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UK: Homebuyers can now use mobile phone to prove identity

Christian Fernsby |
HM Land Registry’s first Digital Identity Standard is launched today in the UK.

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It provides a step-by-step list of requirements for conveyancers’ use of digital services to verify their client’s identity securely and conveniently online.

The new standard is optional. However, it offers a ‘Safe Harbour’ for those conveyancers who meet the requirements. HM Land Registry would not seek recourse against conveyancers who comply with the standard in the event their client was not who they claimed to be.

This makes identity verification much more convenient as it can be done at any time, without the need to meet physically, for all clients whether residential or commercial. It also provides enhanced security by requiring the use of smartphones to extract encrypted information contained within the chips of documents such as passports.

Mike Harlow, General Counsel, Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Land Registrar, comments: "Proving your identity when buying or selling your property can be a pain. But of course, it is essential to the security of such high value transactions. This new standard for digital biometric identity checking marks an exciting milestone towards a truly digital conveyancing process.

"In a challenging year, we set up a cross-industry forum to support our conveyancing colleagues. First, we brought in electronic signatures to remove any need for paper in conveyancing. Now through this same collaboration we are able to bring a new digital identity standard to reduce the risk of fraud and make transactions a more digital, easier and faster experience."

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