Top Bank Supports Nationwide Implementation of Digital ID for All Australians

National Australia Bank (NAB) has thrown its support behind a nationwide digital identity initiative, asserting that it will bring “more convenience” to Australians. The news comes as the Australian government pushes to enact the system either this year or early next year.

According to the bank, an “interoperable digital identity ecosystem” is necessary for Australians to link their banking ConnectID, myGov, and state government apps. NAB stated that industry and community-led digital ID solutions would “complement and extend” the reach of government digital ID services, adding that the success of the Australian system depends on the involvement of banks.

NAB’s digital executive Brad Carr stated, “We want Digital Identity to work in Australia, for all Australians.” The bank believes that Digital ID will bring added convenience to Australians when validating their identity online, ensuring that the process is safe, and their data and privacy are protected.

To support this push, NAB recently launched ConnectID, a digital identity platform developed in collaboration with Australian Payments Plus, enabling users to verify their identity with third parties. The ConnectID website indicated that the platform would roll out gradually across various institutions and businesses in Australia in 2023.

In line with this, the government has consulted on the draft Digital Identity Bill 2023, with the expectation of introducing it to Parliament within the next seven months. Furthermore, a Ministerial Digital ID Expert Panel has been formed to offer independent advice on the implementation of a Federal digital ID. The chair of the panel, former New South Wales minister for digital government, Victor Dominello, mentioned that a draft digital ID bill will be introduced at the end of this year or early next year.

Meanwhile, NAB emphasized that not all Australians were enthusiastic about a government digital ID, citing prior national identity proposals, and international studies that revealed a higher level of trust in banks compared to the government and BigTech firms. The bank underscored the importance of a digital identity service in reducing the risks associated with criminal activity in identity theft and impersonation. Additionally, NAB sees digital identity as a critical enabler to support higher productivity of the Australian economy.

Furthermore, NAB referenced studies indicating the potential economic value of digital ID to Australia to be approximately three to four percent of GDP. The bank also believes that digital ID services would strengthen its customer relationship by providing additional value to customers through secure and simple means of proving their identification.

NAB expressed concern that a focus on only government digital ID providers could lead to diminished participation, emphasizing the need for Australian digital identity to reach its full potential. The bank stated that their initiative aimed to provide Australians with choice, while ensuring a stronger and safer national ecosystem.

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