Early last year, we reported that the Post Office in the UK had teamed up with London-based Yoti, a digital ID software company, to expand into the identity services market by offering a suite of online and in-branch products. The products include a free app that combines customers’ personal data and biometrics to create a secure, reusable ID on their smartphone, as well as in-branch services for postal customers who don’t have a smartphone or who prefer to confirm their identity in person.

The new apps were launched in the spring of 2021, and the in-branch services were tested in a pilot phase starting in July at about 750 Post Offices.

Here’s how the apps work: UK citizens scan a copy of their ID documents in either Yoti’s app or the Post Office’s free EasyID smartphone app. Both apps use facial biometrics to verify that the person matches the ID. The app then creates a digital ID stored on the individual’s smartphone, to be used to prove identity when needed.

Government approves the apps for job and rental applications

Yoti and the Post Office are currently the only digital ID providers to be certified by the government.

On 6 April 2022, legislation went into effect allowing UK citizens to prove their identities using the Yoti and EasyID apps when applying for a job or renting property. And, on 6 June 2022, the Post Office and Yoti were granted certification to conduct digital ID verification for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, the right to work or rent in the UK.

The new laws will streamline the job and rental application process for applicants, employers, and landlords alike. Elinor Hull, Post Office identity services director, told UKTN, “At a time when the hospitality and retail sectors in particular are struggling to recruit and get staff onto the shop floor, the ability to digitally check candidates right to work speeds up the recruitment process, is more secure and could enable them to start sooner than if the candidate has to travel and then have their documents photocopied and physically checked.”

The apps can also be used for age verification

Customers can also use the Post Office EasyID app and Yoti app at other online and in-person businesses. For example, the apps can provide proof of age for purchasing certain goods and services such as alcohol, or age-restricted movies. In fact, the UK Cinema Association recently agreed that it will accept digital IDs via the Yoti app or the Post Office EasyID app at select theatres.  

The development and government certification of these apps is aligned with the UK government’s plans make it faster and easier for people to verify their ID using modern technology and to create a process that customers will trust as much as they trust presenting their physical passports or bank statements.

Sources:

BiometricUpdate.com

Info Security Group

SecurityDocumentWorld.com

UKTN

Yoti

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