We have read in the past how difficult it is for some immigrants in Finland to open a bank account never mind get access to online banking. All of Finland’s phone operators require immigrants to be residents for two years and a deposit of 300-500 euros in order to get a mobile phone line.
A Saunalahti customer service employee said that the two-year requirement was made by all phone companies operating in the country.
How do they know how long a person has lived in Finland?
“We find out the person’s creditworthiness,” the Saunalahti employee said. “That’s how we know how long he’s lived in the country.”
An immigrant who has resided in Finland for a year and a half said that getting credit for buying a cell phone was out of the question if you don’t meet the two-year minimum residence requirement.
“Having a mobile phone line is complicated and costly if you pay the deposit,” the immigrant said. “If you are a refugee who gets a few hundred euros in assistance monthly from the state, 300 euros is a lot of money.”
@SR_Penny tweeted shortly after the story was published: “Nightmare! I went to get a pre-paid SIM at the weekend, & was told 5 years for a mobile contract or EUR300-500 up front deposit!”
@SR_Penny said that one operator, Elisa, told him that it would take as long as five years until he can get a contract. He said that the 300-500 euro deposit would only be refunded when the contract ended, normally after 24 months.
One way that immigrants get around this problem is by asking their friends and relatives to open a mobile phone line for them.
Getting a mobile phone line isn’t the only headache immigrants face. Opening a bank account can be equally trying and varies from bank to bank and city branch office to city branch office. In some cases it’s possible to open a bank account but not have access to online banking.
Some banks even require immigrants to be Finnish citizenship in order to have access to online banking, while others require a valid Finnish driver’s license.
While stateless persons may have a difficult time opening a bank account in Finland, some have gotten around this obstacle by using a driver’s license.