The increasing importance of digital identity was forecasted in the spring '17 edition of PA's Financial Newsletter. To shed more light on this development we spoke with Jan Bjerved, CEO of the Norwegian identity scheme BankID.
PA: What has the development for identity services and BankID been like over the past 3 years?
Jan Bjerved: We have seen strong demand for secure digital identity technologies. BankID has gone from being an "e-bank login" to becoming a master key that provides access to more than 2,000 webpages and services. Today, each of us must keep track of more than 100 usernames and passwords, but with BankID you only need one password. The result has been a strong growth for BankID: the number of transactions has almost doubled in three years, meaning that the average user today accesses BankID between 160-170 times per year.
PA: How will PSD2 and Open Banking impact the market for identity management services?
Jan Bjerved: PSD2 will impose new requirements on the authentication of users through Strong Customer Authentication in a wide range of user scenarios. In the near future, PSD2 could give Norwegian end-users the opportunity to use a Spanish app e.g. to check the balance in their Norwegian bank. This situation makes it essential that end-users feel confident that their data is being managed in a safe and secure manner. Moreover, GDPR will increase the focus on privacy and how personal data is managed, and with it the need to secure digital identities. BankID Norway will this fall launch a PSD2 pilot for the BankID service, which will be compliant with the Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS).
PA: Is BankID positioned for the future?
Jan Bjerved: Yes, the company is well positioned for the future. In the past few years BankID Norway has undertaken a number of actions to improve user friendliness and to make it easier for businesses to adopt the service. By the end of this year we will have launched a new service – xID – which eliminates the need for usernames and passwords once and for all; or rather "forgotten username or password" which most of us are familiar with. The service is not a replacement for today's BankID, but a new, supplementary service that can be used in settings where we currently employ usernames and passwords. The service will allow us to offer a broader spectrum of ID-services than we have today.
PA: What core developments do you foresee for BankID in terms of services and usage areas?
Jan Bjerved: BankID is, and will continue to remain, a central part of our users' daily lives. This means that we have to develop our services by continuously improving user experience, offering new innovative login solutions and ensuring that we are relevant on the platforms our users prefer. Our strength lies in the enormous trust we have built over several years, a trust which is based on the fact that we are a Norwegian service which has secured customers' identity for more than ten years. Based on this experience, we can continue to build our services. Faced with the choice between foreign actors and Norwegian BankID or xID, we believe people will choose a simple and user-friendly provider who end-users trust will protect their data. We believe there will be increased focus on this once the GDPR comes into effect.
PA: What are your messages regarding digital ID in general and BankID particularly to politicians, banks and the public respectively?
Jan Bjerved: Norway has a unique opportunity to take a leading position within Fintech. A central reason is our common solution for ID verification. Not many other countries can boast a similar starting point as Norway, where just about everybody has a BankID with a real underlying identity. Through a common ID verification, used across all industries and in both the public and private sector, we can develop world leading innovative and digital solutions, connect services and devices (IoT) together as well as digitalize our processes. To succeed, we need to continue to build on our common solutions which have given us this opportunity, and compete on the quality and user- friendliness of solutions offered to consumers.