Banks see the money as a uniformed balance. On the other hand, individuals use their money regarding its source and destination. This marking is both social and emotional, this is why it influences how they see and use their money.


Money is marked¹ by its origin

Its meaning is determined by the relationships in which it is exchanged: the money given by my grandmother is different from the money from my salary.

¹ Viviana Zelizer, The Social Meaning of Money


The origin of money determines how it will be used

The origin influences what people can do with it. Depending on where the money comes from, some expenses will be socially acceptable, some others won’t. For instance, I can spend my monthly bonus at the bar, but it would be a shame to use my grandparents’ money to do my grocery shopping.


Yet banks neutralize money

Since they assume money is fluid and liquid, they ignore its origin and turn it into an abstract, aggregated and neutral balance.


People’s money and banks’ money

When they talk about money, individuals and banks don’t speak about the same. What if banks take into account how individuals see their money?


Enquête sur les usages de l'argent

Banks and institutions share particular ideas of what money is and what people should do with it. These preconceived ideas drive banking products and their advice to people. These lessons are some conclusions from our study : Enquête sur les usages de l’argent.
However, the relationship between people and money isn’t obvious and deserves much deeper reflection. Do the perception of money and its real use match the banks’ assumptions?


The field research was conducted between July 20th and August 7th 2015, throughout 15 in-depth interviews. This panel was constituted of strongly different type of profiles in terms of age, life cycle, revenues and possessions, marital status or living areas.

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GUILLAUME MONTAGU - Anthropology & Strategy
After following a sociology and political anthropology research program at La Sorbonne, Guillaume has offered his social sciences skills to companies. He joined unknowns to lead researches and studies.

Social sciences assume that individuals have reasons to do what they do. It’s our role to understand and explain their behaviours.


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All icons used in visuals come from Creative Commons – Attribution (CC BY 3.0) 
Thanks to the authors : Kevin Augustine LO,  Mister Pixel,  Michael Thompson,  Bradley Ashburn,  Nicholas Menghini,  Nicky Knicky,  Aha-Soft, Martin Lebreton,  Rohith M S, Jessica Scott, Vineet Kumar Thakur, Thomas Helbig, parkjisun, Yazmin Alanis, Pablo Rozenberg, Rediffusion & Kenneth Von Alt.