LFP166 – Progress On Scaling Identity Verification Across Europe & Globalising w/John Erik Setsaas Signicat

All Fintechs in one country will have long since sorted identity/AML/KYC and so forth. But what happens when they need to scale in other countries or even go global? Like many things in Fintech this was a hard challenge only a few years back. However now it is made much easier by the likes of Signicat who are physically in nine locations in Europe and alongside global partners such as Onfido can offer globally-scalable identity services. Which is a pretty amazing feat given how countries vary so much as we shall hear.

Today we are joined by John Erik Setsaas  VP Identity and Innovation at Signicat and who has 25 years of experience in identity and thus understands the long view, the challenges and also the more recent progress at cracking some of these nuts as well as what the future may hold.

Tech never sleeps and every successive layer of out-sourceable services that are provided in Fintech mean that every new generation of Fintechs can provide yet more interesting and sophisticated services to customers and businesses.

Topics discussed include:

  • Norways great sanity as a country – oil to sovereign wealth fund and honesty with its citizens  and lack of tyranny re Covid
  • the challenges about being open with information – no simple message confuses some people
  • “In general I think we handled it [Covid] pretty well in Norway”
  • John Erik’s career journey from programming telexes and email systems
  • the crucial importance of telexes back in the day and their strength
  • moving into identity 25 years ago – well before the current waves of Fintech
  • the social aspect of identity in societies where Governments love building panopticons – where does anonymity survive in such a world?
  • the challenges of balancing anonymity with accountability
  • the practical aspect of identity in Fintech – simplest being if someone is trying to pay you money you want it to go to your account not one pretending to be your account but owned by someone else
  • a lot of organisations fail on identity by asking far too many questions that they don’t need to know the answer to
  • Signicat’s research The Battle to Onboard
  • research shows 63% abandon onboarding which shows the huge opportunity for making onboarding smoother, easier, and less intrusive
  • comparison with online shopping anecdotes – efficiency of end-to-end process being key – why is the same principle not so well followed in other areas?
  • how identity works in Norway – Bank ID and it’s uses in many other areas up to and including naming your baby and tanning salons (!)
  • “one reason it works in Norway is the high degree of trust in society” including trust in banks
  • how ID works across the Nordics and attempts to connect them
  • Signicat provides an API to sit above all that
  • EID similar to Nordics is rising in the Benelux area
  • Germany has a national ID card but most people don’t know there is a digital equivalent or use it much
  • Estonia – small population makes it easier to enforce an approach
  • UK doesn’t have national ID yet most people have driving licenses or passports which have unique IDs and are official documents
  • How Signicat operates in countries with half an ID scheme or no real ID scheme to ensure coverage
  • limit cases to verifying videos of people – eg twins
  • challenges identifying certain populations – eg Japanese compared to Europeans (where hair/eye colour varies far more)
  • the future of ID
  • the concept of a “digital double”
  • biometrics – need to use multiple even way one walks, connection to say phone, wifi, patterns of behaviour
  • Signicat provides entire customer journey via the cloud along with electronic signatures, seals and timestamping
  • largest countries of EIDs in the world – one partner, one API
  • primary customers are in regulated industries – banks, insurance, government, health
  • Signicat are expanding in people and in country dimensions

And much much more 🙂

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