Trust the crucial foundation for Australia’s blossoming Digital Economy

The term “Digital Economy” has been the subject of plenty of discussion of late, as Australia’s two largest cities prepare for life after lockdowns that have irrevocably changed the way we work, shop and spend.

Australians have recently endured many challenges, but it’s a testament to our national spirit of perseverance and innovation that adversity is once more being forged into opportunity that can deliver tangible and lasting benefits across our community.

One of the biggest lessons of the last two years has been just how much we cherish in-person human interaction that we once took for granted; a coffee with friends, a simple haircut or leisurely browsing for a gift.

At the same time, we’ve collectively learned that while many low-risk transactions can be sent digital quickly, there’s far more to providing simple, seamless and fast customer experiences when people and organisations need digital verification of who they are, with trust and certainty.

For example, when we open a new account, change utilities or divulge sensitive personal information about our lives to government agencies, health and social service providers, we legitimately expect those organisations to both check who we are, and to protect our information, often involving paper copies of documents and clunky old processes.

As the national economy and services transform to go digital-first, those protections require investment in secure, local Digital Identity infrastructure and ongoing renewal to keep them safe and protected right here in Australia.

An ecosystem of trust

At eftpos we have been doing a lot of work to build such as Digital Platform – connectID – and to make sure that it works seamlessly and securely with other systems in a way that gives Australians the ability to trust that their information can be used easily to identify themselves, and that they have all the necessary protections.

In September eftpos achieved a pivotal milestone in laying the foundations for Australia’s emerging digital identity ecosystem.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, the Hon Stuart Robert, announced that eftpos’ new digital identity solution business, connectID, has become the first officially accredited non-government operator of a digital identity exchange in Australia.

In simple terms this means that eftpos and connectID has passed a rigorous set of tests and security assessments from the federal Government’s Digital Transformation Agency that opens the door for connectID to broker secure and authorised digital identity transactions between government and non-government organisations.

Known as the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF), this regime standardises digital identities and spans across key government agencies including Services Australia, Medicare, the Australian Taxation Office and myriad of government services which require proof of identity.

Think of TDIF as the standard gauge for Australia’s digital identity rails.

connectID’s accreditation under TDIF means that we can now work with Government with a view to creating highly-trusted links between government and business to facilitate the exchange of digital identity credentials increasingly needed for transactions to happen instantly.

Use cases abound and range from proof-of-age checks for regulated online transactions like liquor purchases or obtaining permits or licence validations to onboarding new staff, switching service providers, ownership transfers or complying with anti-money laundering requirements.

Lasting national infrastructure

A key reason why eftpos has moved into digital identity is the logical synergy between being an established national, sovereign payments network and continuing to facilitate trusted digital transactions in the national interest.

We know that as global and multinational platforms extend into our own market here in Australia, citizens, consumers and government will all increasingly seek assurances that the networks our transactions, personal information and data travel on are both trusted and held accountable.

In the digital age, sovereignty of systems and information assets have also become a first order issue for government and critical infrastructure providers who underpin our economy, with recent rules and regulations stipulating the who, where and how for operation of pervasive technologies like cloud computing.

A good part of this strategic position necessarily aims to protect Australian infrastructure and ensure its resilience.

This said, there is now also a clear focus on the retention and augmentation of national and domestic networks and infrastructure, with a view to ensuring Australians get a fair deal through the maintenance of competition as digital commerce and transactions become the norm.

In the case of eftpos’ connectID – this is core to its proposition. connectID, is now live and running as a standalone FinTech and fully owned eftpos subsidiary, and is about bringing ease and safety at the centre of the Digital Economy. Its aim is to make it easier for Australians to share, store and receive personal identity information securely online.  

While connectID securely facilitates the identity verification or data exchange, by design it does not store the identity data. Identity providers store consumer identities and take responsibility for providing this secure information only under the consent of the identity owner.

In this way, the identity owner – the consumer – controls who receives and uses their identity data.

Innovation is the eftpos core

eftpos has been a vital part of this collegiate and truly national infrastructure mix that pioneered real time electronic payments processing in 1984, becoming a global leader in the process.

That same real time competency and associated low-latency smarts have endured, and now help turbocharge the new generation of quickly developing Australian-centric eftpos products and services, like connect ID and our Australian mobile wallet, Beem It - that are attuned to the wants and needs of local consumers.

A great user experience, flexible functions like split payments and rock-solid uptime and performance are all key reasons more and more Millennials every day are opening up Beem It as their wallet of choice.

Motivation for Good

Our research also shows that Australians, and Millennials in particularly, increasingly recognise a social and economic value that extends beyond themselves and delivers a common Good across the community by lowering the cost of accepting payments to merchants, while supporting the local FinTech industry.

Today’s digitally savvy consumers are more aware than ever of how their decisions and actions resonate not just across broader economy, but at a direct community and local level – especially when times are tough for many.

Retaining secure local trade and prosperity, whether by supporting a local business or buying and promoting Australian Made products, is an increasingly important motivation in consumer choices that recognise the benefits home-grown networks can continue to deliver.

That’s a Good thing for all Australians.