Royal Mail joins identity verification scheme

National postal operator Royal Mail has launched an identity verification system that is connected to the UK government’s Verify platform.

Certified by the government scheme, Royal Mail will be able to verify the identity of consumers using their name, gender, address, and date of birth. They will also be asked to provide a driver’s license or passport number to validate that they are the person that they say they are. Checks will vary according to the level of service that the government service requires and this could include counter fraud checks as well as activity history.

Where the information matches, users will be granted a unique online identity with a username and password. Those using it will have control over their own data and this will eliminate the need for information about people to be stored in one central government database.

Nine digital services are currently on the Royal Mail system with a further 15 expected to be rolled out in the next 18 months. Services include applying for child maintenance, signing a mortgage deed and amending a driver record.

Nine certified companies have been chosen by Verify to act as an ID service provider, of which Royal Mail is one of them. Information supplied as part of the identity service provider’s verification process will only be used to confirm the user’s ID and authenticate the application. Over 470,000 user IDs have now been verified using Verify, and in the coming years it is expected that over 10 million will use the system every year.

Jim Conning, Managing Director of Royal Mail Data Services, commented: “Royal Mail has a long track record of supporting its customers with data-driven services from managing the Postcode Address File we use to deliver to the UK’s 29 million addresses, to helping more than two million people a year move house without facing the risk of ID fraud with our Redirection service.

“Royal Mail’s new certified identity service is part of our strategy to innovate and introduce new platforms where we can grow, while maintaining our leading position in the letters and parcels markets.”