This post took me two days to write, but it’s too important to ignore. These barriers I face due to AML/FTA, credit and identity checks are excluding me from driving down costs, and not able to sign up for new products and services, since I don’t have driver license or passport, or the ones I do have, my 18+ Card and Birth Certificate, are not accepted even though they’re valid.
Feel free to split into topics, as this is very, very long. But if we’re going to build the next generation bank, we need a next generation inclusive, fully accessible identity verification system everyone can use with the device they have, their phone.
Here’s how it played out for me over the past few weeks. I have two stories in this post, only one is true, but they all link together and will make things secure and inclusive for all customers and businesses alike.
As new services come online, and if apps like CashApp and Venmu are to come to New Zealand, identity verification is a must, especially when it comes to AML/FTA regulations. This is currently done by a drivers license, passport, or birth certificate with only a hand full of places.
However most use drivers license as a means of verification, excluding people who don’t have those documents either as a matter of choice or disability.
RealMe was developped by DIA to enable online identity verification with Government services and organisations, yet very few have taken it up. When I changed banks I had to go into the branch with my 18+ card and birth certificate to do the identity verification process. When I wanted to get a phone plan with my prior telco, drivers license is the only way to pass the online identity verification.
Sadly it hasn’t become the service for the modern age, while other countries enable online identity verification, and DIA has dropped the ball with RealMe in a big, big way!
When you open an account with a bank, set up a postpay Phone Plan, Internet, Power, Buy Now, Pay Later, ETC, an identity, credit, and in 2023, affordability checks are required. Sending documents via email is insecure, and banks are shutting branches in more places. By only having drivers license for verification, companies are excluding people from independantly having choices to move if they find a better deal.
As a blind person, I’m being excluded due to the license only verification. While passport and birth certificate can be used to verify identity, few companies do it, and it’s a mamual process which could take days, by then the deal is gone.
This article from a blind person’s lived experience when it comes to the license only issue from an employment view, is what I faced a few weeks ago when I wanted to change ISP:
I’m going to preffice this.
Employers may be missing out on disabled people with drive. That is, disabled people who have the job skills with the tools they use, but the apploication says a driver license is required, even though public transport exists to travel.
Similarly, businesses are missing out on customers who don’t! No license, no deal! no questions, no appeal!
Debut Identity will be the RealMe that should’ve been, allowing anyone to proove their identity both online and offline, and for AML, identity, credit, and affordability checks to be performed with a simple, free-flowing, authentication process.
Can you guess which out of the three stories are true? I’ll give the answer in a separate comment.
I have to change my phone number and email because I’m being stalked. I’ve created a new email address, now I have to set up a new number with my telco. I update my info in Debut Identity once the new number and email are working successfully.
All my contacts get a push notification informing I’ve changed my number and email. To ensure it’s from me instead of an imposter, my photo I’ve set in my phone contacts, and my official verified Debut Identity photo, is also displayed.
Each contact has to confirm the change within a 48 hour window, or the token will expire.
Once each contact has confirmed the change, I accknowledge receipt and the token is revoked.
This has several actions and is long.
I have to move in six months, so I have to find another place to live. If I find something I like, I ring the person to see when a viewing time is available.
Once we agree on a date and time, several things happen here:
First, I authenticate with Debut and Landlord to give the information needed, name, number, address on my end. I get the recipricle information from Landlord, as well as date and time of appointment, which are added to our calendars.
Second, I need to get to the location at the time agreed. I then authenticate with the ride share platform of choice Uber, Ola, Didi, and/or Zoomy. I then review everything to ensure it’s correct, pick up time is set to the arrival time of 5 minutes before appointment to give leeway for traffic.
Everything is all good, so I tap Authorise. A Uber is booked at the specified date and time. After my appointment, I tap the Take Me Home button, and an Uber is booked to get home. Payment is taken from my Uber bucket from my Transport category.
Three months later I get a call from the Landlord to say I’ve got the place. I’ve also looked at other places, but they weren’t suitable for me, so those tokens got revoked.
Because I’d revoked the other tokens for the prior viewings, those Landlords don’t have access to my information, but one is still given, as how I got the call.
Me and Landlord then arrange payment of bond. I then give Landlord authentication for bond, which is fron the WINZ grant, then the rent is taken from my WINZ Benefit when I move in
Next, a move in date is set. Once keys are handed back to my old place and bond is ok such as no damage, the current rent token is revoked and re-established with the new Landlord after the return of bond, since it can’t be transfered in case of descreppencies. In other words, you can’t transfer bond from one landlord to the other, which is a pain since my rent is paid direct from WINZ.
I’ve asked a friend if she could help me move. Because she’s in my contacts, she’ll get a direct authentication from me with the details added to her calendar, she just has to authenticate the request and no need for tokens.
If I chose a moving company, I’d authenticate the information needed to complete the move, then the token be revoked once I’ve moved in.
My Power and Internet are already connected on move in day and the tokens from my old place revoked, because they have ongoing access, all I had to do is add a move request to the token before I moved. Since I no longer pay for hot water, payment is then revoked after settlment, with the remainder sent to my Debut account.
Now the move is complete, time to update address. Since Power and Internet has access to the new token, all I have to do is send update requests to who require an address, NZ Post and my online shopping Countdown, New World, Pac N Save, Amazon, etc. In other words, change address once, update everywhere! Contacts automatically get the change directly but still need to confirm as stated above unless I’ve granted tokenless authentication, which is reserved for close friends and family.
- My final story is the reason I’m angry with DIA and the non-future-proof of RealMe and I really want Debut and platforms like Akahu to address when CRD and Open data/finance APIs roll out widely. Also company names will be mentioned to illustrate, unless mods want to cut them out to protect privacy, but here is the issue I’m still facing in 2022 as a blind person on why the current situation is excluding and could be illegal under the Human Rights Act due to you can’t discriminate against disability from accessing goods and services, like getting a better deal like everyone else.
Current Approach: I don’t have the license to drive down costs, because I can’t get the paper to prove it’s me
In November 2020, Spark announced a deal with Sky to bundle Spark Sport and Sky Sport Now, but it was only available on contract plans. I wanted this deal for the upcoming cricket season, since coverage was split between the two, and at $50 a month was a good deal, since Spark Sport was $25 and Sky Sport Now $40 per month, which this deal was a significant saving. I get SS at $20 per month on my Spark bil, a $5 saving. The SSN ended in June 2022, which saved me about $450 over 18 months, enough to get SSN for a year.
The issue I faced was to sign up with Spark they needed a mobile number to innitiate the process, which I really didn’t want to do, since I’ve been with 2degrees since their founding in 2009, with a year break on Skinny to play the market, only to return to 2D because I felt at home there. In other words, no mobile, no sign up, so I was forced to say goodbye to a provider I was with at it’s founding.
On the Project a few weeks ago someone mentioned it would be better separating services, which is why my power is with Powershop. Unlike Internet is now a fixed, since plans give unlimited data, that is no caps on gigs as is the landscape ten years ago when NZ had no fibre, power is a variable cost so I keep it separate.
A few weeks ago I checked NZ Compare to see what deals are out there to unbundle, because I’m putting about $80 a week to cover the Spark bundle, which is 30% of my weekly income.
While usable with my screen-reader, finding deals is a hit and miss afair, even though there are deals on the home page I can get to.
but comparing deals with what I currently have is next to impossible, because the list isn’t able to be read with my screen-reader programme. Plus, a credit/identity check is done at the end instead of the beginning, and most use driver license for verification, excluding me from making a choice from those who do.
To commence the deal with Compass I had to pay a $25 card authorisation fee, which verifies that the card is valid. Yet this fee was disclosed as the last part of sign up, which I refused to pay, since most card authorisations are $1 at the most. Plus, the router they were going to send me was a Deco, which isn’t accessible with VoiceOver on iOS, so I had to walk away.
A few days later I got an email regarding deals for Spring. I deleted the email since I walked away from the deal, but they sent another a day after that, so I unsubscribed.
So I get spammed even though I walked away from the deal, which is not good enough. If I walk away from a deal, I mean it, so Compass had no right to recontact me regarding further deals.
Debut Identity Approach: a fully accessible, secure, inclusive, identity verification system
Because we’re rethinking banking, each customer needs to verify their identity first. to ensure everyone is able to join, the following must be taken into account:
A. Put Debut Bank and Debut Identity into a separate part of the app. Identity verification is a one-off process. ASB has two apps for this process, but I’d like everything in one app for simplicity.
B. Support all identification. 18+, Comunity Services / Gold Card, Tertiary, Birth Certificate, Passport, Driver License. If you don’t have those documents, you can designate a family member or trusted friend. Since most people will want to switch to Debut from their old bank, all you have to do is authenticate a one-off token and take a selfie, since identity is already verified when you joined your old bank, saving sending information over unsecure channels. For customers who this is their first account and not moving from a traditional bank, Debut Bank set up will not show until Debut Identity is set up first.
Once identity verification is complete, it’s time to set up the banking part of Debut. However the previous token was a one-off, so you’ll have to reauthenticate with your old bank to begin the process.
Once the banking part of Debut is set up, such as collating income and expenses, it’s time to set up buckets. That will be discussed once the app goes beta. New customers won’t have any buckets to set up until they specify income sources.
But identity verification and getting access to the best deals is the reason why I wrote this post. Using my verified Debut Identity, I should be able to:
Go to the NZ Compare suite of sites then authenticate, E.g. Broadband Compare.
Search for a deal using criteria based on the plan I’m on, speed, or if I can upgrade to Hyperfiber. Access to provider name won’t be given to Broadband Compare to prevent spying or favouriteism.
Compare bundles VS separate, how much would I pay bundled against separate. If those plans include Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, provider must discount that add-on off as if paid separately, E.G. I’m paying $90 a month on Spark which includes Netflix, with Spark Sport and Spotify as extras. If I decide to go with them but pay each as separate the discounts must be reflected. If an add-on is discontinued as happened with Sky Sport Now the price must also reflect that. Bundling with mobile and power I find two confusing, and I’d prefer to keep fixed and variables separate.
Once I find a deal I’m happy with, I want to either sign up now, or chat to a customer service representative to negotiate a better deal. If I choose the Sign Up Now button, any amounts on the old bill are settled using my Telco bucket and the tokens revoked so the old provider can no longer contact me. If the latter, I then grant pomition to read past transactions of how much I’m paying per month on my current plan VS the one I’m switching to, plus any add-ons. When I’m happy with negotiations, the representative will ask if I want to sign up now, or hold for up to 7 days, either to cool off or if I find a better offer, which I can securely bring to the negotiating table to strech my money further. These negotiations used to happen with cash discounts, but brings it into the 21st cashless era, meaning I get a plan not advertised to the public.
If I initiated the deal on my computer, the representative puts a QR code to scan with the Debut App , taking me to the Authentication page in a new window. I check the checkbox to confirm I want to switch after reading what will happen, then press Continue. If on my phone, the representative sends a ping to the Debut App that action is required, since there is no way to scan a QR code on the phone you’re on. To ensure I don’t lose the chat, it’s minimised at the bottom of the screen, while the Authentication page has focus.
I’ll get a final warning asking if I really want to switch. Typing NO gives an absolute final warning the switch will be canceled, and there’s a point of no return since the prior deal and chats will expire, so I need to be very, very careful what I type in here and not to hit the wrong button, which I’ve done on several ocasions!
Because I do want to switch, I type YES, then press Continue.
The switch will take place in the background, since identity is already verified, and credit/afordability checks performed at the initial Authentication stage. The ONT will reconfigre for the new provider and plan, the old tokens revoked and new ones authorised. If I need to change anything on my router, a push notification from the router’s app will take me through how to resolve it.
If upgrading to Hyperfiber, a new ONT will have to be installed as the old ones don’t support it. I then need to authenticate with Chorus to tell when I’ll be home so they can install the new ONT. I give permition to info needed to perform the install and who the installer is, which is added to my calendar. All authentications will be done on one screen to prevent doubl ups, E.G. Chorus authentication will only occur if I chose Hyperfiber and have the old ONT.
Access apps like CashApp and Venmu. During the pandemic, I discovered lots of new artists including catching up with a friend who I used to see at QF on Queen St who’s now living in DC, but I couldn’t donate because those apps aren’t available in New Zealand.
Integrate with apps such as Up Bank and Revolut while traveling for local rates. Those apps are in the NZ app store, but I can’t use Up because an Australian number and address is required. Revolut is in beta in NZ, but I need to verify my identity. Banks are ripping off consumers on their travels because a higher exchange rate is charged.
Access local goods and services. Tourists are being charged higher prices for local immenities, which to me is a tourest tax. Australia has local prices for theme parks, so I’d be charged local pricing and access to local immenities if I used Australian currency. This is something Albanese government could look at to strengthen AU/NZ ties.
No more roaming. Ditch roaming on your plan, use Debut Identity to get a virtual local number to access local deals specifically for short term stay. Back in the day, overseas students would get a local SIM card during their stay, only for the number to be abbandoned when they leave New Zealand. eSIM technology is rolling out, but at a slow pace. Some people use their NZ SIM and local number on eSIM, but you’re paying international roaming rates to call home. You can ring out on your virtual number locally where you’re traveling, and international calls are placed over the Internet, like WhatsApp, Messenger and Viber, saving roaming charges. Anyone remember Viber?
Have plans in place for couples. Getting with a significant other would be great, but it could get messy if things go South. Easy revoke unbundling access, so I take back what I came in with.
Regulate buy now, pay later services. BNPL has been the talk of the town since 2020 with apps such as Afterpay, Laybuy, Klana and Zip. the government will regulate this area by requiring afordability and higher credit checks. Debut should go further by requiring BNPL to be a part of a paid offering, and will be out of reach of new users for 100 days or those with bad credit and low scores.
Ensure people with low income and/or credit scores can still access esential services. These people will be vulnerable since the’ll be limited to prepay offerings, yet the best deals are on postpay, and a black mark stained my rating for five years after the debt was cleared. Today they’re regarded essential, so a set number of deals are set for those people, are not advertised to the public, and closely monitered by Debut staff. Those buckets can only be set up in conjunction with Debut staff and a service such as Enable Me, Christians Against Poverty, and Auckland Action Against Poverty.
Let me use my WINZ Green Card online to purchase food. A few times I’ve had to sacrifice food or I’d have my Phone and Internet disconnected, so I’ve had to apply for a food grant. The only way I could use it is during my home help support session. Unfortunately I’m going to have to apply for another grant since both phone and water are overdue.
I want to add my WINZ Green Card to Debut, then use the Countdown app as usual to shop for delivery.
Note to be aware: I can’t buy alcohol with this card, so that category and searching for it will be disabled, as well as Lotto and gift cards.
Gambling monitering. The first 100 days will have gambling monitering on by default. Lotto and TAB are the only officially legal online ganbling outlets in New Zealand, so if gambling transactions exist at transfer from old bank within the timeframe, a block is placed until verified Lotto and TAB accounts are linked to Debut. Anyone at high risk will not be allowed to use Debut to ganble, but can still go to a club or pub. To use Debut at a cassino I must be a member with a valid action card, even if not going to gamble. Attempting to use Debut at a cassino without a linked card would result in action by Debut and the cassino, which could result in API access revoked. Because Kiwis lost over $400 M on offshore gambling, and this is a grey area since NZ cassinos had to set up their online entity in Malta, only TAB and Lotto will be permitted with Debut. If I held an overseas account such as William Hill, Bet 365 or TAB Corp whilst living overseas, I’d have to get special permition from both entities to see if the API’s will work outside the country where the agency operates, which is highly unlikely since online betting crosses many jurisdictions that are legal in one area but illegal in another, like Las Vegas you can bet, but online betting is illegal in Maryland and Connecticut.
Draft Kings is a form of fantacy play in the US where I pick my team to win cash. But I have concerns because this could lead to a live gambling habbit if uncontrolled, which is why I Can’t play it in NZ.
Also I have concerns regarding pretend cassino games, which are accessible to children, and long game exposure over many years could turn pretend virtual cassino play into a real money gambling habit.
Purchasing alcohol. As with gambling, comes with booze. The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 states it’s illegal to sell, even attempt to sell, alcohol to intoxicated and underage persons. Unannounced police stings have busted several outlets for attempting to sell to minors.
With UberEats delivering alcohol, people can get booze on demand, even at 10:00 PM.
I even buy beer with my online shopping sometimes. Alcohol cannot be purchased after 10:00 PM, but when I go to the Countdown website I can still search for and add it to my cart for next day delivery.
To purchase alcohol, even online grocery shopping and UberEats using Debut, a three part ID check is performed, an attempt, the purchase, then at delivery. Note this is different to the online identity verification I’m discussing, as my physical ID must be cited the same as if I purchased at a bottle store. This ID check will not have ongoing authentication, so I must scan my ID each time. It’s a slow process, but it’s necessary to ensure alcohol laws are followed the same online as is offline.
When I open the Alcohol category, and or try to search for it, the app UberEats, Countdown etc will notify Debut of a restricted purchase before the content is shown. I’ll have to scan my physical ID, 18+ Card to gain access to the alcohol, as if I bought it in store. Warning: exiting the category and performing a different search will revoke the check, so I’ll have to rescan my ID again.
At the payment screen, another check is performed before completing the purchase, as the first scan was an attempt.
The final check is on delivery to ensure I’m not intoxicated. Even after the final ID scan, if I am found to be intoxicated, the alcohol part of the purchase will be revoked and a strike against my name. A second strike will result in a notification warning, strike three could result in a 30 day online bann, and a fourth will result in a 30 day complete alcohol bann. Noone wants a fifth strike, as that could be grounds for entire alcohol revokation.
Venues also face the same rules, resulting in the same banns as individuals, as well as managers and bar tenders could face harsher strikes, resulting in revokation of business accounts and restrictions on personal accounts of those, and prosicution. Bars and bottle stores in Auckland was ordered closed due to a police sting of this nature.
Integrate loyalty programmes, lower redemption threshold, and give usable cashback offers quickly. It’s so frustrating I have to swipe my Countdown Onecard in store, but online it’s already there at checkout. I face the same problem at New World, I still have to scan my Clubcard, even though I pay using Apple Pay. New World Dollars can’t be used online.
There is no way to add my One and Club cards to Apple Wallet to claim the reward in New Zealand, yet some US chains have Apple Pay promotions.
I want to add my loyalty cards to Debut, then at checkout, just pay and I’ll get the reward if eligible when shopping in store and online. In the case of New World, I want to use my New World Dollars online.
I’d also like to be able to shop for Debut only deals, filtering out everything else from the online store.
Some murchants offer cashback deals, yet until now they were limited to specific banks and credit cards. An app called Dosh have launched their Dosh Card, bringing cash back rewards to more users. But there’s a catch, cashback is paid after 60 days from each transaction, and GST, bag and delivery fees don’t count. I’ve done four transactions already, but I’ll be waiting until January at the least to see any reward. Offer ends 30 November 2022.
As for redemption I have to spend $2000 at Countdown, 1 point = $1, just for a tiny $15 reward, the cost of online delivery. This is not fare, and I feel reward schemes are just a waste of money and time due to high redemption rates and worthless payouts accumulated over years beeing lost due to expirey.
Loyalty should be hedged at a useable rate, so if I spend $2000 at Countdown, 25% - 50% should be loaded onto my Onecard each quarter, so I can use during the Christmas and New Year periods. Any unused amounts roll over to the next quarter. Government is looking into gift card expirey, Countdown and New World Dollars must be treated equal.
So my grocery bill averages around $400 a month, $100 a week, or $5200 a year. Calculate it out E.g. every three months at 50%, I want to convert my points into currency to use at the supermarket I choose, in other words, complete One Card rewards across all supermarkets.
Securely wipe all traces after death. Having to close accounts of loved ones who passed is very painful, since I lost Mum in 2011. I’ll designate in my will what’ll happen to savings, as well as Hatch and Sharesies investments. Ensure the exicuter of my wishes takes care of revoking all tokens and closing all accounts, as well as securely wiping all devices before recycling them. To ensure an imposter doesn’t steal my identity after death, for five years after I’m gone, Debut will notify the exicuter of attempts of people who share my name from proceeding further through the sign up process until their identity can be verified. This may also mean for the first three years at least, that person may have to reauthenticate with extra security which may require two or three layers of authentication as specified in Legacy settings of Debut. For high-profile accounts, this time may be extended out to 10 years.
With CDR and open banking coming in and API’s being built for the next generation on how we work, live and play both online and off, I believe we have just one shot to build it right the first time for all, since Australia’s attempt at online identity failed first time. Now open finance is taking off there at a rappid pace, and New Zealand can beat the Aussies by building it better.
Businesses and companies, please don’t wait. Technology is moving faster than governments can implement laws, which in technology terms will leave NZ decades behind.