Big four back new cross-industry digital ID service


Australia’s big four banks – CBA, NAB, Westpac and ANZ – have announced their backing of Australian Payments Plus’ (AP+) forthcoming national identity infrastructure, ConnectID, with the banks to feature prominently in trials of the new digital ID network.

AP+ (a merger of payments facilitators eftpos, BPAY, and NPP Australia) said its “open, standards-based” and “interoperable” digital identity network offers a “simple and safe” method to verify users’ identity online.

Lynn Kraus, chief executive of AP+, boasted that the solution delivers a “major milestone for the Australian industry’s adoption of digital identity”.

“[ConnectID aims] to securely and simply deliver a seamless online identity verification experience to solve real-world issues,” Kraus said.

“This includes proving your identity online for age verification, setting up mobile phone plans, employee onboarding, travel bookings, loan applications and can even extend through to insurance payouts.”

ConnectID will serve as an intermediary, or “exchange”, between identity providers – that is, organisations that securely hold identity data on behalf of their customers – and merchants or government departments that need to verify who they are dealing with or receive identity information that they can trust.

As a result, the service does not see or store the identity data, with identity service providers responsible for storing consumer identities.

AP+ added that the ConnectID solution would ensure users share “only the information that is required, at the time it is needed, giving customers complete control over how their personal information is used and peace of mind knowing their data is being kept safe at every step”.

AP+ expects to trial the ConnectID service with customers in late 2022, with a market launch anticipated next year.

The payments giant confirmed the network is already accredited under the Australian Government’s Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF).

Andrew Black, managing director ConnectID AP+ said: “Australians trust the security and reliability of their banks and payments providers, for that reason developing a robust, standards-based digital identity ecosystem that can be used by major banks and trusted Australian organisations is a natural extension for AP+.”

“ConnectID is committed to help Australian banks, businesses and local retailers protect the sovereignty and security of Australian payments and identity data,” Black added.

ConnectID boasts an “economy-wide approach”, AP+ said, working alongside organisations from the banking, telecom, online retail, government, insurance, utilities, transportation, real estate, not-for-profit and the start-up and fintech sectors.

NAB chief digital, data and analytics officer, Angela Mentis, recognised NAB’s “critical role” in the initiative.

“We want to make life easier for our customers when they are going through a process of validating their identity online and also provide a safe way to do that which protects their data and privacy,” she said.

“ConnectID gives customers full control to use only data that is absolutely necessary when completing identity verifications; they will be able to do things like digitally prove their age rather than passing over their driver’s license for the same purpose.

“When signing up for a new mobile phone plan or other service for example, identity data will only be accessed when a customer initiates a transaction, authenticates themselves using their regular banking login, and provides express consent.”