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 – not just for us as individuals (home viewings went online – as did home workouts and parent evenings), but also how businesses ran (cue streamlined processes and the advent of hybrid works). The government also intervened – adjusting a number of processes such as the way in which Right to Work checks could be carried out – with identity documents supplied digitally and checked via video calling. Right to Rent and DBS screening checks soon followed.
The biggest change in those areas took place on April 6, 2022 and saw employers and landlords benefit from a digital identity service provider to complete identity verification for checks. The goal is to create trust between companies and individuals and enable this forward-looking, more efficient way of ID proofing.
The technology couldn’t have come at a better time: the UK Chamber of Commerce warned only this week of record recruitment difficulties, with three out of four companies struggling to hire. Ensuring new hires have the right to work quickly and easily online in the UK will be music to recruiters’ ears – the benefits for employers and candidates of this remote policy are clear – shorter hiring times, streamlined processes, reduced travel costs , a wider pool of applicants and to help people get a job faster. Checks are easy to perform and can be done through a digital ID app (such as Post Office EasyID) or in person at a post office.
The vast scope of digital identity
However, a fully comprehensive digital identity solution is not just about identity verification; it’s about the vast scope of things that become possible when many people have digital identities.
UK supermarkets recently trialled digital identity technology so shoppers could prove their age when purchasing age-restricted items without waiting for help at self-checkout. In the future, customers could use a digital identity when logging into their online store account, providing a smoother experience as they don’t have to remember any login details.
Financial services will accelerate remote onboarding processes. Customers could prove their identity online by uploading a scan of their ID and then linking it to a selfie, or use a digital ID app to share verified identity information. The same can apply to gaming websites that provide customers with a faster onboarding experience and pass KYC checks in minutes.
In healthcare, a verified digital identity can be used to access medical records or make an appointment.
Dating websites may ask users to use a digital identity when creating an account, giving other daters peace of mind about who they are meeting online.
A digital identity can also be linked to e-signatures, so companies can be confident that they know the person behind the signature, which is especially useful in legal processes.
Change is coming
Legislation can be an important driver for digital identity adoption, but there is also a growing consumer desire for better experiences. Digital identity can speed up processes that typically require a lot of time and effort, and provide individuals with convenience and privacy, allowing them to display only the personal information they want, rather than everything they have on an important document like a passport or driver’s license.
It is clear that digital solutions have finally arrived and are indispensable. Businesses need to consider how to take advantage of this and take advantage of early adoption, securing that key competitive advantage and giving customers greater certainty about their data and privacy.