Optus and Mastercard on Digital Identity

Optus and Mastercard on Digital Identity

Optus is adopting Mastercard’s ID, a digital identification program that allows users verify their identity online through facial recognition technology. Online transactions come with with many risks, most of which can be solved with a more reliable identification system.

Imagine the typical online purchase. All that’s asked for is your credit card information and, sometimes, your address. Anyone in possession of this information can place an order without any actual identity verification.

With Mastercard’s ID, however, Optus users’ can verify their identity digitally, both online and in person, without any physical documents.

More about Mastercard’s ID

Mastercard’s ID uses facial recognition to identify users online or in person. All relevant data is stored on the user’s device, limiting the risks of personal data getting compromised. According to Mallika Sathi, Mastercard’s vice-president for cyber and intelligence solutions and digital identity, after a user verifies her or his identity on the Mastercard platorm, they can reuse it across other platforms.

Such an ID system adds a coveted layer of control for the consumer, allowing them to decide what information is shared online or in person, and with whom. For businesses, it adds a layer of confidence that they are, in fact, dealing with the actual customer whose information has been submitted.

Online identity theft has reduced over the years, but it is still prevalent and the financial losses have grown in some cases. For instance, the 2019 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research indicates that there were 14.4 million victims of identity fraud in 2018, down from a record high of 16.7 million in 2017.

However, 3.3 million of those 2018 victims had to assume the financial losses. That’s around three times that of 2016 victims. Their out-of-pocket costs amounted to $1.7 billion, twice that of 2016.

Despite technological improvements over the years, the need for reliable digital identification still persists. For Optus, Mastercard’s ID might be the perfect solution.

Optus adopts Mastercard’s digital ID

Around six million Optus customers have downloaded the My Optus app, and Optus has been deploying Mastercard’s digital ID for all of them since November of last year.

This would make ID verification a lot easier when purchasing a device, making account changes, buying other services, etc., via the My Optus app.

The best part is that although the ID is digital, it can also be used in stores and during other physical transactions. Rather than carrying physical identification documents around, just pull out your smartphone and prove your identity.

ID also means Optus customers won’t have to share information that they don’t want to. With complete control of what gets shared, customers will be able to block some information that’s typically visible but unnecessary during ID checks.

And because the customer’s biometrics are needed to access the digital ID on their smart device, fraudsters will find it difficult to use a customer’s identity even if they have access to their device.

Such benefits are realised the most in SIM swap cases and other similar fraud cases. SIM swapping targets weaknesses in 2-factor verification processes to take over a customer’s SIM, and then finalize a fraudulent transaction. SIM swapping has increased by 400 percent since 2015 in some countries, landing a major blow to finances of consumers and organizations alike.

But with ID, Optus can verify customers’ identification without weak measures like 2-factor authentication, creating a stronger layer of security for consumers.

Final words

Digital ID solves the identification issue across many industries, not just telecommunications. In fact, Deakin University is piloting ID for exam verification, and the technology is being used to integrate and connect Australia Post’s Digital ID service.

Everything is going digital, and it’s somewhat surprising to see that identity verification has taken this long to follow suit. But with Mastercard’s ID, perhaps this issue can be solved once and for all, reducing identity theft cases and building trust during online transactions.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.