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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers formal banking from the perspective of consumption, drawing on the sociology of money and finance and focusing on three aspects. First, it examines how transactions are organized in ways that keep consumers engaged in banking. It highlights the need to study the marketing and selling practices in finance and the lived experience of credit. Second, it shows how the assumed intermediary function of the banking system, as neutral carrier of impersonal funds, has been challenged by studies of financialization and discrimination, and substantively by fintech innovation. Third, the chapter turns to payments as a richly explored, yet neglected area of sociology, from closed informal circuits and the multiplicity of money forms to the large-scale infrastructural “rails” of finance. Finally, the chapter considers to what extent banking should increasingly be studied not as conveyor of finance but as an instrument of generating consumer data.

Keywords: consumer banking, financialization, algorithmic discrimination, circuits of commerce, payments

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