Bank identity: Banks, ID cards, and the emergence of a financial identification society in Sweden

Today, nearly the entire adult population in Sweden uses a digital BankID for more purposes than only financial ones. Issuing identity documents is commonly perceived as a task for state authorities, but in Swedish society banks have played a dominant role as identificators. This article explains this unique emergence of bank identity and traces the historical roots of a financial identification society to the mid-1960s. Banks started issuing standardized identity cards as a complement to the new system of paying salaries and wages by direct deposit to checking accounts, and these cards eventually became quasi-official identity documents. The introduction and general distribution of ID cards were parts of a process whereby wage earners became financial consumers, and the banks transformed themselves into retail companies.

  • Date: 16/04/2018
  • Sector: Any
  • Topics: Digital technology, Gender equality, Inclusive finance, Sustainable enterprises, Workers' rights
  • Regions: Europe and Central Asia
  • Resource type: Publications
  • Institutions: Enterprise & Society