Finland is one of the most expensive countries not only in Scandinavia but also in the whole Europe. Therefore, answering the question: ‘How much money should one take to Finland?’ you can advise vacationers in this country to provide themselves with quite a lot of cash.
As part of European integration, Finland stopped using its own national currency in favor of the euro in 2002. Before conversion to the euro, the Finnish currency was the Finnish mark (FIM).
Currency Exchange in Finland
It is not difficult to exchange dollars into euros in Finland. It is possible to exchange currency in banks that work from 9.15 to 16.15 on working days in Finland. Exchange offices of Forex and Tvex currency work longer, but the exchange rate is lower.
At weekends and on public holidays, you can exchange money at the airport, at ferry terminals, in large hotels in Finland.
In some places, a passport may be required for currency exchange.
In Finland, a network of ATMs of Visa, Plus, EC, eurocard, Cirrus / Maestro international payment systems is widely represented. Withdrawal of money from a card in Finnish ATMs costs 3 € for an operation plus 1-3% of the withdrawn amount. There are cash machines (ATMs) on nearly every street corner and in the smallest of villages. Finnish ATMs (displaying the SOLO symbol) accept foreign bankcards with the symbols Visa, Eurocard, Plus Cirrus and EU. Credit and debit cards are used almost everywhere for everything, even in taxis. The need for cash is much smaller than the need in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. Finns conduct most of their banking transactions using ATMs and BACs.
If you have Visa, Master Card, American Express credit cards, you can pay with them in hotels, car rental outlets, department stores, restaurants, and shops. Some taxis in Finland also work with plastic cards, but not all of them, so it would be better to clarify this in advance.
There are no restrictions on import and export of foreign currency in Finland. However, foreigners from outside the EU cannot take out of the country large amounts of money, and it is, therefore, advisable for any foreigner to declare any substantial amounts that they are bringing into the country.
There are no restrictions on the import and export of currencies between European Union members.
Banknotes with a nominal value of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro, and also coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 euro cents, and 1, and 2 euros denomination circulate there.
Euro banknotes of Finland
Euro coins of Finland
The Appearance of Euro Banknotes
One of the means of protection against the counterfeiting of the euro is the number on the banknote. The number consists of a letter and eleven digits. If you add all the digits in the number, you get a two-digit number. Then, by consistently adding up the numbers that make up the number, you can get a single number. For example, after getting the number 79, we add 7 and 9, we get 16 – we add 1 and 6, we get 7 upon doing that. The single number that we received, as well as the letter in the banknote number, indicates the country in which this European currency has been made. They must match, as described in the table:
|D – Estonia||R – Luxembourg|
|F – Malta||S – Italy|
|G – Cyprus||U – France|
|H – Slovenia||V – Spain|
|L – Finland||X – Germany|
|M – Portugal||Y – Greece|
|N – Austria||Z – Belgium|
|N – Ireland||Е – Slovakia|
|P – Netherlands|
For example, if the letter in the banknote number is X (this is Germany), and the single digit received is not equal to 2, then the banknote is counterfeit.
Banks of Finland
Banks of Finland work on weekdays from 09:15 to 16:15. On Saturday, Sunday and on public holidays, Finnish banks are closed. Some banks have longer opening hours.
Finland leads the world in electronic banking services: Finland was the first country in the world to offer telephone banking in 1982, online share trading in 1988, banking via a mobile phone in 1992, Internet banking in 1996 and banking using a WAP phone in 1999. As a result, only 10 to 15 percent of all banking transactions in Finland are now done over-the-counter. Finland is still pioneering developments in Internet banking and is well ahead of its continental rivals in terms of customer penetration and the services offered. Finns can do their banking irrespective of time or place with an ordinary phone, personal computer or a wireless terminal such as a laptop computer, GSM or WAP phone. This means that the banks are open 24 hours a day and customers can choose from a variety of services. This is very different from the banking services available in other European countries where Internet banking is only just taking off.
Finland’s three biggest banking groups, Merita, Leonia, and Okobank, are global pioneers in this field. All services are integrated, for instance, users of the Okobank can access WAP services using the same codes that they currently use for GSM services, the Internet, telephone banking and the automatic telephone service. This means that their customers have the opportunity to use those services that suit them best at any given moment. The newest industry buzzword is «m-banking». This latest abbreviation stands for «mobile banking» and they are investing a great deal of money in its development. Although «wireless» banking services are already in place in Finland using GSM and WAP technology, m-Banking will make use of the new GPRS networks, 3rd Generation mobile phone technology and more sophisticated handsets. It offers much more potential and now the race is on to see who will provide the first services!
Major Banks of Finland
Sampo Bank has 55 offices in all regions of Finland.
OP-Pohjola Finance Group is the largest banking concern in Finland, which includes the well-known banks Pohjola Bank plc and Helsinki OP Bank.
Nordea Bank is one of the largest financial groups in Scandinavia and the Baltics. Its offices are located in Finland and 18 other countries.