Property buyers can now use their mobile phone to prove their identity

The Land Registry has introduced the first Digital Identity Standard.

It provides a step-by-step list of requirements for conveyancers’ use of digital services to verify their client’s identity securely and conveniently online.

The new standard is optional. But the Land Registry says that it offers a ‘safe harbour’ for those conveyancers who meet the requirements. It would not seek recourse against conveyancers who comply with the standard in the event their client was not who they claimed to be.

This makes identity verification much more convenient as it can be done without the need to meet physically, for all clients whether residential or commercial.

In addition, it provides enhanced security by requiring the use of smartphones to extract encrypted information contained within the chips of documents such as passports.

Mike Harlow, general counsel, deputy chief executive and deputy chief land registrar, commented: “Proving your identity when buying or selling your property can be a pain. But of course, it is essential to the security of such high value transactions. This new standard for digital biometric identity checking marks an exciting milestone towards a truly digital conveyancing process.

“In a challenging year, we set up a cross-industry forum to support our conveyancing colleagues. First, we brought in electronic signatures to remove any need for paper in conveyancing. Now through this same collaboration we are able to bring a new digital identity standard to reduce the risk of fraud and make transactions a more digital, easier and faster experience.

“The release of this standard marks another key step toward the future of conveyancing. It provides a clear blueprint for technology providers to develop a range of secure and convenient options to support conveyancers better.”

For me information: Practice guide 81: encouraging the use of digital technology in identity verification.


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