will help you in effecting payments conveniently. Just like in most countries in the Scandinavia, cash transactions are not commonplace in Norway. In fact, with a credit and debit card, you can access services and goods from major establishments, hotels, and restaurants. However, many supermarkets and gas stations do not accept credit cards.
If you decide to pay with a credit card make sure you know all the pros and the cons when using this form of payment. By using a credit card, you will not have to pay the fees that are otherwise applicable when exchanging money or paying by travellers’ cheques. However, your bank may charge you commission or bank fees. With the credit cards, you get the control over your personal and household finances. However, it is necessary to watch out so that you do not end up accumulating unnecessary debt from the use of credit card.
How to and where to get credit cards in Norway
After living in Norway for at least one year as an expat, you can apply for a credit card. As a pre-requisite, you must have a Norwegian bank account to which you regularly receive your income. This means that you need to first meet the conditions for having a local bank account in Norway before accessing credit cards.
Again, you must first meet other minimum criteria set by the credit card issuer. To be issued with a credit card, you must have a proof of full time employment and credit worthiness. Again, you must have been able to pay all your bills including utility in good time. As a common practice and requirement, the Norwegian credit card issuers will expect you to provide or to access at least one full year’s tax return. In practice, it might be up to two years before you get accepted to a credit card use.
If you’re over the age of 18 and in full-time employment, you can apply for a credit card. However, you need to pay close attention to the specific requirements put forth by credit card issuing companies since a contravention of such terms may result in them deciding to stop you from using it this service.
There are various institutions that issue credit cards in Norway. In Norway, up to eleven card-issuing banks issue credit and debit cards. The cards are issued under fifteen different Issuer Identification Numbers, or IINs (also called bank identification numbers, or BINs). Banks in Norway issue visa, mastercard and amex branded credit and debit cards. The cards have a default currency of Norwegian Krone (NOK)
Conditions and Competitiveness of the Norwegian Credit Cards
Each credit card issuer has a set maximum allowable limit. However, this allowances does not apply in the same way for all clients since in practice, your own credit limit will be based on your income. It is commonplace across the credit card issuers that the credit limit is set around 10-15% of your annual salary. This means that if you earn 600,000kr you can expect to be offered a credit limit of 60,000kr or possibly slightly higher. The market for Norway’s credit cards market is competitive. The issuers include traditional banks, consumer finance specialists and online banks..