eIDAS - Enabling Banking Without Borders

by Gaurav Sharma (guest) on 18. October 2017

The European Single Market has made it possible for large companies and small businesses to freely access one of the biggest unified markets in the world.

This allows for more resources to be spent on innovation, product development, improving  service standards rather than on redundant regulatory compliance across various national jurisdictions. eIDAS brings this concept to digital identification and trust services and has the potential to revolutionize products which rely on these services.

Costly compliance

A prime example of an industry which benefits immensely from eIDAS is banking and finance sector. Banks have to comply with some of the most stringent regulatory guidelines in the corporate world, which is justified considering the impact a single non-compliant client can have. However, this also means that banks spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to comply with all the individual KYC norms, verifying corporate identity papers, checking multiple layers of shareholding for beneficial ownership details, performing checks against blacklisted individuals and companies, checking for any sanctioned-country linkages and complying with multiple agency requests based all over the world. All of these checks are undoubtedly necessary, but they usually lead to delays that can adversely impact both a financial institution and its retail/ corporate customers.

This is one area where a reliable, pan-European digital identification and trust service would help greatly. Individual countries have been experimenting with such things, but eIDAS aims to bring it to an international level by allowing for identification and signature data to be shared across national boundaries and financial jurisdictions in Europe.

New Call-to-actionDigital-only banks

Maintaining a vast branch or ATM network is obviously a large cost for banks and something which in most cases does not justify the investment. This situation gets even more complicated when you have to operate in a foreign country which considerably increases your compliance cost, without necessarily providing a commensurate return for many years. eIDAS allows for all banks in participating countries to use a shared system for identification and signature, thus removing some of the compliance redundancy and allowing for a digital only strategy.

The kind of cost and time savings that this would allow for is pretty impressive on its own - and that is without taking into account the ease-of-use factor and the increased security. Eventually, you would be able to open a bank account in any European country online with just a single set of digital identification. This applies to non-banking services as well and even public services provided by the local governments.

A pan-European digital identification service undoubtedly makes life easier for retail customers by allowing them to opt for a bank or product in another country which offers them a better deal or service standard. This already sounds fantastic but it gets even better if you are corporate entity or even a small business that does business in multiple countries. No longer would you have to wait for weeks to get your local bank account open or trade documents processed. International trade and overseas payments would become more seamless and the true potential for exporters/ importers is yet to be discovered.


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 References and Further Reading

 Image: Europe, courtesy of Charles Clegg, Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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