New Research Reveals Two Thirds of Brits on the Fence about a Common UK Digital Identity

  • RegTech
  • 08.11.2021 02:45 pm

53% feel badly informed about the topic, PassFort is calling on the banking industry to prioritise education on the common UK digital identity

A piece of original survey-based research conducted by RegTech Associates on behalf of PassFort, the SaaS RegTech provider, whose platform automates financial crime and compliance processes, has revealed two-thirds of Brits feel indifferent about a common digital identity. Only 17% of respondents stated they are very much in favour of it, while occupying the middle ground, 34% said they are cautiously in favour and 31% were sceptical about it. At the other end of the scale, 6% stated they are very much against a common digital identity.

While the UK Government consultation on the common digital identity concluded in September 2021 with an updated framework, only 15% of Brits feel well informed on it. In contrast, 52% of respondents said they were either not well informed or knew nothing about the issues surrounding it. Younger respondents are the best informed when it comes to the debate around digital identity though - 36% regard themselves as "well informed" vs. only 1% of over-65s.

The intention of the framework is to provide clear standards to protect against digital identity fraud and remove legislative and regulatory barriers from the use of secure digital identities. However, 19% of over-65s claimed they "know nothing" about the debate in comparison to only 5% of 18-24s. Evidently, there is a lot of room here to educate the general public on these issues.

Currently, in banking we see 7 in 10 people using a unique ID and password for identification. Some 67% use a security question. While these methods have worked well in the past, there are limitations to the security these techniques provide. Biometrics, or a digital identity, provide a higher level of security. Interestingly, 21% of people we surveyed have used biometrics. And of those who have, 80% said the experience was ‘great’,” said Donald Gillies, CEO PassFort.

In an increasingly complex compliance landscape, the common digital identity offers huge benefits to financial institutions in delivering better, faster, and more reliable checks for consumers. The research also shows that customers who feel they have had a better than expected experience of compliance onboarding were more likely to recommend their provider (77%) and more likely to buy more products (62%).

A stable 27-37% of respondents of all ages claim to know something of the UK digital identity debate, indicating some level of generalised understanding about the issues. With the exception of some minor variations (e.g., a spike in 35-44 year olds who "don't know" or prefer not to share their views), there are no strong correlations between age and attitude towards a common UK digital identity. Similarly, with fewer than one quarter (23%) of respondents stating a strong view on the topic, there is some way to go before the debate is settled.

Given the obvious benefits of a common digital identity in fighting fraud, financial institutions have a vested interest in helping to explain these issues to their customers”, said Rob Stubbs, Head of Research at RegTech Associates.Not only could this help to stem the rising tide of financial crime in the UK but, in conjunction with the latest developments in biometrics, it can also help to deliver better, faster and more reliable compliance checks for consumers, which is in everyone’s interest.”

“Biometric identification needs to be managed and regulated and carefully controlled,” said David Birch, author and leading advisor on digital financial services. “I sign up for things all the time and it gets to the point where I have to get this document, or that, and I think ‘Oh I can’t be bothered’. But if I just need to scan my passport and take a picture then that’s easy. However, that’s in the context of a well-regulated and well managed space in finance. We’re not talking about mass surveillance. And that’s what consumers need to be able to understand, and it’s something that financial providers have a duty to help educate people on.”

“Financial providers have a great opportunity to lead the conversation on digital identification and in the process secure crucial loyalty and trust from consumers. As we move into 2022 this conversation is going to become increasingly important and it’ll be the organisations that act now, who will reap the rewards in the long term,” finished Gillies.

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