Editorial

The Digital ID Directory: Signicat

“The Digital Identity Hub, which allows you to connect with your customers, is at the heart of the Signicat offering; it includes connections to over 25 public and private electronic ID (eID) schemes, numerous social logins and registry lookups, as well as verification methods such as document scanning, facial recognition and live video detection”

Posted 3 October 2019 by

For over a decade, Norway’s Signicat has been helping businesses operate securely and efficiently. We recently sat down with its VP Strategy and Co-Founder, Arne Vidar Haug, to find out more. 

Tell us about your company, please, Mr Haug?

We are focused on providing world-leading verified digital Identity and electronic signature solutions for regulated industries and public services. Founded in Norway in 2007, our vision is to be the preferred provider of electronic Identity services to customers in regulated industries. 

Signicat specialises in cross-border, cloud-based electronic Identity services and electronic signatures, ensuring organisations can connect and interact with their customers through verified digital identities. We deliver Identity solutions to major players in the banking, finance, insurance, eCommerce and public service markets.

The Digital ID Directory

We help our clients adhere to and benefit from regulations such as GDPR, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Anti-Terrorist legislation and regulations, as well as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB)requirements for on-boarding of new users.

Signicat has 800+ clients, connects to more than 25 public and private digital Identity schemes globally and verifies more than 20m identities per month. We are also a member of the European Association for e-Identity & Security (EEMA), are an eIDAS Qualified Trust Service Provider and we are compliant with the ISO 27001 information security standard. 

In company commercial terms, Signicat recently secured phase two funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme to further develop our IDAaaS (Identity-as-a-Service) platform for use across Europe helping to create a single digital Identity market for Europe.

Signicat was recently acquired by Nordic Capital, one of the most prominent and experienced investors in the FinTech sector with a long and proven track record of growing businesses. Nordic Capital will, in close partnership with the company’s management and existing shareholder, Viking Venture, aim to accelerate our international expansion and strengthen the company’s market leading position and unique product offering. 

Great, thank you, Arne. Can you now tell us about your specific value proposition – how do you specifically help a customer? What sort of problems do you tend to get called in to help with?

The Signicat Digital Identity Platform is designed to scale to our client’s needs and help them achieve their business goals. We provide regulated businesses and organisations with verified digital Identity solutions through our secure digital on-boarding, Identity verification services, and regulatory compliance offerings.

The Digital Identity Hub, which allows you to connect with your customers, is at the heart of the Signicat offering; it includes connections to over 25 public and private electronic ID (eID) schemes, numerous social logins and registry lookups, as well as verification methods such as document scanning, facial recognition and live video detection. The Hub is easily extensible, meaning third party technology and verification method providers can quickly add new methods through our APIs.

The Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP), meanwhile, offers ‘Identity on demand’ services for our customers, regardless of geography or eID. All Identity information and agreements can collected in one access point, ensuring key data is never far away.

Our Identity verification/assurance products fall under our Signicat Assure offering, and provide the core technologies behind our ability to successfully onboard customers. We can ensure clients meet Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements, which ensures all verification is more secure. We also offer a variety of methods for Identity verification including using eIDs, document scanning, live video detection, and facial recognition.

Advanced authentication with Signicat Connect provides secure, customisable authentication, enabling repeat engagement with users. Users can authenticate via their eID, social login or mobile device, as well as a number of other multi-factor authentication methods such as SMS, hardware tokens and email.

The Signicat Sign solution follows international standards to ensure that signatures and seals are as secure as possible. In addition, Signicat is a QTSA and can provide qualified timestamps. By including such timestamps, you will be able to know exactly when the document was signed. Our electronic signature offerings have been designed to streamline business acquisition. We offer CRM integrations, business-to-business specific functionality, and multi-factor authentication prior to signing.

Finally, document preservation with Signicat Preserve is required to ensure signatures and seals can be validated now and in the future, and is one of Signicat’s eIDAS services.

Do you have any named customers or case studies you’d like to talk about?

Our clients range from large multinationals in finance, telco, eCommerce and insurance sectors to smaller fintechs offering niche services. The common link is that all our clients are looking to address similar problems of adhering to and benefiting from regulations such as GDPR, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Anti-Terrorist legislation and regulations, as well as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) requirements for on-boarding of new users.

Our Signicat client case studies on our website reflect this diverse customer base. In particular, we would like to highlight our award winning partnership with Rabobank in providing a Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP) environment to be used by their corporate clients for their clients, and Telia, who we’re working with to improve its client on-boarding for their mobile phone customers.

Summing up, then, what is your Digital Identity story, in a sentence – and why would a buyer need to work with you now?

With over 12 years across the Nordics and other European markets, we offer clients the knowledge, experience and technology for cross-border, cloud-based electronic Identity services and electronic signatures, thereby ensuring organisations can connect and interact with their customers through verified digital identities. 

Plus, we deliver Identity solutions to major players in the banking, finance, insurance, eCommerce and public service markets helping our clients adhere to and benefit from regulations such as GDPR, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Anti-Terrorist legislation and regulations, as well as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB)requirements for on-boarding of new users.

Do you have a particular public sector angle you also want to highlight for our readers?

This blog from mid-2018 provides some viewpoints based on Signicat’s extensive experience in working with the pioneering Nordic digital Identity schemes and more recently newer schemes in other parts of Europe. As it states, “Some countries, notably the Nordics, had an early start with digital Identity as a common infrastructure since the beginning of the 2000s. Others are catching up, with digital Identity schemes initiatives announced in the Netherlands and Germany recently. Still others, like the UK, are in the risk of being left behind without the digital Identity infrastructure that is necessary for rapid digitisation.”

The UK has a dominant position in the financial services market and the fintech industry, and ties with Singapore in the top spot of Deloitte’s list of best fintech cities. This position could be endangered, however, by the lack of a widely used, interoperable digital Identity.

The UK does have a digital Identity scheme, GOV.UK Verify, but it is under-used and has failed to meet key targets. Unlike other digital ID schemes such as those in Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, it is limited to the public sector, does not support financial services and is not interoperable with its European counterparties. Plans to remedy its shortcomings are vague.

This lack of digital Identity is already having an effect: A recent study confirms that the UK’s digital infrastructure has fallen behind countries such as Germany and Spain. Slipping behind in digital Identity carries real risks for the UK’s digital economy. Without the right Digital Identity system it will be tricky, if not impossible, for UK-based companies to operate in the EU, and vice versa. This will relegate the UK’s digital economy to a ‘second tier’, incompatible with one of its biggest partners.

Digital Identity schemes need public-private partnership to succeed – so if the UK wants to correct this course, it needs to rethink its approach to Identity for the digital age. One of the experiences from the early adopters of digital Identity schemes is that they stand little chance of success if they are limited to the public sector. High volume use cases, such as payments, need to be included to drive adoption rate. The approach of a bank-led public-private partnership should be explored, and GOV.UK Verify needs to start to align with the commercial needs of the UK banks if it is to take off.

If we come back in 12 months from now to refresh your profile in the Directory, what would you like to be able to say you’d achieved or progressed in the intervening time?

Signicat would hope that in 12 months’ time, the UK has a clear strategy and tangible progress in building on the Verify initiative with an open private-public digital Identity scheme that Digital Identity Service Providers (DISPs) like ourselves can integrate with to provide Identity verification services to our existing and prospective clients in the UK and from across Europe.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide Identity verification and electronic signature solutions to clients, which improve their capability to meet regulatory requirements, improve efficiency and reduce fraud within their digital channels.

Thank you for your time today, Mr Haug – and good luck in the UK market!