Leading the Digital Change – eID and eSignatures in Scandinavia

by Gaurav Sharma (guest) on 06. August 2018

The Nordic countries have led the world in digital adoption and innovation for some time now. They often top most digital competitiveness rankings such as the 2017 Digital Evolution Index.

The index places Nordic countries in a leading position in terms of user trustworthiness of the digital environment, quality of user experience, and consumer behaviors in the digital space. This digital edge feeds into other sectors of the economy, and as a result, the Nordic countries lead in areas like fintech, online service delivery and digital commerce.


Leading by Enabling

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Providing businesses and users with the tools to effectively and securely transact in a digital environment is a crucial requirement for the creation of a truly digital economy. User identification and authentication are one of the first and perhaps one of the more important steps in digital service delivery. Financial services become even more critical with the need to ensure compliance with CDD (Customer Due Diligence) and KYC (Know Your Customer) norms and build robust barriers against money laundering and other financial crimes.

The Nordic countries present an ideal case study for the type of Digital Single Market that the European Union would like to establish across all its Member States. That is the main objective behind various EU initiatives like the eIDAS regulation and its supporting guidelines, which are critical enablers for the creation of such a pan-European Digital Single Market.


Letting the numbers do the talking

The biggest success, perhaps in the Nordic countries, has been the high adoption rates. The following table illustrates how widely the national eID and eSignature schemes are used in Denmark, Sweden and Norway:

 Country (eID Scheme)

Total users / Total population

Service usage per month

Denmark (NemID)

4.9 M / 5.7 M

i.e. the entire adult population

59 M - an average of 12 times per user per month

Sweden (BankID)

6.7 M / 10 M

i.e. 67% of total population

275 M - an average of 40 times per user per month

Norway (BankID)

3.7 M / 5.3 M

i.e. 70% of total population

42 M - an average of 11 times per user per month

These figures are indicative of the trust that the consumers have placed in these schemes as well as the ability of these schemes to successfully deliver what is required of them. In a matter of years, these electronic IDs have become pivotal in the delivery of all services – both through the private sector and governmental agencies. eIDAS aims to replicate this success and even improve upon it by enabling the cross-border use of electronic identification documents.

In Part 2 of our series on the success of electronic IDs and digital signatures in Nordic countries, we will look at them in somewhat greater detail and analyze what has made them so successful with such impressive adoption rates. Such an analysis will help us distill the key ingredients to such schemes' success and provide a glimpse into the future of larger initiatives such as eIDAS.



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References and Further Reading

Image: Viking Shadow, courtesy of Shannon Kringen, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Other Related Articles: # Digital Signatures # eIDAS

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