The biggest problem with digital identity is that it’s sort of just a pain in the ass.

As banks, governments and e-commerce giants try to solve the issue of customers having account overload and password amnesia, the problem becomes that security is just inconvenient: there are so many required security specs for passwords, are  many different passwords to remember, it’s just easier to create an easy-to-remember password and use it for everything — and at the end of the day, if an account is hacked, the bank can just return the money. No big deal.

Passwords remain the reality for how customers identify themselves for every service they use. They know the system is hackable but still place their trust in companies to hold their data, even though they don’t trust them. Fixing the system means there has to be a single identifying entity that people trust, that has an established history of collecting and holding personal information. Banks are the most well positioned to do so, but for them, the first step is to begin designing trust into identity verification services and bring clarity on who owns customer data and what happens to it.

“The use of digital identity will exceed the use of physical identity when more digital identity solutions emerge in the market — that’s what’s lacking today,” said Matthew Thompson, director of digital business development at Capital One. “We have to design for trust in the solutions: trust with the relying party or business partner that they can trust the assertion we’re making, and trust with the consumer that they want to use or share the information in this ecosystem. When those things come together you’ll see digital identity exceed the use of physical identity.”

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