Jerry Fishenden

NatWest announces ID service for its customers

The identities of NatWest customers engaging with businesses online can be confirmed by the bank's ID service in seconds

NatWest bank has launched a service that will enable businesses to quickly check the identities of customers.

The bank’s customers can easily and safely consent to bank-held data being shared with the businesses they engage with to make their online experience easier and more secure.

The NatWest Customer Attribute Sharing service, as it is known, will be embedded in services from tech startup OneID, after the bank signed a contract with the digital identity company.

OneID’s technology removes the need to customers to upload or scan documents when signing up to services that require identification. It aims to speed up online experiences and reduce fraud. Through OneID, NatWest will initially embed technology into services such as digital onboarding.

The Customer Attribute Sharing service uses NatWest application programming interfaces (APIs). Customers can digitally verify who they are and consent for the service to automatically update their details with the businesses they use when changes are made, such as a change of address.

NatWest said the service reduces the time it takes to provide an e-signature, with one provider reducing its document-signing process from five minutes to just 45 seconds using the service.

NatWest Group plans to sign up with more providers to bring its service to more use cases by embedding it into additional e-commerce journeys to improve the online payments experience.

Claire Melling, head of APIs at NatWest, said that as customers spend more time on digital platforms, it is focusing on embedding its services in their daily lives: “Moreover, as a trusted institution, we have a key role to play in the emerging concept of digital identity. Our Customer Attribute Sharing service will provide our customers with a safe, secure and convenient way to verify their identity online, while enabling businesses to speed up and streamline customers’ online experiences.”

OneID CEO, Martin Wilson, said OneID can digitally verify details for more than 40 million UK citizens: “Our partnership with NatWest will help businesses to streamline their customer service and reduce costs – for example, when registering new customers or setting up direct debit payments.”

Banks are highly regulated and have to meet strict rules around customer data through know your customer (KYC) rules, which mean that bank customers must be who they say they are.

One banking IT professional said banks have built expertise in checking the identities of customers, so it makes sense that they play a key role in identity services: “One of the things banks do very well is identity verification because if they get it wrong they can get into huge trouble with the regulators. I am sure that if banks can make money from this expertise, they will.”

Read more about digital identity

  • The government’s draft framework, which aims to set out rules for the use of digital identities, will be tested with industries, services, users and organisations ahead of a final version being published.
  • Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove writes to Whitehall departments mandating the use of a new digital identity system that will allow citizens to be tracked across the website.
  • The tech company has received funding from Innovate UK to create a digital identity trust scheme, aiming to improve identity verification in the residential property sector.

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