Author: Geraldine Critchley

Swisscom Trust Services and Intrum enable auto-identification for everyone in Switzerland

After adjustments in the Technical Administrative Regulations (TAV) to the Federal Electronic Signature Law in Switzerland (ZertES), which became effective on 15 March of this year, remote identification is now also permitted in Switzerland. In the EU, such procedures have already been in practical use.

Anyone who wants to sign digitally must first be identified and registered. Whereas a physical presence has been necessary in most cases in Switzerland, the revised TAV allows simplified remote identification procedures. Against this background, Swisscom Trust Services has expanded its Smart Registration Services (SRS) in cooperation with the financial services provider Intrum to include a new procedure that allows legally secure identification through auto-identification – at any time without waiting times and direct exchange with an agent. The SRS is a leading offering from Swisscom Trust Services that makes modern registration methods readily available via standardized interfaces – through SRS VideoIdent CH and SRS AutoIdent CH. The SRS aims to make identification and registration secure, fast, and easy for everyone in almost all circumstances.

The extended choice for users

Currently, many remote identification procedures use solutions that require an NFC chip. Among the advantages are that they can be used around the clock, lower costs for implementation, and a high degree of security – since, with NFC chips, data is only exchanged within a spatially small field – during identification, for example, with a corresponding card reader or a smartphone. In Switzerland, however, such chips are currently only used in passports. With the new solution from Swisscom Trust Services and Intrum, on the other hand, all that is needed is a Swiss or EU identity card, or more precisely, a passport from Switzerland or another country. This means that Swiss citizens who do not have a passport and foreigners without an NFC chip identity document can also use these procedures. Trained agents carry out manual checks on the background. This means that purely visual documents are also permitted here because these verifications prevent criminals from exploiting the procedure and identifying themselves with foreign or invented identities, for example. This means that any person resident in Switzerland with a valid identity document can register online without significant hurdles.

Users who want to be identified for the signature services of Swisscom Trust Services can choose between an agent-based and a new automated procedure.

In the first case, a classic video call is made between the customer and an employee at an Intrum call center in Switzerland. During the video call, the agents check whether the information provided matches that on the document shown and whether the photo and security features are genuine. They also use targeted questions to determine whether a person is speaking live – rather than recording. The call center is open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; users can choose to go through the process in German, English, French, or Italian.

In the new automated process offered as an alternative, the process steps are the same: the customer merely goes through them automatically and does not interact personally with an agent. Artificial intelligence (AI) already takes over numerous checks. Intrum employees only become active after the automated process has been completed and once again manually confirm the accuracy of the AI-supported check. This is mandatory in Switzerland for documents without an NFC chip.

Depending on personal preferences or the current situation, users can now decide whether to go through the automated process or speak to an agent in person.

“For us, it is important to meet customers where they are and how they wish to be met. That’s why we are constantly working to develop further and redevelop identification methods that meet customers’ wishes and needs,” explains Nik Fuchs, CEO at Swisscom Trust Services AG. “Thanks to this ambition, we now have the widest range of modern identification methods – and a reliably functioning service chain underpins them.”

Simple, intuitive process

Alternatively, new customers who want to identify themselves for qualified electronic signatures at Swisscom Trust Services can use a voucher on the Swisscom Trust Services website to access Intrum’s identification service.

After the auto-identification has been successfully completed and the new user's identity has been confirmed, his verified data is imported into the Swisscom database, which allows multiple uses. The captured evidence is valid until any badge expiry date or a maximum of five years.

With the expansion of the registration variants through auto-identification, a further milestone in simplification is reached – and thus, a significant contribution is made to the widespread use of digital signatures in Switzerland. Swisscom Trust Services supports this progress with the continuous expansion of its SRS and cooperation with many partners to develop solutions that enable secure, fast, and convenient implementation of the new identification methods.

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