NatWest’s Stacey Wilkinson: Banks trusted to offer digital identity

Ellie Duncan,
11 Apr 2024

Stacey Wilkinson, API growth manager at NatWest, has said the UK needs more banks to offer their customers digital identity sharing attributes to ensure they do not lose out on their “strategic advantage” in this space.­

In March 2023, NatWest launched a digital ID service for businesses.

The ‘Customer Attribute Sharing’ service, powered by NatWest’s Bank of APIs, is available as an embedded finance solution across use cases including e-document signing and digital onboarding.

Consumers can use their NatWest identity attributes to “prove more facts about themselves”, she added.

Stacey Wilkinson

Stacey Wilkinson, API growth manager at NatWest

Wilkinson said that its digital identity service, which uses the same rails that the bank built for Open Banking, supports a reduction in customer journey length, with the e-signing process, in partnership with OneID, down from five minutes, to 30 seconds.

She told Open Banking Expo that NatWest’s customers are “automatically opted in” to the service, although it is up to the customer about “what to do with that enrolment”.

“Merchants trust the banks to provide ID services,” said Wilkinson, adding that banks could lose their strategic advantage in this space if more of them do not start offering digital identity solutions.

Asked what the opportunities are for banks in the digital identity space, she said: “For banks, the driver is customer-centricity and loyalty. It keeps customers on the platform.”

If more banks in the UK were to share identity attributes, it would create a more “robust proposition”, according to Wilkinson. She pointed out that the banks are “not in competition” and that it would create “cohesion” if other banks offered digital identity solutions.

In Australia, “several banks have come onboard” the country’s ConnectID solution.

Australian Payments Plus launched Connect ID last year, with the solution available to customers of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and National Australia Bank (NAB), while banks Westpac and ANZ are also strategic partners of the initiative.

There are currently 70 different identity frameworks available in the UK.

“A government push is sometimes needed to reassure the population to use bank-led digital identity,” Wilkinson told Open Banking Expo, citing Belgium as an example where a government use case helped drive customer adoption