A group of Canada's largest banks has invested $27 million in SecureKey Technologies as the Toronto-based security company preps a new digital identity service for 2017.

The banks include BMO Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC, Desjardins, Royal Bank of Canada and TD, and are partners in the new technology development, according to SecureKey. The new service builds off of the SecureKey Concierge federated authentication service.

SecureKey Concierge is a long-standing program that authenticates computing devices to protect mobile commerce and payments. To make a payment, consumers register their device with SecureKey and use the device's QR code reader and SecureKey's technology to choose an item they want to buy, confirm the purchase and secure the transaction.

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The company did not provide details on the new service, calling it a "digital identity" enhancement. Digital identity typically refers to a universally accepted method of authenticating users based on their device footprints combined with other decentralized technology such as distributed ledgers. The idea is to reduce reliance on traditional methods such as usernames and passwords.

SecureKey also announced Greg Wolfond, who founded the company in 2007, was returning as CEO. Wolfond later founded Kili Technology in 2013, a company that Square has since acquired.

"We want to help the consumer back in the middle and let them take control of their digital assets, to share what they want, with whom they want, and always with informed consent," Wolfond said in an Oct. 18 release.

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