Eftpos digital identity trial coming soon

The Australian payments company wants to add its solution to those used to access government services.

Eftpos is hoping to enter the digital identity game in Australia, announcing its solution would soon move into the trial phase.

Following the completion of a proof of concept of its digital identity solution with 17 Australian businesses, the payments company said it is working with industry to build something that "could have significant advantages for the economy and society".

Although the Australian government has its own digital identity solution, accrediting the Australian Taxation Office for its myGovID and Australia Post for its equivalent, Eftpos said its solution could provide a "smoother, faster, and more secure onboarding experience, including for government services".

Eftpos said with "appropriate government support", its solution could be "activated in a short timeframe and bring significant benefits to the fintech community".

In a submission [PDF] to the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, Eftpos said its solution could also provide new secure and privacy-protecting ways to distribute government funds such as social security, disaster relief, health services, or small business assistance.

The company also said it could provide financial technology companies (fintechs) with low-cost access to a range of new marketplaces and channels that currently have high barriers to entry but help reduce the impact of fraud, protect the identities of Australians, assist businesses meet their regulatory obligations, and keep the personal data of Australians onshore.

"It makes sense for Eftpos to provide this service because we are Australian-based and our transactions are processed here," it wrote.

"In addition, Eftpos is not owned by or beholden to any other commercial provider so it can operate as a neutral provider of Digital Identity solutions, maximising their take up and use across the broader economy."

See also: Canberra wants to open digital identity system to commercial sector

Eftpos said it has access to more than 40 million bank accounts that utilise bank verification systems with Eftpos' capability, and that its relationship with local banks would allow it to provide digital identity services.

"We believe there will be a critical need for increased competition in digital payments, as well as an Australian-based digital identity solution to help facilitate this accelerated digital transition and provide opportunities for the fintech community," Eftpos said

The committee last month reopened submissions to its inquiry to examine the size and scope of the opportunity presented by fintech and regulatory technology (regtech), saying that Australia's economic and financial environment had changed dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eftpos believes it could assist the Australian fintech sector "thrive and grow during and after this difficult period" by providing low-cost access to its network and payments capability.

"Fintech is a key sector for the future of the Australian economy and jobs creation, and it needs our support," the company said.

"Low-cost access, combined with our mobile payments capability, our ability to issue tokens, and the work we are doing with industry around real-time digital payments and a ubiquitous digital identity solution, have the potential to bring many fintech solutions to life in the current environment."

Where digital payments are concerned, Eftpos said its members have already made systems changes to enable Eftpos online digital transactions.

"For many months, Eftpos has been successfully running this service with a number of retailers in Sydney, as well as payment gateways and small issuers," it said.

"With government support, we now want to work with major banks to turn on this service more broadly, starting with low risk card on file transactions.

"Eftpos digital payments would give fintechs the ability to initiate and process payments at low cost and in real time, with various use cases across the economy. This change would also assist merchants reduce costs during the coronavirus crisis and recovery period, while also providing exciting new opportunities for the fintech community, at no cost to government."

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