Before you Leave for Norway
At least some money is nice to have on hand for a taxi or snack until you get more settled. Occasional travel delays or a utility outage can also leave you in a bind unless you plan ahead.
Your local bank can exchange foreign currency for you. You may have to order Norwegian money in advance, as most banks do not have currency from every foreign country in their building. If you live near a large city, your branch may be able to find some kroner for you at a larger office and refer you there to save time.
Some travel services, like AAA in the United States, can also order foreign money for you.
Bringing Money Into Norway
When arriving in Norway you can bring Norwegian and foreign funds at a total value of NOK 25,000 without declaring it. If you bring more, it must be declared on a form available from the customs authorities. There is no limit on travelers’ checks.
Best Currency Exchange in Norway
Banks are the best place to exchange currency in Norway. They are fair, safe, and trustworthy. Most banks are open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3:30 pm. They are typically open a little later on Thursdays. They will generally be closed Saturday, and certainly on Sunday, and holidays. The larger airports will often have a small bank branch specializing in exchanges. Some post office branches can exchange currency.
Hotels may exchange currency, but at a rate to their advantage.
PLUS, Cirrus, and other ATM machines are available in Norway so you can get currency that way. Be sure to let your bank know you will be travelling or they may put a fraud block on your account, which takes time and hassle to fix. Also check, and if possible adjust, your daily maximum withdrawal limit so you don’t wind up short of funds. ATM machines in Norway on accept 4 digit PIN numbers, so if your bank expects 6 numbers you will want to call the phone number on the back of your card and work it out prior to travelling.
Norwegians don’t use credit cards as much as people from many other developed countries do. Debit cards are more common and welcome. Be advised that Norway uses cards with a chip in them, not the magnetic stripe most American cards have. Some stores may be able to support the magnetic swipe system, but by no means all of them. If you travel often, or will be gone a long time, shop around for a card with the chip because they are available in the US (and elsewhere).
Foreign credit cards are often, but not always accepted at shops, so if in doubt ask before committing to a purchase. The following cards cards are used throughout Norway:
- American Express
- Diners Club
As a technologically savvy country, checks are considered archaic in Norway. Foreign checks will not be accepted.
Cash in a Crisis
If something goes wrong and you need extra money while travelling there are options.
Some credit card companies, like American Express, have special services that will loan you emergency funds.
Western Union branches are available in Norway for someone to transfer money to you. There is a fee based on how much money is being sent.
You might also have a PayPal, or other account, a friend could fund if you don’t want to share access to your banking information. The funds accrue to your PayPal account as soon as they are sent so you could make online payments anywhere PayPal is accepted. From your PayPal account you can also transfer funds to your bank, but this can take a day or more. Also, it doesn’t work on days your bank is closed.
If you have travel insurance they can provide assistance in many cases, depending on the cause of your crisis. For example, they can help if part of your trip gets cancelled, your luggage is lost, or you are injured. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to do much about a sale on jewelry or sweaters.
Norwegian Money When your Trip is Done
If you are blessed to have money remaining after you are home from your trip to Norway, there are a few options on what to do.
If it’s just a few coins or a little bit of Norwegian money, consider:
- give it as a momento to friends
- put it up for auction at your Norwegian club fundraiser
- keep it as a souvenir
- use it in a scrap book or art project to remember your journey
- make key-chains or jewelry from coins
- save it for your next trip
If it’s a lot of money, take it to your bank for exchange. If it’s really a lot, you might track the Norwegian exchange rate for a little while and try to optimize your return.