With countries around the world in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is promoting the use of digital identity technology to securely enable remote financial services onboarding and transactions.
FATF, the global standard setter for combating money laundering and terrorism financing, says it "encourages the fullest use of responsible digital customer onboarding and delivery of digital financial services in light of social distancing measures," during the crisis.
The task force argue that fintech provides "significant opportunities" to manage some Covid-19-related risks and says technology should be used to the "fullest extent possible".
While the pandemic has brought the benefits of digital identity into sharp relief, FATF has been pushing the issue for some time. In November it issued a guidance paper urging FS firms to to get ready for the digital ID revolution, which it claimed had reached an "inflection point".
Now, it says that its standards allow firms to take "simplified" due diligence measures if they identify lower risks.
"The FATF calls on countries to explore using digital identity, as appropriate, to aid financial transactions while managing ML/TF risks during this crisis," says a statement.
In the UK, the FCA has told financial services firms that they can ask clients to submit selfies to identify themselves. Companies can also accept scanned documentation over email and send codes to customer addresses to validate account access.
Meanwhile, the FATF is warning firms to be vigilant as crooks take advantage of the Covid-19 situation to carry out scams, including advertising and trafficking in counterfeit medicines, offering fraudulent investment opportunities, and engaging in phishing schemes that prey on virus-related fears.