Special Features

Digital ID verification - the future of mortgage applications?

Conor Murphy | Smartr365
18th December 2020
Conor Murphy Smartr365 new
"Digital ID not only makes the mortgage journey faster but also more secure, as physical ID is more susceptible to misuse."

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore both the benefits of remote working and shortcomings of manual processes that rely on close human interaction and physical documents – such as confirming a prospective homebuyer’s identity. As we quickly approach 2021, we must reflect on the value of alternatives, such as digital ID verification, and plan how the mortgage industry can adopt this new technology more widely. This will undoubtedly make future mortgage applications smoother, safer, and more accessible for lenders, brokers, and homebuyers alike.

This assessment is echoed by the Government who announced plans in September to update existing legislation to enable digital ID to be used as widely as possible in all sectors throughout the UK.

Digital ID allows progress to be achieved in spite of social distancing regulations

Put simply, a digital identity, or ‘digital ID’, is a means of virtually confirming an individual is who they say they are and can be used in various online activities including, since September 2020, a property purchase. The adoption of digital ID verification procedures has been essential to the survival of the mortgage industry throughout 2020, as restrictions have forced many out of the office and into remote work. Digital ID allows lenders to verify the identity of a homebuyer at any place, without the need for a face-to-face meeting, making ID verification easier and more accessible. Throughout the pandemic, brokers and homebuyers have therefore depended on online verification methods to prevent applications from stalling or missing key deadlines.

Boost to efficiency helps to offset challenges caused by the recent spike in demand

Providing homebuyers with the opportunity to verify their identity online and outside of traditional working hours allows for progress to be achieved around-the-clock. This flexible process also eliminates the need for a physical meeting, leaving the adviser with more time to progress the application. Therefore, the adoption of digital ID verification procedures has increased the efficiency of remote and flexible work for many firms.

This is fantastic news as the increased productivity allows brokers and lenders to cope better with the spike in demand that we have witnessed in the UK mortgage industry in Q3 and Q4 so far, particularly since the introduction of the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday on 8th July. This temporary tax break will end on 31st March 2021, therefore it is essential that professionals have access to tools that can increase the efficiency of the application process to help as many homebuyers to qualify as possible.

A safer and more secure future

Digital ID not only makes the mortgage journey faster but also more secure, as physical ID is more susceptible to misuse.

Notably, in November Smartr365 became the only mortgage platform to integrate Digidentity’s digital ID verification service, allowing brokers to remotely request information from the client before seamlessly verifying their credentials. The end-to-end platform carries the client’s verified ID throughout the entire application, using the same verification process as the UK Government’s GOV.UK Verify service. This is a key breakthrough for fintech and the mortgage industry, which is expected to be imitated by other businesses in 2021.

It is important that the mortgage industry capitalises on this momentum if we are to make the application process smoother, safer, and more efficient than ever. Over recent months it has become increasingly evident that the future of mortgage applications is digital, so let’s embrace it, to achieve a smoother process for all.

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