Transaction tech boom has made digital ID a crisis

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In the age of connected devices, AI and big data, defining and protecting our identities is an increasingly How will we understand the concept of identity? Will machines need an identity? Do robots need passports?

A great quote that stuck out to me was froma "male ally," David Birch, at last week’s European Women’s Payments Network event in Amsterdam: “Making doors is easy, making locks is hard…”

Everyday we’re opening the door to new services, devices and institutions, trading off a little bit of “us” for greater convenience. But who’s making the locks? Who’s behind the doors? And how are we storing the keys?

We “exist” in several forms, from passports to social media accounts. And we’re also all now much more aware of how much data we’re sharing (thanks to the deluge of GDPR emails!). But to really survive in the digital age, Birch argued, a new, decentralized identity system that’s consistent, smart and (crucially) controlled by the individual will be essential.

Open banking will undoubtedly deliver better services and choice to consumers, but with a flurry of additional PINs, dongles and passwords to access new services, how can we stop this from simply generating more points of friction?

The challenge of enabling better consumer services and securing access to this data brings us back to the whole door / lock dilemma. Biometrics – a balance of better security and convenience –is quickly forming a central part of most banks’ secure customer authentication (SCA) strategy.

Despite the complexities they pose, these regulations are something to be proud of; driving competition and consumer-first services, while ensuring privacy and data security.

In short, more triumphs than tears, then.

We also debated the death of PINs and passwords. Consumers have grown to trust biometrics as smartphone security that doesn’t compromise usability, but it has the power to extend across the payments industry. Whether that’s biometrics on-card, mobile, or even online; biometrics has the scope to offer a unifying SCA UX across form factors and environments.

One thing’s for sure, however we pay and wherever we pay in the future, increasing diversity in the industry will only add value.

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