Currency & banks
The currency in Iceland is the Icelandic króna (ISK). Foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks. Today it’s not very common to see bills and coins, people rather use debit or credit cards or even mobile phone apps to pay for goods and services in daily life.
It’s necessary to have a bank account when living and working in Iceland. That will enable you to get your salaries directly into your bank account and it’s important for daily financial transactions. With a bank account you will also get a debit card to use when paying for things and services. Banks offer different interest rates and their services vary a bit so it’s good to choose a bank carefully to find out which of them suites you the best.
It’s not common to be able to pay with other currencies than the Icelandic króna in Iceland. Most shops, companies and taxis accept payment by card (debit and credit cards). Information on the reference exchange rate for ISK against other currencies can be found here. Further information on the Icelandic króna, interest rates, inflation targets, etc. can also be found on the website of the Central Bank of Iceland.
There are many banks in Iceland but here is a list of the three main banks that offer service for individuals and have good information in English on their web sites.
To own a bank account you need to have an Icelandic ID number. It takes just few minutes to open up a savings account in banks nowadays. If you have electronic ID (rafræn skilríki) the process is straight forward and you can get assistance from service agents in the banks via phone or chat.
A debit card comes with a bank account but to get a credit card you might have to show that you have work and getting salaries.
The main banks all have online banking services where you can pay bills, transfer money and attend to other financial matters. The easiest and cheapest way to transfer money to abroad is doing it using the online banking service.
Plenty of ATMs are located around Iceland, usually in towns and in or near shopping malls.