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Exclusive interview with Rabobank: How do the Dutch identify themselves? With iDIN, of course

In 2017, Rabobank and Signicat teamed up to enter the Dutch identity market by providing digital services to businesses and supporting them in servicing their clients.

This joint Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP) offers a range of online login, identity, signature and archiving solutions under the banner of Rabo eBusiness. The Paypers sits down with Alexander Zwart from Rabobank to discuss how Rabo eBusiness developed over the last year and how Dutch consumers prefer to identify themselves.

Could you please provide more details about Rabo eBusiness: what was the idea behind this initiative, what are the groups it addresses, and how is Rabo eBusiness helping these customer groups?

A few years ago, a group of Dutch banks have started iDEAL, a popular payment scheme in the Netherlands, used for online shopping. However, when these banks brought iDEAL to the Dutch market, Payment Service Providers like Adyen or Buckaroo acknowledged that merchants wanted to offer not only iDEAL, but also a wide variety of payment methods, e.g. credit card or PayPal. Therefore, the banks developed this service together, but what they failed to see is that one payment method does not solve all the problems of an online merchant.

Moreover, when the Dutch banks started an online identity scheme, such as iDIN, the question we asked ourselves was: does iDIN solve the whole challenge that merchants face with online identity? We believed that it did not: merchants need more identity options than what the iDIN offered – they required a Digital Identity Service Provider (DISP). We proceeded by looking for PSPs that were already offering identity options in Europe and found Signicat, an experienced and respected DISP in Europe. We wanted to create a solution that would meet identity needs on both sides of the online interaction; both for the consumers who want to identify themselves securely online, as well as for merchants who want to ease the customer’s journey.

So Rabo eBusiness is really a partnership; we have this business together with Signicat and we share its profits. Signicat and Rabobank operate together, both on the product management side, developing the product, as well as on the sales side. We entered the market with a basic proposition, i.e. we offer the possibility of using multiple identity services, like Google login, iDIN, and DigiD – an identity service delivered by the Dutch government, and we plan to expand our product portfolio in the near future.

Does Rabo eBusiness service all industries, or do you focus on specific segments of the market?

On the consumer side, when it comes to the people who use identity, Rabobank has a great coverage in the Netherlands. 94% of the Dutch population have an electronic ID, according to a survey commissioned by Signicat, which will be included in the Battle for Onboarding report that will be launched in May 2018. Of these people, 68 % use their ID to buy financial products.

Our primary focus, therefore, is the financial sector itself. Rabobank is the best launching platform for Signicat, because our customers, i.e. people who buy our products, are already used to identifying themselves via our bank. One of Rabo eBusiness’ first customer was Rabobank itself – Rabobank “bought” the product from itself, and used the identity proposition from Signicat to allow its clients who don’t have a Rabobank ID, but who might have an online ID solution from the competing banks, access the bank’s services.

What made Signicat’s implementation within Rabobank successful? Where there any challenges?

Signicat is very experienced in connecting complex IT parties like Rabobank. The biggest challenge, therefore, was not the part of cooperating with Signicat, yet for Rabobank to take a new look at identity. It took us some time to adapt our architecture to an open structure, accessible for people outside the bank.

Signicat has made connecting with other large parties a very easy experience, and as a result Rabobank is able to smoothly connect with large organizations now. I have mentioned earlier that one of our business focus is the financial services sector; for us financial institutions and insurance companies are a good match.

Therefore, we are proud to announce that we have recently partnered with Aegon, another large financial services provider in the Netherlands, and managed to integrate our solution in their IT systems frictionless due to the Signicat’s experience in connecting large parties.

Thanks to fintechs and challenger banks, incumbent financial service providers are under more pressure than ever for market share. It is critical, therefore, that customers can use applications as smoothly as possible—as any bumps in the road will lead to abandonment. In the Netherlands, what is still needed to drive adoption of identity services?

There are a few challenges ahead; firstly, we need to make identity services as easy to use as the big techs do, both on the consumer and the merchant side. On the consumer side, it is very important that the identity scheme you prefer is offered on all devices, especially on the mobile phone and within an IoT environment. This is why banks have invested a lot in making iDIN available for mobile. On the merchant side, it is important that you can offer a broad set of identity services/schemes to your customers (iDIN, DigiD, Google ID, Facebook ID, etc.), to maximize conversion rates.

Secondly, iDIN needs to be seen as a trustworthy, and preferred means of identifying oneself. However, things are pointing in the right direction: iDIN is used by an increasing number of people and organizations in the Netherlands, increasing the trust and goodwill towards this identity service.

Thirdly, we need to keep on working on the distribution on the merchant side. People have to see it in the market, so that consumers are convinced of its convenience and accessibility, and merchants are assured of its power to increase conversion. Luckily, Signicat has a lot of experience and expertise in creating a smooth onboarding process.

How do you see the identity services space evolving over the next 5-10 years in Europe?

Definitely identity will remain a key topic for the next decade. One can see that governments, companies, and people want to do more online. This makes digital identity increasingly important and will grow tremendously. Moreover, the Signicat research shows that banks are a trusted institution for consumers as their safe house for identity, more than social networks, so there is a big opportunity for banks to take the lead in identity services.

About Alexander Zwart

Alexander Zwart is the Head of Digital Channels & CX at Rabobank’s Digital Transformation Office. During the past 20 years, he has worked in fast moving consumer goods, energy & banking, in functional areas like Strategy, Sales, Product Management and IT & Operations. Alexander has been part of a business development team that started an energy company in Belgium and Germany, and he has also worked as an advisor to Rabobank’s Executive Board.

About Rabobank

Rabobank is an international financial services provider operating on the basis of cooperative principles. It offers retail banking, wholesale banking, private banking, leasing and real estate services. As a cooperative bank, Rabobank puts customers’ interests first in its services and is committed to being a leading customer-focused cooperative bank in the Netherlands and a leading food and agri bank worldwide. Rabobank Group is active in 40 countries.

About Signicat

Signicat is based in Trondheim, Norway, and was founded in 2007; the company operates the largest Digital Identity Hub in the world, offering a leading digital identity platform and trusted to reduce the burden of compliance in highly regulated markets. With Signicat, service providers can build and leverage existing customer credentials to connect users, devices and even ‘things’ across channels, services and markets transforming identity into an asset rather than a burden. By ditching manual, paper-based processes and replacing them with digital identity assurance, customer on-boarding is accelerated and access to services is made simple and secure. Signicat’s Digital Identity Platform is a comprehensive solution to that offers compliance and a route to better customer engagement.

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