Cross-border digital ID is coming: Mastercard plans to provide infrastructure
National Identity representatives from the APAC region discussed their preparations for borderless digital identity and interoperability at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2021. National systems continue to establish themselves and work with their private sectors on use cases and integration, but countries like Australia and New Zealand are already discussing how to make their digital IDs work in each other’s country while Mastercard plans to manage digital ID cross-border from 2022.
Australia and Singapore have started a dialogue on a mutual recognition agreement, according to Jonathan Thorpe, chief executive of the Australian Digital Transformation Agency. The agreement would aim to gain acceptance for the digital identity of a citizen from one country to another. It could potentially start with the students. New Zealand is also at the top of Australia’s list for mutual recognition of digital identifying information.
Singapore’s national digital identity, Singpass, is centralized versus a federated and opt-in approach in Australia which lacked an existing national ID system to rely on. 4.2 million Singaporeans (or 97% of eligible people, according to system director Dominic Chan, also speaking) have registered for their digital ID – a figure dramatically increased by the COVID pandemic – while 5, 3 million Australians have chosen to go digital.
“Digital identity can play a role, but on its own will not necessarily allow a frictionless travel experience,” said Australian Thorpe, although credentials can be readily accepted by the private sector and the government once a person has entered a country.
“To create a truly efficient and inclusive digital economy, digitization must be end to end… We must put people at the heart of digital infrastructure,” said Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, s ‘voicing on digital ID being one of the’ four pillars’ of digital infrastructure that the future economy will need. Menon is hoping for a government-to-government collaboration on global digital goods.
“Fundamental public digital infrastructures will be essential for inclusive economic and social development,” said Rajat Maheshwari, vice president of digital identity at Mastercard. Biometric update in an email on the main lessons of the event. “Digital identity, authorization and consent, interoperability of payments and data exchange are the four essential ingredients to enable end-to-end digital transactions, they collectively meet the basic needs of a digital economy . “
Singapore and Australia are moving in this direction by working on verifiable credentials – or attributes – to bring interoperability beyond standards and into practical use cases. According to Wen Si Wong, director of national digital identity at Gov Tech of Singapore, their approach opens up to allow the private sector to potentially become authentication providers or even trust anchors.
His department is examining how Singaporeans’ digital identities could become compatible with international organizations such as IATA and requirements such as EIDAS. Wong also said Singapore is discussing with Mastercard a possible collaboration with its identification network and its integration into its larger ecosystem.
Sarah Clark, senior vice president of digital identity at Mastercard, was on the panel and said digital ID is “one of the greatest opportunities of our generation.” Clark said digital ID systems working with the private sector “can bring utility in everyday life” and expand the use cases of the approach.
Clark also revealed that Mastercard is looking forward to its first cross-border digital identity use cases in 2022.
“Identity is a global problem that cannot be solved by any entity, government or private sector. A digital borderless world requires a reusable identity service that can be trusted and accepted wherever the user makes transactions, ”writes Maheshwari.
Mastercard rapidly expanded its Identities division, leveraging its global network and KYC capabilities. He works on digital identity projects around the world, from biometric projects to drive financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa to digital ID to help Brazilian students safely take exams remotely.
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