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Blog: Digital ID – making the world of online financial services accessible

March 30, 2023

By Harry Weber-Brown, CEO at TISA Digital

We’ve all been there. No matter how many times you enter what you’re sure is the correct password, all you get is a message on your screen telling you it’s wrong. Despite entering the password that you wrote down the last time you went through this, you ask for an email to reset your password. Then you sit and wait for the email. Which never comes. And yes, you’ve checked your junk folder.  

Or the email does arrive, but you’re not allowed to use the same password as last time.  

Eventually, you create a brand-new password, full of capital letters, numbers and symbols. You even make sure to write this down in your password book. Rinse, repeat, for every website and service provider. Part of you knows this is likely to happen again a few months down the line. 

The Digital ID solution  

At TISA, we firmly believe that technology will make this drudgery a thing of the past. Solutions already exist for many services, as Google, Apple, or Facebook provide reusable credentials. But these are insufficient to satisfy the complex know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) requirements applied by for the protection of consumers’ money to the financial services sector.  

The lack of reusable credentials has betrayed the great promise of the internet – simple, straightforward and accessible provision of services. For every provider – be it your current account, your pension, your bank, you need to prove credentials separately, creating a mess of multiple passwords, the occasional biometrics, and generally insecure and overly complex logins. No wonder, as a BCG survey 1found that only 2% of over 65s surveyed had signed up for online banking when the pandemic hit, showing that marginalised groups are becoming less likely to engage with their bank now that the services are digital.  

It is TISA’s ambition is to improve the financial well-being of consumers by bringing the financial services industry together to promote collective engagement and deliver solutions. We want to make sure that everyone can stay in control of their money, regardless of whom they are.  

The blueprint of a solution has existed for years, it just needed to be fine-tuned for financial services  – Digital ID. The idea is simple: gather all of your personal information in one secure place – meaning you don’t need anything physical to prove who you are. Digital ID makes it possible for people to prove information about themselves through a single online platform, without the need for physical documents or multiple providing of credentials online. You can reuse your credentials – login once, prove your ID to all of your providers. The beauty of simplicity, with the intricate security of the most rugged of protection measures.  

Not only consumers will benefit from the introduction of Digital IDs. Online transactions will be more secure and cost effective, boosting businesses and strengthening confidence in transactions. Unlike traditional identification documents (driver’s licence, passport etc), a digital identity cannot be lost or stolen and is nearly impossible to fake. This means they hold a huge potential to reduce fraud and financial crime.  

How TISA is making Digital ID for financial services possible  

TISA has supported a range of initiatives to make this possible, including the Government’s plans to create a Digital Identity Unit. And TISA completed a highly successful proof-of-concept phase of ID Connect, their Digital ID programme, in July 2021. This was partly funded by a Government grant to assess the viability of its system.  

The aim is to create a Digital Identity scheme that allows consumers to set up a single, re-usable identity. The Digital Identity can then be used to interact with all kinds of different companies and financial institutions. When applying for financial products and services, such as opening a new bank account, transferring a pension or applying for a mortgage, this ID can be used to prove any information about themselves.  

In our proof-of-concept phase, participants tested real-life user journeys, including setting up a digital identity to open a new account. 84% of participants were successful in utilising a Digital ID that could be used to open a new account. This demonstrates how the Digital Identity System would improve the onboarding rates for financial services, reduce costs, and provide a streamlined customer experience overall.  

ID Connect, at its heart, is a certification scheme that sets legal, operational and technical rules to ensure digital ID providers meet these requirements. Our pilot scheme has shown that customers understand the concept of using a digital ID, and that they understand how ID Connect makes it safe and secure. 

The digital ID vision of a simple and accessible world of online financial services will soon be a reality. People of all different ages will be able to benefit from the initiatives.  

If you’d like to learn more about how Digital ID can enhance your online experience, feel free to get in contact with Harry Weber-Brown at harry.weber-brown@tisa.uk.com or visit our website: https://www.tisa.uk.com/tisa-groups-projects/digital-id/