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Proof of Identity: Internet

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL6793, tabled on 29 March 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to authenticate individuals' digital identities, including as part of the verify scheme; and what plans they have to promote affordable and suitable financial and credit products and services.

Answered on

16 April 2018

GOV.UK Verify has agreements with seven certified companies that the government has approved to verify users’ identity. The certified companies have to meet government and international standards for security and data protection.

For a GOV.UK Verify user to have their identity verified, the certified companies look at a range of evidence and checks to establish that users are who they say they are. There are five identity proofing and verification elements involved, and the companies have to achieve thresholds in each element before they can verify someone’s identity.

We are committed to delivering a well-functioning and sustainable consumer credit market which is able to meet the needs of all consumers. In March, the government hosted the first meeting of the Financial Inclusion Policy Forum, a new key initiative bringing together government, regulators, industry and the third sector to coordinate action and provide leadership in tackling these challenges. The Forum’s mission is to ensure that individuals, regardless of their background or income, have access to useful and affordable financial products and services, including affordable credit.

The government also supports credit unions, which provide an affordable alternative to high-cost credit. In the Autumn Budget 2017, the government announced its intention to help the sector expand by increasing the number of potential members of credit unions from two million to three million. In addition, from this year a greater proportion of funds recovered from illegal money lenders will be allocated to incentivise vulnerable people to join, save, and borrow with a credit union instead of turning to loan sharks.

In addition, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has responsibility for setting the direction for the spend of dormant assets funding. In March 2018, the Department, with the Big Lottery Fund, published a statement of intent for £55 million in funding for financial inclusion. This statement sets out that the money will be put towards increasing the use of fair, affordable and appropriate financial products and services. This includes credit products and services, along with savings and insurance products and services. Following an ongoing engagement exercise, Ministers are expected to issue formal policy directions to the Big Lottery Fund about the detailed focus of a programme and what it should achieve in summer 2018