Lack of ID


1 billion people in the world do not have formal identification like a national ID card or passport. This limits people from access to healthcare, social protection, education, finance and beyond - in some cases even from getting a mobile phone.


Without formal identification, people in developing countries struggle to prove their identity and get access to the services that they are entitled to. This can include access to go to the hospital and social benefits including access to education. If you do not have formal ID, you may also be limited from reporting a crime at your local police station and in this way, you lose out on the social protection that your state should provide you.

One vital dilemma in this regard is the access to financial services. Without formal ID, people are often limited from getting a bank account, taking a loan, and even from buying a mobile phone subscription. The mobile phone is important, because in many developing countries the main way of sending money is via a mobile phone.

KYC and bank services

Financial institutions in most countries need to comply with a so called Know-Your-Customer (KYC) processes. This is part of the recommendations by FATF for avoiding anti-money laundering***.

KYC processes require Banks to identify and verify who their customers are. Financial institutions around the world have interpreted this to mean that customers should provide a national ID in order to become a bank customer. This has in turn limited people without ID from getting access to bank services.

Realising the back side to this practice, some countries have developed what is know as Tier or Risk Based KYC. This means, that the requirement for ID are lessened if banks are only providing services concerning a very low amount of money.


* In response to increasing concern of money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) was established by the G-7 Summit that was held in Paris in 1989

* FATF has developed a standard for how financial institution avoid money laundering. This standard is a set of recommendations that financial institutions should comply by

* 200 jurisdictions around the world have commited to the FATF recommendations