The Banking system is overseen by Finanstilsynet, an independent government agency. Finanstilsynet creates the laws and that stem from the Stortinget (Parliament). It supervises the banks, finance companies, mortgage companies, insurance companies, pension funds, investment firms, securities fund management and market conduct in the securities market, stock exchanges and authorized market places, settlement centres and securities registers, estate agencies, debt collection agencies, and external accountants and auditors.
Banks are normally open from 10:00 until 16:00, Monday through Friday. Many banks offer full online services. Some banks even operate only online and do not have any physical branches.
It is in your best interest to open a Norwegian bank account if you will be spending significant time in Norway or earning income. A bank account can also be used as proof of identification, which is useful if applying for a mortgage or purchasing property.
ATMS, or Minibankare, are located all around the city and most accept Visa or Mastercard (look out for their logos on the machine). Fewer ATMs provide cash from American Express cards. International banks like Citibank will almost always accept foreign cards. At main airports and Oslo Central Station, you can withdraw euros, dollars, British pounds, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian kroner.
Travellers should contact their home bank about partnerships they may have with Norwegian banks and which ATMs have the lowest fees. It is also wise to let them know when and where you will be traveling so foreign activity does not arouse suspicion. In an attempt to protect you, your bank could lock the account if they think the card may have been stolen.
Norway's currency is the Norwegian crown (norske krone), abbreviated as kr. A 1/100th krone is called an afare. Coins come in 50 afare, 1, 5, 10, and 20 kroner. Paper notes come in 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 kroner. When you need to distinguish Norwegian currency from Swedish or Danish krone, use the official three-letter abbreviation NOK.
If you have some cash or traveller's checks, it is possible to exchange in banks in the tourist information office, with many hotels and travel agents, and in the post office. The best rates are usually from withdrawing money from the ATM.
It is also possible to set up transfers via bank. This enables instantaneous transfer of funds, for a fee. The fee is usually determined by a percentage of money to be transferred, so shop around for the best rates.
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