Norway is big on digital security, and anyone who moves to Norway either permanently or temporarily are urged to get MinID and BankID as soon as possible. The problem is just that many foreigners find it to be difficult to meet the requirements from the bank to issue a BankID!
Luckily, you have other options. BankID is only 1 of 3 different “level 4 security measurements” in Norway, and you can always use Commfides or Buypass ID as an alternative to BankID. We will be looking closer at Commfides in this article, and how you can get it.
To order Commfides, simply go to their website to read about it here, or fill out the form here to order one. Pay the fee (1,180 NOK for a 3 year access), then wait for it to arrive in the mail. And now you’re ready to log into all public services online in Norway!
Before we get deeper into the requirements and ins and outs of Commfides, it’s worth mentioning this this is a physical USB stick that you need to actually insert into the computer you’re using when logging in. So it won’t be as fast and easy to use as BankID that runs as an app on your phone.
Commfides do also have an app, but I will get back to this in the last part of the post.
The requirements for getting Commfides
In order to be able to get Commfides, you need to be registered in the National Population Register (Folkeregisteret). This is a register of all Norwegian citizens, and you can apply to get in it if you stay here for a certain time period. In most cases you will need to have plans to stay in Norway for more than 6 months to get registered.
The National Population Register is meant for people who are actually moving to Norway, not just staying here for a semester when studying or for a few months working.
When you register at the National Population Register, you will also get a National Identity Number (Personnummer). With that done, all you need is a valid ID, because that’s needed when collecting the physical Commfides chip at the post office.
The post offices typically only accept passports as a valid ID, other than Norwegian ID like a Norwegian driver’s license or a Norwegian National ID Card.
So the short summary is that anyone that wants to stay in Norway for longer than 6 months will typically be able to get Commfides. You can apply as soon as you are registered in the National Population Register.
Can you get Commfides with just a D number?
Commfides claims that you can apply for their product with only a D number, but they also requires you to be active in the National Population Register (which is not really possible with just a D number), so I don’t think people with just a D number will easily be able to get Commfides.
This is a bit unfortunate, but it is what it is. The only exception is if you are registered in the National Population Register, but are still waiting on getting your National Identity Number (this can take some time). In these cases you can order Commfides with your D number.
You can also in theory get BankID with just a D number, but the feedback from people who actually attempt this is that it’s very difficult to get it done.
How Commfides works, and how it’s different from BankID
The basic Commfides kit consists of a USB device and a PIN code you choose. Whenever you want to log in to any secure websites, choose the Commfides option, put in the USB stick in the computer, and type in your PIN code. And that’s all you need to log in!
This verifies your identity, and you get access to all the sensitive services that would otherwise require other security measurements to access.
Commfides is actually very easy to use, but the big drawback is that you need this physical USB stick. This means that you cannot use it to log into these services in your mobile phone, and if you’re out and about and forget the USB stick with Commfides on it at home.
Another important point to touch on is that Commfides is a subscription service, and you pay for it by 3 year increments. When you order it you pay for the first 3 years, and get a bill of 1,180 NOK. So it’s around 400 NOK per year, which is a lot of money to spend on a small USB stick like this. Especially when you consider in the factor that the alternative (BankID) is free of charge.
This high subscription cost is also likely the reason why Commfides is very rare compared to BankID. I have not really met any person who uses it (other than when researching for this article).
What to use Commfides for
Commfides can be used as a regular level 4 security measurement login in Norway. This means that you can access all the same things as you can access with BankID, including things like:
- Log into Digipost.
- Apply for a spot in kindergarten.
- Log in to UDI’s website (immigration service).
- Log in to NAV.
- Log in to Helsenorge (all public health related stuff)
- Log in to Skatteetaten (the tax office).
- Sign documents digitally.
- Apply for higher education.
The only thing that you cannot do with Commfides (that you can with BankID) is to log into your bank interface, and sign money transfers. Some people find this reassuring, while others find it annoying that they need another tool for logging in to their bank.
The Commfides App (Commfides Mobil e-ID for person)
There is an official Commfides App called Commfides Mobil e-ID for person that you can use to log in. The problem is that they have virtually zero information about this app on their website, so I can’t really tell you much about this.
What I do know is that this cost 399 NOK per year to use, so it’s the same price as the physical Commfides USB stick, but paid yearly instead of every 3 years. From what I understand, you need to pay these 399 NOK in addition to the 1,180 NOK if you want both the physical USB stick and the app.
I do not even know if the Commfides mobile app is considered a level 4 security measurement (which is needed for most secure log ins). I’m currently waiting on a reply from Commfides on these questions, so the post will be updated once I learn more.