The Toronto-based company is building on the success of its SecureKey Concierge service, in use since 2012, that allows consumers to use their banking credentials to gain easier online access to Canada Revenue Agency services. (Black Press Media file photo)

Canada’s banks officially launch SecureKey’s Verified.Me digital identity network

Platform also promises to give users control over information banks will share with third parties

Canada’s biggest banks marked the official launch of the Verified.Me digital identity network on Wednesday, following years of development and testing with their partner SecureKey Technologies Inc.

The banks see Verified.Me as the beginning of a more secure Canadian identity ecosystem for a world where technology is making it easier for criminals to steal personal data and use it to create false identities.

“We think solving this problem — about proving it’s me and making it harder for the bad guy to (pretend to) be me — is a problem of our age that we have to solve,” SecureKey chief executive Greg Wolfond said in an interview.

The Toronto-based company is building on the success of its SecureKey Concierge service, in use since 2012, that allows consumers to use their banking credentials to gain easier online access to Canada Revenue Agency services.

READ MORE: Security tips for National Password Day

Verified.Me goes a step further by making it easier for individuals to provide proof of their identity, using the information they’ve already provided to their financial institutions.

In essence, the Verified.Me smartphone app connects with participating financial institutions and removes many of the steps that are currently required to establish a person’s identity.

The platform also promises to give the users control over what information their banks will share with third parties that use Verified.Me to transact business with consumers.

In the long run, that could include applying for a mortgage, renting an apartment or obtaining a driver’s licence.

But currently only a limited number of financial products or services are available through Verified.Me.

“The current capabilities … on Day 1 are registering their insurance with Sun Life, for example, and checking their credit score with Equifax,” said Greg Elcich, CIBC vice-president for enterprise innovation.

“But this is about building out an ecosystem around identity,” he said. “This service will save Canadians time with everyday tasks that they do…That’s the real vision here.”

CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank and TD said they’d have Verified.Me running effective Wednesday while BMO Bank of Montreal and National Bank of Canada said they will join the network in the near future.

Investors in the Verified.Me consortium include the banks and the Desjardins co-operative, the Telus and Rogers communications companies, the Visa, Mastercard and Discover credit card businesses, and Intel, the semiconductor giant.

Rami Thabet, RBC’s vice-president for digital products, said the financial institutions want to build a Canadian digital identity ecosystem.

“There are quite a few nuances to how Canadians are accessing digital properties and accessing financial services digitally (that were) a key aspect of the design of the platform and to ensure that it met client needs in the future.”

He said Canada’s financial institutions invest heavily in cybersecurity to protect consumer data and privacy.

“This has been a core underpinning of the (Verified.Me) platform, where it’s been designed with privacy and security in mind from the get-go,” Thabet said.

Andrew McFarlane, managing director of Accenture Financial Services, said the lack of a consumer-friendly identity authentication service has delayed European take-up of newer ways to make payments with electronic devices.

“Unless it’s easier and more convenient than using your card, people will continue to use the same payment methods that they have today,” McFarlane said.

But the challenge, he added, is to “get the authentication requirements right while still keeping an eye on fraud and making sure you’re still safe and secure.”

David Paddon, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$2 raise for some health care workers in Alberta over a month late

Delay isn’t from Alberta Health, spokesperson confirms

Wind warning issued for central Alberta

City of Red Deer and Lacombe under wind warning

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Central Alberta naturalists fear pristine headwaters will be contaminated by coal mine

Chutes of the Ram constitute one of Earth’s ‘most beautiful’ spots

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The Lacombe Express covers the stories that matter to you and to our community

PODCAST: The Expert tackles the return of sports

Cam Moon, Joe Whitbread, Byron Hackett and Todd Vaughan discuss how sports can come back

SpaceX’s historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station

SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically

Ottawa pledges millions to promote holiday travel in Canada during pandemic

Funding announced include $30 million originally earmarked for attracting foreign visitors

Sweats are in, slacks are out: Could ‘work-leisure’ become business as usual?

Many desk-dwellers are opting for sweatpants as work-from-home era has loosened up dress codes

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

Increase is part of the government’s pledge to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage

Most Read