Why be concerned with the European Digital Identity and wallets?
Someone asked me that question recently and my brief response was: ‘because ‘Europe’ will make this mandatory for government and regulated industries by 2025.
That means that if you’re a government body, or bank, or insurance company, or hospital, or energy company, telco or any other regulated organization, then you have to accept the (appointed) wallets of European citizens by 2024, when a citizen decides to use that wallet for authentication or sharing of data. As more detailed here in a Dutch article.
A wallet for each European citizen
Every member state needs to appoint (declare) one or more wallets that can be used throughout Europe by their citizens to login online and share data.
‘Europe’ does this to provide every member state citizen with a safe and convenient way to identify online and to share personal information (data) with whom and when they choose. The citizen is in control of their data and where it is shared. And this wallet is free of charge for the citizen (there are obviously ongoing discussions on who should pay, but that probably will be the companies that … accept the wallets’ use).
The European wallet relevant to businesses
For these ‘accepting companies’ (the relying parties) the wallet has benefits: you don’t have to store all citizen (personal) information anymore, you’ll get the latest and most up to date version of the data and it is digital, so no more paperwork.
The potential of the European digital identity
The citizen will enjoy a free wallet. And many organizations accepting the use of that wallet, which also means less paperwork for the individual themselves. And this wallet will work throughout Europe, renting a car in Germany (drivers license? Identity? Insurance history?) or booking a hotelroom in Spain (identity? account information? 18+ check if you order liquor). The citizen can also store other data in the wallet, from organizations that are not obliged to participate, but would like to. So the wallet can become quite ‘thick’, with items like nationality, identity, bank information, loyalty cards, insurance cards, and many more.
So it pays to consider this development now, if you weren’t already doing that. Consumers already have wallets, as part of their use of tech platforms (Apple, Google, …) or as individual solutions (Schluss, IRMA, Datakeeper and many others). It may not be necessary to do something with that right away, but be aware that developments are going to come fast. And once the customer figures out that this is easy, he or she will include that in their expectations, which you will need to meet. Or they might switch. To be an active anticipator and avoid a moment in 2025 thinking: perhaps I should figure out how this wallet-stuff works.
For more details on this development you can for example read this report.