TSB Bank rolls out government’s RealMe online ID

Private sector support for RealMe could help turn it into the default New Zealand standard.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

The first private sector organisation to use the New Zealand Government’s RealMe online identification system is Taranaki-based TSB Bank.

A pilot now being run will allow customers to open accounts via their smartphones rather than having to come into a branch and supplying identification, TSB Bank said.

RealMe was developed by the Department of internal Affairs and NZ Post, initially to allow citizens to interact securely with government agencies, but private sector use has long been part of the plan.

The system allows consumers to prove their identity remotely online.

“RealMe will over time help transform the online and mobile services we offer our customers,” TSB Bank managing director Kevin Murphy said.

Murphy said RealMe will also enable TSB Bank to win customers where they might not be able to access the bank’s branch network, which is smaller than those of its Australian-owned rivals.

The bank has been working with NZ Post on the project for about a year, Murphy said. The service will be available on iPhones first and Android phones by the end of the month.

Murphy said there are other systems but having one standard form of online ID would make it simple for everyone.

“It opens opportunities to customers and people in general to have one form of ID they can use in a variety of situations,” he said.

NZ Post’s head of agency services, Mandy Smith, said RealMe can make it easier for customers to do business and can open the door to customer services.

“It is also an important new service for the future with much tighter rules on the way as countries including New Zealand move to combat international counterfeiting and money laundering,” Smith said.

More than 43 central and local government agencies are already using RealMe.

Smith said more private and public sector organisations are expected to use the service from next year in a range of industries that could include insurance, superannuation and voter enrolment.

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