From humble beginnings we started out to solve one of the greatest challenges of our time - trust online.
Since 2011 The ID Co. has been on a mission to create trust online. We set out on this journey with our consumer-focused product, miiCard (which was also our company name back then) but more recently have developed our B2B service DirectID. During this time the market has accelerated to the point that identity is top of almost every agenda from financial services and fintech to blockchain.
Here’s a summary of our journey so far.
Empowering consumers with a trusted online identity.
The idea for a trusted digital identity is born
Voted most promising start-up at SWIFT Innotribe
James understood the use of personal data to validate identities online was fuelling the sharp rise in online fraud. By continually sharing the personal information that is used to validate you, like your name, address, date of birth and security number with numerous sites and services, you increase the risk of your data being compromised. Assuming this data is a reasonable way to prove identity is flawed because most online fraud is a direct result of the abuse of this information.
A new source of data was needed and James saw the opportunity in our online bank accounts. The greatest source of trust that we have is our financial profile. Not only has your bank, as a regulated entity, conducted a full Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering check but they know a lot about us through our income and expenditure patterns. Our online financial profile is a great way to connect the physical ‘us’ to the digital ‘us’ in a way that is safe and secure.
Using our access to our online accounts, like your bank account, to prove we are who we say we are, and share information about us, we can create a layer of trust in the internet. This led to securing a patent based on the use of multiple online secure accounts to validate your identity. And in 2009, miiCard (My Internet Identity), an online identity system as credible as a passport or driving license was born.
Motivating the Consumer.
miiCard (My Internet Identity) launches
This means that the trust problem isn’t a technical one but a behavioural one and that identity is all about context. Depending on what you’re doing at the time the requirements can range drastically. Signing up to a mortgage is very different to online dating, for example.
We realised that to address the online trust challenge we must put in place calls to action that provide the context for the consumer to get a verified identity that then provides, critically, the business with value to accept it.
Breaking Down Trading Barriers.
US patent granted
miiCard transactional sites and first customers launch
We launched our B2B service, DirectID in early 2015 into a marketplace that was still using old school systems to do business in a digital world. The DirectID platform provides bank, bureau and document verification services that are completely embedded in a business process.
When given an option of either staying online and using their online banking credentials to validate an identity, or go through a traditional paper based process with delays ranging from 3 days to a week or more, 70% of consumers opt to stay online. For businesses, accepting identities validated through online banking credentials brings about an 80% reduction in fraud within the first month.
When trade barriers come down, business flows. DirectID is now actively deployed by global and local banks, wealth management platforms and leading online lenders.
We Are Not Alone.
B2B service DirectID launched
DirectID hits 25 customers and company renamed to The ID Co.
Additionally, the recent Payment Services Directive (PSD2), provides a regulatory framework that supports Access to Accounts (XS2A) provisions and so in turn supports bank verification as provided by The ID Co. The Open Bank Working Group initiative, as part of HM Treasury’s work in the area, outlines a framework for supporting the PSD2 implementation within the UK.
These developments and initiatives are important to us as they support so much of what we're working to achieve at The ID Co. We played an active part in the UK’s Open Bank Working Group and worked with HM Treasury in establishing the open API standard in banking. We also align with organisations campaigning for trust online and as such are members of FDATA (Financial Data and Technology Association) in the UK, Trust in Digital Life (TDL) in Europe and OIX (Open Identity Exchange) internationally.
Where we are headed.
DirectID now verifies over 25k a month
Both miiCard and DirectID are about empowering consumers with their online data to change the way we do business digitally. The value of live financial data and bank verified identities is now recognised as crucial in addressing one of the greatest pains of the time: proving you are who you say you are, and knowing enough about you to give you the products and services you desire.
Today we are focused on growing the number of sites and services using DirectID and building additional value in the platform – from additional data sources to insights and reporting as well as supporting implementation and improvement services.