Backlogs In Issuing Of ID Documents Creating Surge In Electronic ID Verification

Anti-money-laundering specialist SmartSearch, has stated that backlogs in issuing official ID documents has created a surge of interest in remote, document-free electronic ID verification.

The Passport Office and DVLA issued warnings of significant delays in issuing new ID or for those looking to renew their documents, due to reduced staffing which has resulted in a backlog of applications. The latest figures by the passport office showed that over 400,000 applications were trapped in the backlog, with some applicants waiting over two months.

Firms that must ensure clients provide their identity and are required to perform due diligence are reporting that the backlogs are affecting their businesses and transactions.

Under the Money Laundering Regulations, solicitors have a duty to identify their client’s identity before they are able to act for them. This became difficult during lockdown as clients found it difficult to have their ID certified or for the solicitor to certify the ID themselves. However, if a client has an expired form of ID this can cause further issues and delays, especially with the delays in renewing their ID.

Speaking to the Financial Reporter, John Dobson, chief executive of SmartSearch, commented:

“The backlogs at the Passport Office and DVLA are further indications of the way we’re all having to think again about how we conduct business in the wake of Covid-19.

“Earlier this week, the presenter of BBC Breakfast read out a comment from a viewer, saying that it’s impossible to buy a house without a valid passport. Thankfully, that isn’t the case.
“SmartSearch provides an easy way for firms to circumvent these problems – while also making the onboarding and KYC process quicker and simpler for both staff and customers.
“The advantages of electronic ID verification are clear, with or without Covid-19. It’s high time firms of all shapes and sizes embraced the benefits of going digital.”

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