GlobalData Plc

Industry Interview: Arne Vidar Haug, VP of business development, Signicat

As consumers become more familiar with digital channels, financial institutions and payment providers increasingly need natively digital means of identifying customers, both to improve the efficiency of authentication and to guard against fraud. Senior Consumer Payments Analyst Sam Murrant spoke with Arne Vidar Haug, co-founder and VP of Business Development at Signicat, concerning its online ID verification services.

Could you give me a bit of background on Signicat?

Signicat is an identity assurance provider serving the European market. Founded in 2007, we have four major products designed to help our clients identify and validate their customers and business partners more efficiently and effectively. Our client base includes insurance companies and government agencies, though the majority of our customers are consumer finance companies – we have over 200 financial institutions as clients.

Could you tell me some more about the products you offer to financial institutions?

Our products focus on customer onboarding (Signicat Assure), authentication (Signicat Connect), and on the B2B side, on enabling and verifying electronic signatures (Signicat Sign) and document storage (Signicat Preserve). At the onboarding stage, we build up a digital identity for the customer based on identity documents in their possession, their residential address, existing bank account details, as well as any social media profiles they have. The whole process cuts down on time spent at onboarding, benefiting both the consumer and the financial institution. Our client businesses then choose the level of assurance and type of authentication they require from their customers based on their risk appetite. 

What are the benefits of Signicat’s services for financial institutions?

In the digital age in which we now do business, it is more important than ever to know your customer, especially at onboarding, to guard against the risk of identity theft (as well as to comply with regulations). It is also important to provide a convenient experience for the consumer at the onboarding stage, which is why our services focus on speed and user convenience. With our current clients we’ve been able to cut onboarding times down to four days for products that used to take a week. In many cases, our clients both identify and sign in one onboarding process, which delivers immediate value to both.

How does Signicat’s system protect against fraud and data breaches?

The presence of the digital identity makes it easy to verify customers on multiple different metrics, making it more difficult for a fraudster to successfully impersonate the customer. Additionally, the identity data collected at customer onboarding is never shared with the end-user, only verified against their log-in credentials. Thus, fraudsters cannot access the full digital identity even if they have access to a customer’s log-in credentials.

Where do you see the biggest opportunities and the biggest challenges for digital ID providers in the future?

As major regulated industries move to transform and digitize the customer onboarding process, we see a greater need for seamless processes enabled by identity assurance – particularly in financial services, but also in any business that wants to know their digital customer and meet their purchasing needs in a timely manner. This is more important as groups such as the millennials, who have higher expectations, become the dominant purchasers. The challenge lies in the myriad of digital identity sources, from government IDs to bank IDs and eKYC data. We aggregate all of that data to capture a complete picture of the digital customer, including social media – this enables confidence in the transactions and drives value for all participants.

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