For millions of people, the best form of ID is a digital ID. Digital ID is a verified and secure form of ID — installed on or accessed from a computer or mobile device which a person can use to prove that they are who they say they are.

Consumers can use digital IDs to sign up for and access online services, such as digital bank accounts. But they can also use digital ID to get access to offline services that might otherwise have asked for a passport or some other form of conventional ID.

Increasingly, digital IDs are accepted by a wide range of service providers, including banks, government services, health and education providers, immigration services, e-commerce merchants and more.

Using an easy-to-obtain but secure and verified digital ID helps more people than ever to gain access to services that improve their lives. In Africa, for instance, two thirds of adults now have a smartphone. For these people, digital ID is not just the easiest kind to carry — because users always have their phone with them anyway. With the right digital document, they can cross a border, open an e-commerce account and make a mobile money transaction and more.

Benefits of digital IDs include their ability, by adding extra layers of security and verification, to provide fast, verified and secure access to important services. They foster trust between citizens and service-providers by giving the former fast access and a guarantee of data privacy and the latter confidence that they are complying with anti-money-laundering (AML) and other regulations.

Because they are convenient and easy to use, digital IDs improve the customer experience. And by making access to vital services and economic opportunities — for instance, online education, online marketplaces and so on — quicker and easier to obtain with a high degree of security, the uptake of digital IDs can also help to foster social and economic growth.

A recent study by McKinsey found that reliable digital ID — as a facilitator of migration, labour market mobility and economic participation — had the ability to create the economic value equivalent of 6 percent of GDP in emerging economies.

For example, the global value of remittance flows, sent by migrant workers back to their home countries, is US$726 billion. For many countries, this huge sum of money is crucial to their economic development. For each 10% increase in remittances, a country’s GDP grows by almost 1%.

But to realise these benefits, and give themselves a chance at better lives, migrants need to be able to move freely. And for that to happen, they need reliable forms of identification. Only with widely recognised forms of ID can workers move, inside or outside the country, open bank accounts, get jobs and do all the other things they need to do, to take advantage of economic opportunities.

At FacePhi, we strongly believe and support the right of individuals to exercise their identity as a means to access basic services, while protecting the privacy of their personal data. We collaborate with customers, partners and governments to facilitate and accelerate citizens’ registration for a digital ID to reap all the benefits of government services and inclusive societies in general.

Only with digital ID that is reliable, runs on the widest range of devices and offers an unparalleled user experience can we hope to unlock the full range of economic, social and personal benefits.

Find out more about digital onboarding and identity verification from FacePhi.