Verify chief courts financial sector

Written by Rebecca Hill on 23 September 2016 in News
News

The Government Digital Service has set out its plans to make its work on digital identity assurance relevant for the financial sector, with a beta pilot for banks to go live in 2017.

Verify is gaining a lot of interest from the financial sector - Photo credit: PA

In a blogpost the new leader of GOV.UK Verify, Jess McEnvoy, and industry engagement lead David Rennie said that the most interest in the service from the private sector has been from financial businesses.

“It is becoming much clearer why the financial sector would want to work with government to create digital identities that can be used in the public and private sector,” they said.

This includes new regulations that would let banks use identity verification services that meet government standards – meaning that banks’ processes to get new customers on-board could be simplified.


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“Furthermore, public services will need to engage digitally with customer demographics that are often difficult for banks to verify online,” the post said.

“Creating standards-based digital identity infrastructures will reduce financial and digital exclusion, broaden markets and facilitate innovation in financial services.”

GDS has previously touted the idea that the identity assurance scheme – which allows certified companies approve someone’s identity online with the aim of offering citizens a single log-in for government services – could be used in the financial sector.

Now, the team has set out more details of the work it has been doing with the financial services sector and the Open Identity Exchange.

This includes looking at how banks will deal with the new anti-money laundering regulation that the European Commission adopted earlier in 2016. This specifies that there must be full consistency with provisions on electronic identification by the European eIDAS regulation, which the blogpost points out GOV.UK Verify is already aligned.

“This explicit cross reference to government identity verification standards in the new AML Directive sets the regulatory framework that will facilitate bank acceptance of a user’s digital identity,” the post said.

The GOV.UK Verify team has been working with Barclays, Capital One and HSBC to see how this will work in practice, with McEvoy and Rennie saying that beneath the concept there are “a number of operational complexities”.

The results of this project are due to be published in November, after which it will move into alpha – this will be followed by a beta pilot in 2017, the post said.

Meanwhile, the British Bankers Association has commissioned PwC to conduct a survey of banks to establish how their current identity verification processes compare to government standards, with the report due to publish in November.

McEvoy and Rennie also noted that GOV.UK Verify can also already be used to check your state pension, and that there was ongoing work to see how digital identity will be used in the Pensions Dashboard project, which was launched as a pilot earlier this month with an aim to go live in March 2017.

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