The Post Office is to launch a suite of applications and in-branch services – developed alongside digital identity specialists Yoti – intended to expand customer choice around proving or confirming their identity when accessing services through their Post Office.
The package will include a free-to-use, Post Office-branded app combining personal data and biometrics to create a supposedly secure, reusable identity on a customer-owned device, alongside face-to-face services for the digitally excluded, or those who prefer not to use smartphones.
The new partnership will also connect Post Office customers to online businesses, enabling companies to use Post Office identity verification services – with Yoti under the bonnet – for several proposed needs.
The partners said they recognised that difficulties with asserting identity in a digital environment – particularly when using government or other public sector services – could too easily fuel uncertainty and lack of trust among users, limiting what services organisations feel comfortable offering online. It is hoped the partnership will ease such concerns and widen the scope of digital services across the country.
Post Office chief executive Nick Read said the tie-up was part of the organisation’s efforts to adapt and remain relevant in the digital age, and ensure it offers customers choice in how they transact.
“The Post Office is embracing new technologies and this partnership will enhance our reputation as the trusted go-to destination for identity solutions,” he said. “Whether it’s proving your identity on a smartphone or face-to-face with a postmaster, we will make transactions faster and simpler than ever before.
“I am delighted that the Post Office and Yoti are joining forces to expand our identity services. We have an ambitious strategy to deliver a unique offer to the market that integrates digital and physical identity verification at scale benefiting both individuals and businesses.”
Yoti CEO Robin Tombs added: “Seven years ago, Yoti set out to fix the broken identity system. Trust is critical in the emerging digital ID space and our plan has always been to partner with the Post Office, which I believe is one of the most trusted brands in the UK.
“We have already invested over £85m creating a world-leading ID platform that removes the friction from outdated ID processes, puts individuals in control of their identity, preserves privacy and helps reduce identity fraud.
“Together with the Post Office, we will help drive the UK’s digital transformation, making life simpler and safer for individuals and businesses online, in-branch and on the high street.”
The digital identity app will launch this spring, and will be usable across a range of online and in-person transactions, such as one-click bank account applications, job applications, mortgage applications, proof of age for buying restricted products, collecting parcels and travel purposes. Ideally, the Post Office said, it will eliminate the need for people to carry documents such as their driving licence or passport.
The in-branch identity service will cover verification transactions such as passport and driving licence renewals and document checks, as well as verification for Gov.uk services such as tax self-assessment, disclosure and barring service (DBS) checks, and Universal Credit. It will be rolled out from July 2021, beginning with a pilot at 750 Post Office branches, enabling people without a smartphone, secure internet access or photo ID to complete identity verification at a Post Office.
Services for businesses will include identity verification services for fraud detection, age verification, electronic signature services and customer authentication services, giving customers a secure way of accessing a company’s services using biometric face-matching and liveness detection.