UK consumers skeptical about 'common digital identity'

The idea of a 'common digital identity' (CDI), that would allow access to a range of services, offers huge benefits to financial institutions in delivering better, faster, and more reliable checks for consumers.

Consumers themselves, however, are less convinced. A survey conducted by RegTech Associates on behalf of PassFort finds only 17 percent of UK respondents say they are very much in favour of CDI.

While 34 percent are cautiously in favour and 31 percent are skeptical about it, at the other end of the scale, six percent state they are very much against having a CDI.

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The UK government conducted a consultation on CDI earlier this year, yet only 15 percent of those surveyed say they feel well informed about it. Younger respondents are most aware of the debate around digital identity, even so just 36 percent regard themselves as 'well informed' about CDI.

"Currently, in banking we see seven in 10 people using a unique ID and password for identification. Some 67 percent 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 percent of people we surveyed have used biometrics. And of those who have, 80 percent said the experience was 'great'," says Donald Gillies, CEO at PassFort.

The research also shows that customers who feel they have had a better than expected experience of compliance onboarding are more likely to recommend their provider (77 percent) and more likely to buy more products (62 percent). So it's easy to see why the industry is keen to streamline the process. But since only 27-37 percent of respondents of all ages claim to know something of the UK digital identity debate, it seems consumer buy-in has a way to go.

"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," says 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."

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