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EXPLAINED: The issues with Norway’s electronic ID system

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: The issues with Norway’s electronic ID system
There are a number of issues with Norway's electronic ID system. Pictured is a phone and laptop sat together. Photo by Serena Tyrrell on Unsplash

Electronic IDs in Norway are used for everything from logging into to your tax return, confirming online transactions, and more. While the system is quick and efficient – there are some issues.

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 Electronic IDs have been in use in Norway for around 20 years now, with the most prominent – BankID – being launched in 2004.

The Norwegian state launched its own digital ID, MinID, in 2008 to allow people to access public services online.

In the years since, electronic IDs have become a huge part of everyday life, whether its renewing prescriptions, filing tax returns, making online purchases, putting in offers on homes, or sending over some cash to a friend to split the cost of a dinner.

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners in Norway need to know about electronic IDs

However, for foreigners in Norway the world of electronic IDs is not always plain sailing. Public broadcaster NRK recently reported on a case where it took a Czech national three years to receive a BankID.

We have posted a survey at the end of the article to ask about your experiences with obtaining an electronic ID in Norway. If you want to reach out directly you can email us at [email protected]

While it is relatively straightforward for Norwegian nationals to get an electronic ID, the process can be confusing and frustrating for foreigners.

Lack of clarity over who can get BankID

It could be argued that BankID is the most useful and versatile digital ID, however the rules for obtaining one aren’t always clear.

One of the requirements for getting an electronic ID in Norway is to have a national identity number. However, there is a two-tiered system to national identity numbers.

Essentially foreigners who aren’t expected to stay in Norway for long are given what’s known as a “D-number”. Meanwhile, Norwegian citizens and those expected to live in Norway for a while are given what’s known as a “birth number” or fødselsnummer.

A large number of banks in Norway will not issue a BankID to a customer who does not have a birth number, which means some foreign residents have to go through the process of changing their D-number into a birth number.

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Some banks do accept D-numbers, although some foreigners have experienced receiving two different answers from the same bank.

This all happens despite their being no regulations stating that banks cannot issue a BankID to customers with a D-number.

The electronic ID offered by the state has a lower security clearance

Electronic IDs have different security levels. MinID, issued by the Norwegian state, has a medium security clearance.

This means that while MinID is accessible for foreigners, what you can actually do with it is quite limited.

So, while, its government approved, and it allows you to do the bare essentials like use public services or sign into the country’s tax portal, you can’t use it to download the mobile pay service Vipps, for example.

It would probably be more useful for foreigners if the electronic ID had a higher security level.  

If you need to compromise, it won’t be great

Say, for example, you can’t get a BankID, there are ways you can get around it. Both Commfides and BuyPass ID come with the same security clearance as BankID.

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They do, however, cost money to obtain. At the time or writing, it costs 989 kroner for a Buypass ID and a Commfides ID costs 1,180 kroner.

Costs aside, they don’t offer the same amount of applications, and come with other limitations such as needing to use a usb stick rather than an app.

Not having full access can actually leave you locked out of essential services, and having to rely on work arounds can be frustrating.

Have your say

Please take a few minutes to fill out our survey on using electronic IDs in Norway. We will try and include your experiences in future articles. If the survey doesn’t appear, you can use this link to submit your answers.

 

 

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