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

Thousands have used Abbotsford’s pedestrian and cycling bridge over the winter

Mayor says he’s pleased with usage of Salton Road highway crossing during winter

Aspiring entrepreneurs invited to pitch ideas at Dragons’ Den auditions

Abbotsford and Vancouver the only Lower Mainland try-out locations

Great-grandma’s wish granted to take photos from new heights

Ilona Lelkes of Langley will fly on Cessna 172 Cessna from Abbotsford

Abbotsford football talents ink university commitments

Panthers Catlin and Coronado, Mouat’s Duval announce signings

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read