Homebuyers offered smartphone identity-verification

Written by Sam Trendall on 16 March 2021 in News
News

HM Land Registry launches new standard

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Homebuyers will soon be able to use their smartphone to prove their identity remotely, after the publication of a new standard by HM Land Registry.

The document provides a framework for legal and property professionals to use near-field communication technology to verify the identity of buyers. NFC, which is featured in all modern phones, enables devices to read the chips included in passports.

HM Land Registry claimed that the ability for residential and commercial property buyers to prove their identity remotely will be both more convenient and more secure. 

Deputy chief land registrar Mike Harlow said: “This new standard for digital biometric identity checking marks an exciting milestone towards a truly digital conveyancing process. In a challenging year, we set up a cross-industry forum to support our conveyancing colleagues. First, we brought in electronic signatures to remove any need for paper in conveyancing. Now through this same collaboration we are able to bring a new digital identity standard to reduce the risk of fraud and make transactions a more digital, easier and faster experience.”


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HM Land Registry said that it hoped the release of the standard will prompt tech firms “to develop a range of secure and convenient options to support conveyancers better”.

The department added that it “will continue to develop and tailor the standard by widening the scope to incorporate different legal entities”. It will also “explore the availability of more enhanced digital means of obtaining evidence to link the party to the transaction with the particular property”.

In doing so it will work closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is currently working on the development of a digital identity framework that the government intends to be used throughout the economy.

Adoption of the homebuying standard by conveyancers is optional, and firms will not face any recourse if and when clients are found to have lied about their identity.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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