Piece written by John Abbott, Chief Business Officer at Yoti.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of digital services has been phenomenal over the past two years – affecting not only us as individuals (house viewings went online – as did home workouts and parents evenings), but also how businesses ran (cue streamlined processes and the arrival of hybrid working). Even the government got in on the act – adjusting a number of processes such as the way Right to Work checks could be conducted – with identity documents provided digitally and checked via video call. Right to Rent and DBS screening checks quickly followed suit too.
The biggest change in those areas took place on the 6th April 2022, and saw employers and landlords being able to use a digital identity service provider to complete identity verification for checks. The aim being to create trust between businesses and individuals and enable this future-focused, more efficient way of proving identity.
The technology couldn’t come at a better time – with the British Chamber of Commerce only this week warning of record recruitment problems with three out of four companies struggling to hire staff. Ensuring that new hires have a right to work in the UK quickly and easily online will be music to recruiters’ ears – the benefits for employers and candidates of these remote policies are clear – reduced recruitment times, streamlined processes, reduced travel costs, a wider pool of applicants and getting people into jobs faster. Checks are straightforward to do and can be carried out via a digital ID app (such as Post Office EasyID) or in person at a Post Office branch.
The vast scope of digital identity
A fully comprehensive digital identity solution is not just about identity verification though; it’s about the vast scope of things that become possible when many people have a digital identity.
UK supermarkets recently trialled digital identity technology, so that shoppers could prove their age when buying age-restricted items without waiting for assistance at the self-checkout. In the future, customers could use a digital identity when signing into their online shopping account, creating a smoother experience as they don’t need to remember login details.
Financial services will see the acceleration of remote onboarding processes. Customers could prove their identity online by uploading a scan of their ID document and then match this to a selfie, or use a digital ID app to share verified identity details. The same could apply to gaming websites who will offer customers a quicker onboarding experience and pass KYC checks in just minutes.
In healthcare, a verified digital identity could be used to access medical records or book an appointment.
Dating websites could ask users to use a digital identity when creating an account – giving others daters reassurance about who they are meeting online.
A digital identity can also be linked to e-signatures so businesses can be confident they know the person behind the signature – particularly useful in legal processes.
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Change is coming
Legislation might be a key driver for digital identity adoption, but there’s also a growing desire from consumers for better experiences. Digital identity can fast track processes that usually take up significant time and effort, and give individuals convenience and privacy, enabling them to display only the personal details they want, rather than everything they have on an important document such as a passport or drivers licence.
It’s clear that digital solutions have finally arrived and they’re here to stay. Businesses should consider how they could benefit from them and take advantage of early adoption, securing that all important competitive edge, and providing increased assurance to customers over their data and privacy.