The future of Digital ID: What it means for you

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Young woman using digital ID on her phone

Digital identity has become a hot topic for consumers and businesses alike. With more and more services being offered online, verifying your customers’ identities digitally has become so valuable and necessary.

Proving who we are online or in-person should be easy, but it’s still not the case for over one billion people worldwide who lack a legally recognised form of identification. A further 6.6 billion people have some form of identification, but can’t use it and are left out of today’s digital ecosystems.

As a result, many are prevented from accessing the most basic services. Businesses can’t reach potential customers who can benefit from their services and boost economies under considerable stress. 

Digital IDs are essential for a future where a person’s identity is widely accepted and accessible. 

First, we need to appreciate the power of digital IDs so let’s discuss why it’s time to embrace it.


What is your digital identity?

A digital ID’s significance can be understood if we first get to grips with the concept of your own digital identity. 

Essentially, a digital identity is a collection of personal information about you that exists online and can be connected to your actual identity. It’s as slick as it sounds, letting you safely prove who you are to a business, organisation or another person online.


What is a digital ID?

A digital ID is an electronic version of a physical ID document, such as a passport or driving licence, stored on your phone. In this form, it can include a variety of personal information such as your name, age or address – the same information that forms your digital identity. 

This electronic ID is designed to make it easier for you to prove who you are while sharing as little data with companies, people and so on.

Our Digital ID app allows you to upload a government-issued document and instantly verify your identity in hundreds of locations across the UK, including Post Offices, Payzone and many more services.


How can digital identification be used?

It serves as proof of a customer’s identity online, allowing them to access services without physically showing paper identification. A digital ID can be used in various situations, from shopping to travelling. 

In fact, they’re already being effectively used for opening a bank account and securing new jobs. In the UK, employees are legally required to prove that they have the right to work in the country to a new employer, but government guidance changed on the 6th of April to enable employees and employers to use certified digital identity providers to carry out identity checks.

Yoti are the UK’s first certified identity service provider (IDSP) under the UK Digital Identity & Attributes Trust Framework, for Right to Work, Right to Rent and criminal records checks.

Read more about the guidance change.

Having fewer obstacles in the way of verifying a customer’s identity widens the range of online services people can easily access, from education to government and even entertainment services. 

We’ve collaborated with several governments to help citizens reach their services without needing to show ID or risk sending a photocopy of documents physically and without leaving their homes. 

Jersey residents can do their taxes online if they create a services account with our digital ID app, meaning they don’t have to visit a local office and risk having their important documents potentially stolen or lost. 


Why is a Digital ID necessary?

Leading industries and governments are beginning to recognise the benefits of digital identity. Digital IDs can improve accuracy, security, and data protection for identifying customers in digital spaces.

In the UK, it is estimated that nearly 1 in 4 people do not have traditional ID credentials. 

With digital identities aimed to become ‘as trusted as passports’ by the UK government, many are still lacking the tools to verify their identity in online environments effectively. 

Without a recognisable proof of identity, people are denied a range of services they have a legitimate right to access (such as financial or medical), meaning billions globally are at a disadvantage. 

Digital IDs are currently only available with a photo ID document, again limiting its reach to those who can obtain one, but thanks to our work in Age Estimation, we’re moving forward to find ways to make them more accessible and inclusive. 

Our cutting-edge facial estimation technology allows anyone to prove their age without an ID document. With our technology, anyone can be age-checked by simply looking into a camera on a device while remaining completely anonymous. The technology has been proven to be much more accurate than humans and is able to estimate the age of  6-12-year-olds within 1.28 years and 13-19-year-olds within 1.55 years. To discover more about the accuracy rates, read our regularly-updated white paper.

It will only be a matter of time before digital IDs become the primary way we interact with businesses.  

The UK government plans to introduce a single digital identity for citizens, offering a single sign-on for public-facing government sites such as GOV.UK, allowing access to services such as childcare and annual MOT checks digitally. 

Governments recognise they can streamline and strengthen their civic services by implementing digital IDs, removing the need for excess or potentially lost paperwork, streamlining procedures and creating a more manageable system.

Digital IDs are also important for customers from a privacy and security perspective, allowing them more control over their personal information and the way it’s shared with businesses. 

This form of identification reduces the chance of fraud and identity theft as you can track your data, knowing exactly what will be captured and how it will be used.


Why is it essential for businesses to embrace digital identity?

Businesses are already adopting it, although many still don’t accept it as a form of verified identity. 

Digital IDs and identity verification solutions allow businesses to enhance the authenticity, security and overall efficiency of identifying their customers. It minimises the risk of human error and improves the overall customer experience.

Ensuring everyone has a way of verifying their identity means everyone can access the same services and everyone can access your business.

Having a national digital ID, much like Australia with its Digital ID platform, also reduces the risk of online fraud. This is especially important in sectors such as banking and financial services, as well as retail and travel. 

As a result of the ongoing pandemic affecting said sectors, having the means to verify customers digitally ensures services can still continue online in a much safer and secure way.

A digital ID can also seamlessly connect different government services, creating more coherent and accessible experiences. By linking data across departments, as well as creating digital forms instead of PDFs, more user data can be placed into analytical systems during the onboarding process. 

Implementing Digital IDs on a widespread basis can positively affect businesses and the economy overall by formalising economic flows.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute report, applying digital identities across the globe, including the UK and the US, could unlock economic value equivalent to 3 to 13 per cent of GDP by 2030. 

Estonia and Spain have already successfully employed  Digital IDs and seen positive returns. 

In 2021, the Spanish and German governments signed an agreement to develop a joint cross-border pilot program for digital ID, as part of the European Commission’s plan to develop a European digital identity.

In Estonia, most residents have e-ID cards that enable access to the state portal. To date, it’s the only nation where citizens can cast online ballots in every type of election, from local to parliamentary. Since this adoption, more than 1,300 new companies have been created, bringing an additional USD 4.6 million into the Estonian economy.


Why does Yoti believe in the power of a digital ID?

We believe the key to solving many challenges people face worldwide is a safe, trusted, and user-friendly digital identity. 

The Yoti app was built to be a more accessible way of proving and verifying identities in a digital world. Our free, reusable Digital ID app provides customers with a convenient and private way to verify their identity to a business. 

We’re on a mission to become the world’s most trusted identity platform, with a radical, new approach to storing and protecting data.

Working with over 600 companies that span national retailers, social media platforms and online dating, we’re helping to inform and educate, believing it’s important to understand what a Digital ID is and how you can benefit from it.


How do customers create a reusable ID with the Yoti app?

All a customer needs is a government-issued ID document (driving licence, passport or Citizen Card) and to take a biometric selfie.

With a digital ID, users can easily manage their information. Their personal information is stored using secure encryption and can only be accessed by them. Having a Digital ID on their phone helps keep important documents safe from being lost or stolen. 

A verified digital identity also helps them manage their Digital ID credentials and keep track of who they’ve shared data with and where. With a unique Digital ID, an individual has only one identity within a system, making it easier to fight against fraud and manage users.

Creating a Yoti digital ID

They will join over 11 million people currently using their Yoti as a secure form of ID online and worldwide. It’s also accepted in over 30,000 Post Offices, Payzone stores and convenience stores in the UK.

The Yoti app is built with privacy at the core, which means we can’t see or share any user data. Our business model is to charge businesses to receive identity details and we pride ourselves on this commitment to privacy and security. That’s why we’ve designed our system to make it impossible for us to access or generate revenue from user information. 

Find out how convenient it is for your customers to prove their identity with us.

Co-authored by Ferreneik Betton