Banks represent money as a standardized balance. In a very different way, individuals categorize their money depending on its source and destination. This social and emotional marking has an impact on how they perceive their money and use it.

1. Money is marked by its origin

Its meaning depends on the relationships through which it is exchanged: the money I received from my grandmother at Christmas is different from from my salary ¹ Viviana Zelizer, The social meaning of money

2. The origin of money determines its use

It conditions what can be done with it. Depending on where the money comes from, some expenses will be allowed, others not. Spending the end of the month bonus at the bar isn’t a taboo, but using the money given by my grandparents at Christmas to go shopping would be shameful.

3. But the bank neutralizes the money

Because it considers money as something fluid and liquid, the bank ignores the origin of money and transforms it into an abstract, aggregated and neutral balance.

4. Individuals’ vision of money versus banks’ vision of money

When they talk about money, banks and individuals do not talk about the same thing. And what if banks took into account the way individuals perceive their money?



Managing money: constraints and risks influencing people’s practices

Banks and institutions share a certain idea of what money is and what people have to do with it. These preconceptions structure their banking products upstream as well as their service offer to individuals. Yet, the relationship of people to money is not obvious and deserves to be investigated. Are the perception of money and its actual use in line with the assumptions of banks? These lessons come from our report on the uses of money.

Découvrir l'étude


Marc-Antoine Morier - Strategy & Anthropology

Graduated from the EHESS, Marc-Antoine shares his expertise in Sociology and Anthropology with companies. He joined unknowns in 2017 to organize and realize the social sciences fieldwork.

Contact Marc-Antoine

Marc-Antoine Morier

""Social sciences offer methods and tools to understand people. Using them is a good way to understand how and why they do what they do and say what they say.""