Post Office partners with Yoti to expand identity capabilities

The partnership combines existing experience in identity services accumulated by Post Office, and its extensive branch network, with leading identity technology from Yoti to help drive the UK’s digital transformation.

The planned digital identity roll-out from Post Office, alongside Yoti, includes a free-to use mobile app that incorporates the creation of a secure, reusable ID, through combining customer data and biometrics.

Launching in Spring 2021, the new app will provide users with a choice as to what information they share, and having their own digital ID will eradicate the need to carry documents such as a driver’s licence or passport to prove their identity.

Customers will be able to use the app for a range of online transactions, such as one-click bank account applications, job applications, mortgage applications, and proof of age for the purchase of restricted goods such as cigarettes.

Along with this will be new in-branch services for customers who do not have access to a smartphone, or who prefer face-to-face contact when asked to confirm their identity.

As part of the partnership with Yoti, a pilot, initially at around 750 Post Offices, will offer these new in-branch services in July 2021.

In 2020, despite Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions, seven million identity-related transactions were carried out at Post Office branches.

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“Post Office is embracing new technologies and this partnership will enhance our reputation as the trusted go-to destination for identity solutions,” said Nick Read, chief executive at Post Office.

“Whether it’s proving your identity on a smartphone or face-to-face with a Postmaster, we will make transactions faster and simpler than ever before.

“I am delighted that Post Office and Yoti are joining forces to expand our identity services. We have an ambitious strategy to deliver a unique offer to the market that integrates digital and physical identity verification at scale benefitting both individuals and businesses.”

Robin Tombs, CEO of Yoti, commented: “I’m proud to announce Yoti’s partnership with the Post Office; together, we’ll make it simpler and safer to prove who you are and know who you’re dealing with, anywhere in the UK.

“Seven years ago, Yoti set out to fix the broken identity system. Trust is critical in the emerging digital ID space and our plan has always been to partner with the Post Office, which I believe is one of the most trusted brands in the UK.

“We have already invested over £85m creating a world-leading ID platform that removes the friction from outdated ID processes, puts individuals in control of their identity, preserves privacy and helps reduce identity fraud.

“Together with the Post Office, we will help drive the UK’s digital transformation, making life simpler and safer for individuals and businesses online, in-branch and on the high street.”

Working with online businesses

In addition, the partnership will connect Post Office customers with online businesses, by enabling companies to use Post Office and Yoti identity verification services for fraud detection, E-signatures and customer authentication services, using secure biometric face matching and liveness detection.

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Speaking on the new capabilities for connections with online businesses, Elinor Hull, identity services director at Post Office, said: “Access to products and services are increasingly moving online, whether it’s opening a bank account, applying for a job, accessing medical services or buying goods.

“We’re responding to this shift with a free-to-use app that will allow customers to build their own secure digital identity on their smartphone, enabling them to easily control and prove who they are to whichever business they want to interact with.

“For businesses, we are providing a suite of transactional and reusable identity verification services that will enable them to serve their customers with ease, trust and at low cost.”

John Abbott, chief business officer at Yoti, added: “We’re excited to see Yoti’s secure technology and operations combined with the Post Office identity services and network.

“Privacy, security and simplicity are at the heart of our solutions, designed to put individuals in control of their data and make it easy for businesses to join our trusted network.

“Together, our unique partnership will provide a suite of services including identity verification, esigning and authentication that leverage privacy-preserving AI and advanced encryption to protect people’s important personal data.

“We’ll remove the barriers between the online world and high street with our shared values of inclusivity and accessibility.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.