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Belgium developing digital wallet for online government services, UK could follow

Belgium developing digital wallet for online government services, UK could follow

Belgium has announced the launch of a digital wallet for people living in the country to access government services through a single online platform. The digital wallet would be used to bundle all official documents, according to The Brussels Times, and allow people to authenticate their digital identity through their smartphones.

A new digital ministry will be created by the government to oversee the project, and State Secretary for Digitalization Mathieu Michel has said the system will integrate the existing systems used by government departments. A budget of €50 million (roughly US$58.2 million) has been set to implement the digital wallet and platform.

The digital wallet will not be mandatory, but offered as an option for simplifying digital processes, from driver’s license applications to building permits, and mitigating government complexity.

The government has not yet specified whether the digital wallet will be developed as a mobile app, a website or both.

The system is expected to reach operation in 2023.

UK public supports similar step

Meanwhile in the UK, a majority of survey respondents say their level of confidence in access to public services online has increased over the past two years, reports UKAuthority, but most want a government digital identity solution to reduce the number of steps necessary.

The survey was commissioned by BT, and showed 60 percent are more confidant in online service access, with 75 percent expressing comfort with using their smartphone to access digital public services.

Online public services are generally not used frequently, however, as close of half of UK citizens with full internet access use them a few times a year at most. The report suggests this limited engagement may be due to variable quality across services. A third of respondents reported using an online service that is not fully digitized, with some requiring paper forms to be submitted, and 15 percent report needing multiple attempts with the same service to perform a single action.

A government digital ID is supported by 73 percent of respondents.

The survey also showed some people are more confidant in the government’s ability to handle people’s data than before the pandemic, but 80 percent would like greater transparency around online data.

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