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Physical documents still crucial amid slow transition to digital IDs: Regula study

Physical documents still crucial amid slow transition to digital IDs: Regula study

A recent study commissioned by Regula has concluded that digital IDs are not yet poised to replace physical documents in the near future. Despite the global rise in automation and biometric technologies for remote identity verification, the reliance on traditional physical ID documents remains strong.

The Forrester Consulting study, titled “The New Imperative: Digital IDs,” highlights the methods companies use for identity verification. The findings reveal that 46 percent of organizations still manually verify documents, even in remote settings such as video interviews or when submitting passport scans. Some companies have automated this process, while others have adopted more secure authentication methods, including biometrics (54 percent) and multi-factor authentication (49 percent). Additionally, 44 percent of companies rely on third-party services, which often use physical ID documents for comprehensive identity checks.

The study underscores the continued indispensability of physical identity documents. This reliance is particularly pronounced in industries with high-security demands, such as aviation (63 percent) and finance (44 percent). Countries with stringent regulatory frameworks, including the United States (50 percent) and Germany (49 percent), also maintain a strong preference for manual checks.

Regula recently updated its platform to provide support for ID documents from every country and region in the world.

The path to widespread digital ID adoption faces several hurdles. A major obstacle is the absence of a general legislative framework for digital identity proofing, as 74 percent of respondents highlighted the need for global digital ID standards and legislation to ensure interoperability across borders.

Despite these barriers, there is optimism about the future of digital IDs as 72 percent of surveyed stakeholders believe that integrating digital IDs will help develop a robust global digital economy.

Ihar Kliashchou, chief technology officer at Regula, emphasizes the transformative potential of digital IDs. “Digital ID represents a significant change in how we approach identity verification, offering a brand-new dimension to our existing frameworks.

“However, the introduction of Digital ID as it now stands will not disrupt the IDV market. The transition to digital IDs must be ubiquitous and is currently hampered by political, economic, and technological challenges. Until a complete ICAO standard for Digital ID is developed and adopted worldwide, physical documents will remain essential, especially during initial issuance stages.”

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