Best Student Credit Cards in Sweden (Guide)

Best Student Credit Cards In Sweden 2023 (also debit)

Every student is trying to save money; that’s no news. So, what are the best student credit cards in Sweden this year? What about debit cards? How can students use it to their advantage and make their lives easier?

Sometimes being a student in Sweden seems impossible. I spent 10 years at University, and during that time, I had to pay rent, my bills, food, clothing, dining, and travel back home (from Sweden to Argentina).

Especially if you are a student from another EU country traveling to a Swedish program (e.g., Erasmus student), it can be daunting! A baguette in Spain costs 0.40€ (YES, 40 CENTS = 4 SEK). In Sweden, a fresh baguette at ICA or Hemköp costs 20 SEK. WTF! Oh, and it worsens when you start considering things beyond food, such as transportation, clothing, rent, and insurance.

In this post, I try to shed some light (from my humble experience) and summarize the best credit and debit card options students can use to make the most of their money, right now.

Revolut Standard Card
Revolut Standard

Great digital bank, get 700kr for each referral, free currency exchange.

ICABanken Mastercard
ICA Banken

Great welcome gift, double bonus in their stores, no Apple Pay.

Northmill Bank Visa Card
Northmill Bank

Available extra cash, flexible installments, utra-low interest rates, easy.

Wise Eco Card (2023)
Wise Eco

Multi-currency account, no foreign transaction fees, free ATM withdrawals.

What Is The Best Student Credit Card in Sweden?

In this post, I want to focus on payment cards (credit and also debit). Yes, you could use your home country payment card directly, but that’s not ideal unless you have a good reason. There are plenty of benefits for paying “like a local”, and even some more for opening a Swedish bank account. Some examples are BankID (e-ID), Swish, and discounts, among others.

As a student, you should care about the following things:

  • No fees (or very, very low)
  • Cash-back
  • Discounts
  • Foreign transaction fees (currency exchange surcharges)
  • Line of credit (extra cash if you don’t have the money)
  • Travel insurance and using your card abroad

The more of those benefits you can combine, the better the card. In the next section, I summarize the top cards right now and analyze them based on some of the aspects above.


1. Revolut

Revolut is a new kid on the block. They were a fintech and digital bank, and in 2022, they obtained an official banking license in Sweden and many other EU countries. Yes! Revolut is a bank now, which means your deposit is insured for up to 1 Million kronor (€100.000).

ONGOING OFFER: Get 3 months free Premium when you sign-up

Revolut Standard Card

Revolut is adding more and more features every month, and they have big plans for the Nordics, where they have more than half a million customers. As a student, this card can be valuable for money transfers and free exchange rates. It’s also cool that you get 700kr for each friend you invite to Revolut.

Why is this card good for students?

This is a premium debit card. It has many credit-card like features without a credit check or a stable job. It is a good balance for students who want more from a traditional credit card without the hassle of big banks.

Since it’s free, this card is also a great complement to your existing bank!

Pros:

  • 3 months free premium when you sign up here.
  • Get 700kr FOR EACH friend you refer after they use their card 3 times.
  • Super easy to set up, all digital
  • Manage Crypto assets, earn crypto for taking courses.
  • Instant money transfers
  • Best currency exchange rates
  • Online discounts
  • Saving vaults
  • Freelancer features for free, 1% cashback (Revolut Pro)
  • Possibility to upgrade and get better features like insurance and lounge access.
  • Real bank, deposit guarantee

Cons:

  • No BankID or Swish yet
  • Not possible to pay faktura via OCR
  • No credit line (it is a premium debit card)

2. ICA Banken Mastercard (ICA Student)

CA Banken offers a Mastercard designed specifically for students called the ICA Student Mastercard. It offers great features and benefits suitable for students, such as no annual fee, double bonus on groceries at ICA, travel insurance, and discounts and offers.

ICA Banken Mastercard

Why is this card good for students?

Great welcome package. Totally free. Doesn’t need a credit check to apply for the debit card. Discounts on food if you buy at ICA.

Pros:

  • Free debit card as long as you are a student.
  • 1.6% cash back at ICA and Pharmacy (only!).
  • Welcome basket/gift with food, cheaper home insurance, and 100 SEK if you have CSN and you move it to their account.
  • Read discounts on food

Cons:

  • You don’t get money back in other stores.
  • A bit of paperwork to sign-up.
  • You will also get charged for the account after your studies are done, so remember to close the account if you don’t want to pay a fee.
  • The reward can also ONLY be used at ICA, which sucks a bit.
  • ICABanken phone app sucks compared to the other banks.

I discovered this card in my second year in Sweden (I’ve been here for over 10). I was already established, knew my drill, had a personnummer, and everything required to apply for this card. I will admit, it was great. When you first sign up for it, you get a welcome basket from ICA, which is worth about 800 SEK in products, plus, if you ask for a joint account (like with a partner or sambo), you get it twice!

It also allows you to get a double bonus when you buy at ICA or ICA Group stores (this means you get double the money back). However, for this to work, you must have the money in your ICA account and pay with your debit card, so make sure you have money available.

Every month you receive a “bonus check” between 25kr and 150kr, depending on what you spend. You can then use this money to pay your next time at ICA.

Let’s run the quick math:
For every 3000 SEK (30€) you spend at ICA, you’ll get 50 SEK back (€5), assuming you pay with their debit card. And for every other purchase

This means that with the double bonus, this card gives you:

  • 1.6% cash back at ICA and ICA Pharmacy
  • 0% cash back on all other purchases at other stores

Getting 1.6% back on food is great! Don’t get me wrong. But it’s a pity that you don’t get cash back on all the other purchases. That’s why I prefer other cards rather than ICA Banken

Here’s a concrete example they have on their website

Leila lives in a single household – In addition to her ICA Bank Card, she also has the salary in her account at ICA Banken. Through her purchases with ICA Bank Cards at ICA and Apotek Hjärtat, she has collected 3,000 regular points in one month.

Since Leila has the salary in her account with us and paid for the purchases within ICA with our card, ICA Banken doubles that bonus. This means that she receives an extra bonus of SEK 25 from ICA Banken.

In one year, it will be SEK 600 in bonus if she has the same behavior every month. Good to know – Had Leila not met the requirements for a double bonus, she would have received SEK 300 in bonus in one year.


3. Northmill Bank

The Northmill Bank account credit and card are perfect for the ones who want a bit of extra buffer without the hassle of credit cards. The extra credit costs nothing if you don’t use it and can help you when you want to make large purchases of finance expenses up to 50.000 SEK. There are no monthly fees or hidden costs, and the interest rates are much lower than standard credit cards. You can also get a better rate if your credit score is good.

Why is this card good for students?

It is a good option to get extra money while getting started on how credit cards work. Credit cards are tools meant to help you with your finances, not to put you in debt. Northmill kontokredit helps you practice that without the hassle of statements and due dates.

Pros:

  • Totally free
  • NO FEES
  • Available extra cash
  • Only pay for what you use
  • Ultra-low interest rates
  • Flexible installments
  • Debit card
  • Apple Pay
  • High-yield savings account

Cons:

  • No insurance
  • No purchase protection

Northmill bank account with account credit and debit card lets you pay ultralow interest only on what you use and repay any time you want. It doesn’t introduce complicated invoices or statements and enables you to make money transfers too, unlike credit cards. As a student, this can be very powerful.

The main drawbacks are: no payment protection for goods, no travel insurance, and no rewards, cashback or point system. Those are typically the main benefits of credit cards, but hey, those come at the cost of maintenance fees and more hassle.


4. Wise Eco Card

The Wise eco debit card is an excellent option for international students or someone who travels abroad or needs to make international transactions. It offers low fees, convenience, security, transparency, and ease of management, making it a popular choice for many people.

Wise Eco Card (2023)
Wise Eco Card

Why is this card good for students?

It’s a debit card meant for multiple currencies. Great addition to your current bank, as it’s free. Handy when sending or receiving money from abroad as an international student. You also get free ATM withdrawals and no foreign transaction fees while traveling.

Pros:

  • No hidden fees or subscriptions
  • Multi-currency account
  • No credit check
  • Deposit guarantee
  • Real exchange rates
  • Low fees
  • Biodegradable card
  • Great Business package
  • Send money abroad easily
  • Get €75 referring friends

Cons:

  • No credit line
  • No insurance
  • No purchase protection
  • No BankID or Swish

Wise has done a fantastic job with its new eco card. Made with zero plastic and entirely out of reusable materials, the debit card has a sleek look and generates no waste once you dispose of it. Wise’s production and delivery fees are more than reasonable (less than €6), and you can also use the card right away digitally via Apple Pay or Google Pay.

You can check the full review post here.


5. Resurs Classic

Resurs Classic is almost like a 6-months personal loan with zero interest. Get this card to pay for large expenses and split payments into interest-free installments.

Choose Resurs Classic instead of the other Resurs Bank credit cards if you don’t want to pay any annual fee, or if you already have a credit card you use for your everyday purchases. Ideal for furniture, travel, or buying home appliances, etc.

Resurs Classic Mastercard (2022)
Resurs Classic Mastercard

Why is this card good for students?

Free card that works great to split large expenses, like furniture, TVs, or travel. With Resurs cards you can also get a free savings account that gives you extra money.

Pros:

  • Completely free! No annual fees
  • Split payments up to 6 months interest-free.
  • Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Up to 60 days of interest-free credit on every purchase.
  • Pay for invoices
  • Transfer money to a bank account directly from your credit card

Cons:

  • No points or cashback on your purchases
  • No savings account (get Resurs World or Gold for that)
  • Extra cards cost 50kr (for family members)
  • No referral program for friends and family

6. Coop Mastercard Mer

Coop Mastercard Mer has been around for several years, at least since I came to Sweden in 2012. With this card, you earn points when you shop at Coop and its partners. The card also gives points on purchases and includes a good insurance package. I also love their cooperation with SAS, where you can only use points on Scandinavian Airlines to get free flights.

Why is this card good for students?

Great discounts at Coop and point system in Sweden. You can connect rewards to SAS and travel for free. No fee the first year, and you get a good insurance package.

Pros:

  • 10.000 welcome bonus (worth 100 kr)
  • Free for the first year, then 295kr
  • Simple point system
  • Points can be exchanged for pretty much anything (vouchers).
  • Collect points with your family
  • Travel and purchase insurance
  • Up to 55 days of interest-free credit on every purchase.
  • Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • Solid reputation: Issued by EnterCard, and has been around for ages
  • Exclusive offers and promotions like with other credit cards

Cons:

  • Fee after 1 year
  • It would be nice to see a cheaper version of this card (i.e. 195kr) and a Premium version of this card where you earn more rewards, similar to the SEB SAS EuroBonus World Mastercard Premium

The Coop Mastercard Mer card is a solid option that has been around for many years with a good reputation. Its point system is simple and can be a great option for families spending considerable amounts on groceries and everyday expenses. You also get the flexibility to use your points on anything you want without paying exorbitant fees like with American Express cards.

You can check the full review post here.


7. Bank Norwegian Visa

I have covered this card in the blog many times. You can check out my post “5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Bank Norwegian Card”. I add a summary of the main bullets below.

Why is this card good for students?

This card is not what it used to be when I signed up for it in 2014, but it is still worth considering it if you are traveling heavily in Norwegian. Otherwise, I would instead pick the Coop Mastercard, or Resurs Gold which are easier to qualify for.

Pros:

  • It’s a visa (universally accepted)
  • Rewards for everything.
  • Up to 55 days of interest-free credit on every purchase.
  • Invite friends and get 200 SEK/NOK in free travel.
  • Apple Pay.
  • Dental protection (optional).

Cons:

  • Rewards can only be used for free flights or hotels.
  • You need to be over 23 years old to apply.

Conclusion

Since these are all free cards, and most of them require no maintenance while you are a student, I would try all of them, and that’s what I did (check this post where I show the 150+ credit cards I’ve tried). After all, it costs you nothing, and the more options you have in your arsenal, the more you save. That’s how it works with bank cards.

You can have a go-to card, but then you change depending on the promotions and discounts. For example, Wise and Revolut are great complements to your

If you combine any of these cards with your Mecenat discounts, you’ll be saving tons of money every year!

Hope it helps, and feel free to reach out to me on Instagram if you have comments or questions

Enjoy!

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