How did a 360-year-old institution revolutionise today’s digital identity market?

The Post Office has been in existence for 360 years. We’re a familiar face on the High Street, a constant and reassuring presence in an ever-changing and sometimes scary world. Like any business, we need to continuously evolve the products we offer and respond to customers’ needs. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing in the identity services market.

By Elinor Hull, Identity Services Director

Businesses lose some four out of ten sales because of the challenges faced with proving ID. Physical ID checks always have the potential for human error and current ID systems are limiting secure and efficient service delivery.

Our vision is that proving who you are should be as easy and convenient as making a payment, with you choosing the method be it cash, card or digital payment.

What have we been doing over the past year?
Identity verification needs to work across digital and physical channels to be inclusive. Post Office has the physical channel - our branch network. So we looked for a partner to complement this with online verification services to enable our customers and clients to have convenience of choice. 

In early 2021 we signed a partnership agreement with UK based identity specialists Yoti. Together we’re working to bring world-leading identity services to UK citizens and businesses – identity verification online and in person, digital identity apps, digital signing, age verification and authentication services.

The first year of the partnership has been successful with three product launches and over 500 businesses signed up using our services.

Launch of Post Office EasyID
We launched Post Office EasyID in August 2021 – a digital identity app for customers to prove who they are from the convenience of their smartphone.

Post Office EasyID is the latest development in our business’s strategy to embrace new technology and deliver improvements that help both our Postmasters and customers operate more efficiently.

EasyID is now an accepted form of ID with many online businesses. Over 30,000 retail stores across the UK accept it, so whether you are collecting a parcel from the Post Office, proving your age to buy a lottery ticket or starting a new job you can use EasyID to prove who you are.

We expect ID verification via smartphone to become a standard way of verifying ID for a growing number of businesses nationwide. To date over three million UK citizens have downloaded the EasyID or Yoti app showing the value placed in digital ID and making life just that little bit easier.

Post Office PASS card
Following the launch of EasyID, we released the Post Office PASS card in September 2021, an accessible and affordable physical proof of age card for our customers who do not have other government issued ID such as passports and driving licenses.

Identity documents are expensive and even if you have a passport or a driving license you don’t want to risk losing it.

That’s why we launched Post Office PASS card, issued by CitizenCard, to enable access to a low-cost physical ID widely accepted throughout the UK for proof of age, domestic travel, applying for a new job or renting a home and for accessing services like transport, housing services and claiming benefits. We have seen particularly strong take-up from 18-20 year olds (44% of sales) but are seeing purchases from all age demographics.

Additionally this year, we have re-engineered our popular in-branch verification service which enables customers with paper evidence or who are struggling digitally to be verified in person. Over 90% of the UK population live within five miles of a branch offering the service.

Businesses are aware that not all their customers can prove their identity online and are looking to Post Office and Yoti for a unique combined proposition across online and off-line channels to enable them to reach their complete customer audience.

What’s next?
We’ve built a fully inclusive suite of identity services to meet the needs of individuals. Organisations across a whole variety of industries are using our platforms to provide identity services.

This year, a major Government policy change will come into effect enabling the acceptance of digital identity services for the Disclosure and Barring Service and Right to Work and Right to Rent checks. This will save people time, increase convenience and strengthen security benefitting employees and employers, renters and landlords. We’re currently taking our services through certification ready for this change. Look out for more information in a future blog.

With our brand trust, ability to offer face-to-face support to those who need it and trusted connections across the public and private sectors we will continue to revolutionise how we prove our identity safely.

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