Cabinet Office together with Barclays, BBA, FCA, Difi Norway and BankID, participated in an OIX project that looked at the use of digital identity across borders, specifically within the financial sector context. The project tested the following hypothesis: ‘Individuals coming to the UK will be inclined and able to open a UK bank account online, prior to arriving into the country, using their national digital identity.’ The project took place towards the end of 2015 and we’ve now published final report, including a short video. It was delivered in the context of initiatives, such as the European wide initiative on identity assurance.

Currently, around 50% of bank accounts opened in the UK are by people who are new to the country, and therefore lack sufficient footprint in the UK to open an account. The ability to use their national digital identity issued under a recognised national scheme to open a bank account online, prior to their arrival, could significantly ease the pain of moving abroad.

The project successfully tested the hypothesis and suggested a number of recommendations as part of the next stage:

  • Look at technical feasibility of the proposed user journey, with the reuse of eIDAS infrastructure
  • analyse how EU levels of assurance for digital identity match against what banks currently do as part of identity verification when onboarding customers
  • analyse how digital identity fits into Customer Due Diligence processes banks have to apply
  • analyse how digital identity could enhance fraud control processes

If you’re interested to learn more about the project, one of the participants Ewan Willars, Policy Director at British Bankers Association, has blogged about why he decided to get involved.

For an update on next steps please contact Sue Dawes at

By Livia Ralph, Cabinet Office