We know by hand for two possible ways of how someone can identify himself as the owner of a vault in Gringotts.

The first one we know of, from the HP & PS were Harry goes to Gringotts with Hagrid and the second is giving Harry's vault key to the goblin.

Also, on the same scene we can see that another type of identification is with a "letter" (I am talking about the letter that Dumbledore gave to Hagrid in order him to extract the Philosopher's Stone) but I guess because it was Dumbledore asking that it was a "special" case and that wouldn't happen with normal people.

The third one we know is from HP & DH I-II at which point Harry, Ron & Hermione are going to Gringotts after using the Polyjuice potion and Hermione has the form of Bellatrix and the identification is being done by Bellatrix's wand.

What other known ways do we know of for "customers" identifying themselves to the Goblins in order to get access to their vaults?

  • 1
    I edited your post a bit for clarity. Feel free to rollback if the edits go too far.
    – Adamant
    Jun 27, 2016 at 8:25
  • seems legit tnx :) @Obie2.0 Jun 27, 2016 at 8:30

1 Answer 1


Another way seems to be by appearance

When Harry goes to Gringotts shortly before beginning his second year, he is led to his vault by one of the bank employees, with no mention made of keys, letters, or wands, suggesting that the Gringotts goblins recognize some customers by their appearance, namely Harry and the Weasleys:

“Meet you back here,” Ron said to Hermione as the Weasleys and Harry were led off to their underground vaults by another Gringotts goblin.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Similarly, Griphook and Hermione seem to have planned for Hermione to present no identification, relying on the fact that the Gringotts employees would recognize Bellatrix:

“You have . . . identification?” asked the goblin.

“Identification? I-I have never been asked for identification before!” said Hermione.

They know!” whispered Griphook in Harry’s ear, “They must have been warned there might be an imposter!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is not so extraordinary. The magical population of Britain numbers in the tens of thousands at the highest. The goblins that work at Gringotts can recognize the key to a given vault (though that may be because of secret markings).

"Got it," said Hagrid at last, holding up a tiny golden key.

The goblin looked at it closely.

"That seems to be in order."

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

It certainly seems possible that they can remember the faces of all the people who do business with them.

  • Harry is always a special case because everybody knows him.... In continue i dont see this as an answer to my question, you just re used the things i said.... And the point that goblins remember all the faces is not true, they are very very smart, but it is never said that they have identic memory, thus this is still not an answer..and even if i would accept this as an answer it is not complete at all, because by Hermiones (as Belatrix) example we can see there are other ways, thus another reason this is not a complete answer. Jun 27, 2016 at 8:48
  • First of all I concluded that " this is not a complete answer". Second of all, still Harry is a special boy, and the Weasleys and Bellatrix are from the oldest families so I guess they wouldnt need to identify except from the physical appearance, even though there has to be something else... Jun 27, 2016 at 9:01
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    In a world with Polyjuice potion and magic, I find it incredibly surprising that the goblins, who take pride in the security of their bank, would ever rely only on appearance for identification. Then again, when has JKR ever followed logic?
    – David K
    Jun 27, 2016 at 13:23
  • I assumed they didn't oft need to worry about identification as the key was required to get into the vault. They just asked harry for the key as it was known the famous Mr Potter had yet to turn up once. And that the magically opened vault of Bellatrix would only be opened for her, she who would intimidate the goblins into opening the vault Jun 27, 2016 at 13:49
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    @hedgehog Was not her wand used as identification,and I remember a note from Dumbledore or some such for the philosophers vault. Jun 29, 2016 at 16:34

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