Buying products online seems the norm these days but there are a few exceptions. In particular, the purchase of certain financial products where, ultimately, the need to prove your identity involves completing the final part of the transaction offline. That’s a kludge if ever there was one.
It also represents an opportunity, one that miiCard, which soft launched this month, is grabbing with both hands. Founded by Canadian entrepreneur James Varga, who is also the COO of Money Dashboard, the service offers consumers a “digital passport” designed to be compliant with regulation around the sale of financial products and the need to prove your identity.
The problem that miiCard is trying to tackle isn’t just one affecting consumers. According to the company, between 70% and 90% of online financial transactions are abandoned when the customer is asked to complete the transaction offline by taking their driving license, passport or utility bill into their local bank branch. That’s a lot of potential business lost.
The way miiCard works is based on how much information (and validation) the user provides in which they build up what the company is calling an associated “Level Of Assurance”. This process is managed by the user via the miiCard website, with a certain “Level Of Assurance” required to purchase various financial products and to maximise the benefit of having a miiCard. That level is predetermined by each vendor just like it is in the offline world. It also means that the vendor can ensure that they comply with the regulations or standards that govern their industry, such as when a consumer applies for a new credit card, bank account, loan or even a mobile phone contract.
Of course, any solution ultimately requires industry-wide support. It would be a further kludge if consumers were asked to sign up to competing “digital passport” services for the widest compatibility. On that note, miiCard says that it’s already working with Microsoft and SecureWorks, both of which have been “actively involved in bringing the solution to the marketplace.”
miiCard is currently angel funded but is in the process of seeking a VC series A round.