Key, locks and now online security from High St shop

Are you a digital ID pioneer?

If you’re using SecureIdentity to access government services online you’re an early adopter of digital identity. Here’s a quick look at how everyday life might change as more people come to understand the benefits of secure digital ID.

Lot’s of people feel familiar with the idea of digital identity because they already do so many things online. They use the internet for: banking, shopping and even socialising. People have up to 27 secure logins that allow them to quickly prove who they are to the companies they regularly do business with.

Digital identity pioneers think differently about ID

This new generation of identity is different. It’s not about being able to prove who you are on a case-by-case basis, one day with your bank the next with your favourite online shopping site. It’s about being able to prove who you are quickly day-in, day-out.

When you have this advanced degree of digital identity it becomes much easier to do lots of important things quickly and easily. But it’s still very new, so sometimes it’s difficult to understand exactly how secure digital identities will improve things.  

Using SecureIdentity to access government services via GOV.UK Verify is an early example of what to expect. Instead of having to register for secure online access to one government service at a time, SecureIdentity lets you access lots of government services using exactly the same process.  But as the idea of digital identity grows what else can we expect to see change?

Timpson holds the key

The High Street retailer Timpson is one company that’s been early to see the potential that this new type of digital identity will bring.

It’s probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of digital identity services. But when you think about it, Timpson’s customers already go there for their passport pictures and key copies. And if you’re ever unfortunate enough to lock yourself out of your home, Timpson’s is probably the locksmith you trust to get you back in safely. They are the shop you go to for security and keeping things safe.

Over the past few months Timpson has been working with people in the digital identity industry to create and trial lots of the new digital services that citizens will soon need.

This is uncharted territory but founder John Timpson is very clear on how important he feels it is that individuals remain in control of their digital identities. It must be the individual’s choice as to who has access to their secure documents and data. Individuals must be able to share their verified documents easily with the people they want to see them whenever the need arises.

First, Timpson are looking at creating a face-to-face service where branch colleagues will help people through the process of creating their own digital Identity. Timpson believe that about 10% of people would rather go to the High Street to get personal help when they want to create their digital identity. So, as more people want digital identities, Timpson will be there to keep the process simple for those who’d rather not go online alone.

The family lockbox goes online

They’re also mindful that as more of our important documents go digital, people will want a safe place to store them. That’s why they’ve come up with the idea of an online digital vault. It’s a hyper secure online place where we can safely keep the digital versions of things like our birth certificate, marriage licence or mortgage agreement.

Since more of the important documents we’re issued with are going digital everyday, Timpson expects the digital alternative to become more popular. A digital vault will become the alternative to the family lockbox where most people store their important paper documents today.

Over the years, shops like Timpson have always been there to help us manage our everyday security needs. As these needs go digital, it’s only natural that all kinds of retailers start offering new products and services for the digital identity owning citizen.

3 really useful tips for filling in your self assessment tax return

Want to save yourself a £100 fine and further penalties by completing your Self Assessment tax return before the January 31st deadline?

We’ve scoured the internet to collate the three essential things you can do now to ease the burden of filing and submitting your return in good time. Read on to avoid a filing nightmare and  turn your Self Assessment tax task into a quick-click affair.

1. Go online to avoid a fine

Sadly, you’ve missed the deadline for filing a paper return. This was October 31st 2016 so now your only option is to create an online account. You have two choices: the old way and the new way.

The Old Way

The old way is to use the Government Gateway. You’ve probably heard of it already. Registering this way can take days because you have to wait for the post to receive your access code. But if you’re already registered with Government Gateway and have access to the Self Assessment service, this may be a good route for you.

The New Way

The new, straightforward and quick way to access Self Assessment (and other Government services) is to use GOV.UK Verify together with a certified identity provider like SecureIdentity. It takes 10 to 15 minutes. After registration with SecureIdentity you can begin filling in your self assessment tax return immediately.

You’ll need to choose a certified company to verify your identity at GOV.UK Verify. Have your  identity documents to hand (ie: your passport, driving licence and bank statements) and choose SecureIdentity when you’re asked to select a certified company to verify your identity. There’s no difficult-to-remember passwords and you’re not stuck waiting for something in the post.

Once you’re verified you can use your SecureIdentity to access other online Government services too. Eventually everyone will be required to create an online identity to access Government services at GOV.UK so by getting one now you’re saving yourself time later. The Government Gateway will eventually become obsolete.

2. Paper preparation eases the declaration

Another thing you can do to de-stress the whole process is gathering all the relevant documents in advance. Here’s a list of some of the things you’ll need:

  • P60 – if you’re employed this will have all of your end of year figures.
  • P11D or P9D – if your employer has given you extra benefits in addition to your salary, or you have expenses, they must all be declared using these documents.
  • P45 – if you changed jobs during the tax year, your previous employer will have issued this.
  • payslips – to calculate your earnings and check figures against your P60 or P45.
  • receipts – for all the expenses you are claiming, for example business related travel. But be sure that your expenses are HMRC approved.
  • bank statements of your savings accounts – you’ll need them to calculate the interest you earned after being taxed which is you net interest. Also do remember that your ISA income does not need to be declared, it’s tax free.
  • dividends statements – to calculate income received from stocks and/or shares.
  • statements for pension income – to add to your income.

But what if you’ve lost one of the above bits of paper? Here’s what you can do:

  • P60 – you can get a replacement from your employer which will be marked duplicate. Your employer is obliged to keep copies of your P60 for at least the last three years.
  • P11D – again your employer should be able to provide you with a copy or you can contact HMRC for a copy.
  • P45 – you cannot get a replacement but your new employer may be able to provide you with a ‘Starter Checklist’.
  • payslips – the first place to ask would be your employer but if you get really stuck you can use your bank statement to find the figures for earnings that you received.
  • receipts – this is a grey area, it’s not really advisable to estimate expenses as you really need evidence if you are audited.
  • statements from your bank, pension provider and share or stock organisation – contact the relevant organisation for a copies. But do remember that you may be charged for copies.

3. Giving is receiving to charity

Be sure to list all your charitable donations. This is particularly important if you are a higher rate taxpayer because you can reduce your tax bill by offsetting what you have donated. Charitable donations include GiftAid payments and annual memberships of charities such as English Heritage and the National Trust.

Don’t delay, get started today on your Self Assessment tax return! 

Is your occupation on HMRC’s Self Assessment “watchlist”?

If you’re a dentist, doctor, landlord or private tutor submitting your Self Assessment online this month, you may be under more scrutiny than other professions.

In recent years, the Government has developed a super-computer that collates data from key sources. The data helps pinpoint discrepancies in an individual’s Self Assessment tax return and, as a result,  identifies the occupational groups most likely to file late or inaccurate returns.

Doctors and dentists are high on the “watchlist”.  Already HMRC has collected at least £10m in unpaid tax from these professionals by, for instance, using data collected from drug companies, locum agencies and other organisations to spot errors in individual returns.

Landlords also receive this kind of special treatment. HMRC is actively examining people who rent out properties abroad or who own three or more properties in the UK. Landlords we’re told often “accidentally” include traditional mortgage capital repayment as an expense.

Elsewhere, tutors teaching subjects as disparate as horse-riding and music are also coming under HMRC’s close scrutiny.

Give yourself more time to get your Self Assessment right this time

If you’re in one of the professional groups prone to filing your return late and inaccurately there’s one new first step you can take to make a better start in 2017.

The future is now with GOV.UK Verify

The new, simple and straightforward way to access Self Assessment online is to use SecureIdentity and GOV.UK Verify. It takes only 10 to 15 minutes to create an account and you can begin filling in your Self Assessment tax return immediately. You’ll need to download the SecureIdentity Simple Sign-in App from the Apple store or Google Play. Have your  identity documents to hand (ie: your passport, driving licence and bank statements) and choose SecureIdentity when you’re asked to select a certified company to verify your identity at GOV.UK Verify.

Beginner’s guide to certified companies and GOV.UK Verify

GOV.UK is the new online home for Government services right? So why aren’t all aspects of it being run by the government? Up until now, the Government hasn’t asked us to choose from a list of private companies when we needed to prove who we were on line, so what’s changed?

Digital access to government services is being overhauled and updated for the 21st Century. If you’ve become used to shopping or banking on line then you’ll like the new processes being introduced at GOV.UK, but you’ll notice some changes and you’ll probably have questions (See our FAQ section).

One of the first things you’ll notice is that you need to choose a “certified company” to verify your identity before you can access the private services you want. This is one aspect of the new system that many people struggle to understand. Over the past six months, as part of our research and development programme for SecureIdentity,  we’ve spoken to thousands of UK citizens. The question of why people are being asked to choose from a list of private companies when they want to verify their ID and access services at GOV.UK comes up time and again.

When you think about it, it’s actually not all that unusual. These days, when you’re shopping on line, it’s pretty common to be directed to a third party once you get to the checkout. Online retailers specialise in the merchandise they sell and the range they offer. They are less well-equipped to guarantee secure credit card transactions, so they usually partner with a specialist like Worldpay or Sage Pay.

You might say the people at GOV.UK think in a similar way. Their commitment is to make sure that the best range of services are always easily available to citizens on line. To make sure that access to these services is always secure and straightforward, they’ve partnered with private companies that have expertise in securing identity online.

Competition delivers greater security

By offering citizens a choice of certified companies, the Government has created a competitive market for ID verification at GOV.UK. This ensures healthy competition and it puts you in control. At SecureIdentity we’re one of nine verification services you can choose from and we understand how critical it is to deliver the secure, straightforward service you need.

Each certified company has a track record in online security solutions or some aspect of online transactions where safeguarding data is a sensitive and critical issue. All of them meet the certification requirements set out by the Government.

Putting you in control

The first time you use GOV.UK Verify to access services, you’ll be given a choice of nine certified verification companies to obtain your own personal secure ID, so there’s plenty of choice. Choice is always great, but since the idea of choosing a certified company to keep your identity safe is new, how do you choose? Get a heads-up by reading our 5 things to know before choosing a GOV.UK Verify certified identity supplier.

5 things to know before choosing a GOV.UK Verify certified identity provider

If you want to access secure services at GOV.UK you need have a secure ID account. But it’s not the government that supplies you with this secure ID, it’s a private company.

SecureIdentity is one of seven services “certified” by Government to verify your ID and protect your privacy at GOV.UK.

As part of our development programme, we’ve spoken to thousands of people who expect to start using GOV.UK soon.

Whenever we explain the new GOV.UK Verify process to them the first questions they always ask us are: Why are private companies involved and how do I choose between them?

Why are seven different companies offering ID verification at GOV.UK?

The Government knows that security online is changing all the time. It believes that the best way to make sure that citizens can benefit from the very latest security is to introduce competition.

That’s why they’ve certified a number of services to validate your ID at GOV.UK Verify. The Government explains the idea of certified companies like this:

“Certified companies (also known as ‘identity providers’) are organisations that have met government and industry standards to provide identity assurance services as part of GOV.UK Verify”

In a competitive market, with seven different companies competing for your “business”, you can be pretty sure that the most advanced security systems will always be on offer.

How do I choose between the certified companies?

The idea of choosing a certified company to keep your identity safe is new.

At the moment, it’s pretty difficult to know what you should be looking for when you need to choose a provider to create your secure online identity. On the face of it, all providers might look very much the same.

Some basics you should know before you choose a certified company at GOV.UK Verify

No matter which provider you choose, the verification process will take about 10 minutes. Since all providers meet certification standards set out by the Government, you can be sure that any provider you choose has already convinced the Government that they’re up to the job and should be able to safely protect your identity online.

The big differences between suppliers will only become apparent in time. It’s a little bit like when the Government privatised BT and created competition in the UK telecoms market. At first, it was quite difficult to see any difference in the services provided, but these days, BT looks quite different to Virgin Media or TalkTalk.

When we ask people why they choose SecureIdentity, they say they like the fact we’re secure identity specialists who have been working with Governments behind the scenes to protect citizen’s privacy for over 20 years. They like that the security features we can offer go way beyond the standards set out by GOV.UK for certified identity providers, and they like the fact that we don’t do lots of other stuff too, like retail, banking, consumer credit or credit checking services.

But SecureIdentity is not the only choice and it’s not everyone’s choice. Some like the idea of having a secure ID with a company they already use for other things, like banking or online shopping.

What is clear is that almost everyone just wants the process of verifying their identity at GOV.UK to be as simple and straightforward as possible. So here are five facts worth knowing before you choose an ID provider at GOV.UK Verify.

Choosing a certified identity provider for GOV.UK Verify: 5 Key things to know

  1. All services are free.
  2. All certified providers meet government defined standards.
  3. The verify process will always take about 10 minutes regardless of supplier.
  4. You’ll need to have some form of ID to hand, like a passport or a UK driving licence.
  5. You can change your supplier at no cost whenever you want.

It’s taken 20 years to create SecureIdentity for GOV.UK Verify

Barclays, Paypal, The Post Office, Experian: these are just some of the household names available to you when you need to choose a certified supplier and access the services you need on GOV.UK.

SecureIdentity by Morpho is a bit different. We don’t spread our expertise across lots of services. We don’t do retail, banking, consumer credit or credit checking services. Keeping your personal details safe and secure in the digital world is all we do and we’ve been doing this for more people in more places for over 20 years.

If you haven’t heard of us already it’s because Morpho has traditionally been a company that’s worked for the world’s major governments, institutions and security services behind the scenes.  Think of us as the security  ‘engine’ that powers privacy in today’s networked world. 

  • We’ve already secured over 2.5 billion identities for citizens around the world
  • We’re the world’s No 1 provider of driving licences
  • More than 50 of the world’s governments already use our services to keep private details secure for citizens
  • We employ over 8,600 people in more than 50 countries

We provide reassurance

We’re backed by more than 20 years of experience. We’re extensively involved with government schemes where identity and security is at the top of the agenda – helping citizens to interact with official organisations in the knowledge that their valuable personal data is safe.

We provide the systems that deliver this reassurance – across the public sector as well as for financial institutions and government security services.

  • We authenticate 20 million digital signatures a year
  • We trace and archive 50 million transactions every day
  • We produce more than 2 million smart cards a day

You know us better than you think

The chances are, if you’ve got a mobile phone, or you’ve bought online or in-store with a credit card, or you’ve passed through passport control, we’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure your personal details are safe and your financial transactions are secure. Now, with the launch of SecureIdentity by Morpho, the world’s most established government grade identity systems are in your hands. 

Why replace Government Gateway with GOV.UK Verify?

The government has been looking closely at how the new connected world can enable improved, more straightforward access to government services for UK citizens. It has also been looking closely at online security; how it can best handle people’s personal information sensitively and provide the reassurance that their data is safe when they enter it online.

Making it all easier and more secure

The entry point to local and national government services – the way you got in and were asked to prove who you were – has traditionally been through the Government Gateway. You might already have used it. If you have, then you may well be one of the 65% of people who say that, getting access to the government services you need today is  a bit tedious. The multi-stage approach to proving who you are on the Government Gateway was appropriate when the system was launched some years ago, but now it needs a refresh. The Government Gateway scheme is now being gradually replaced by GOV.UK Verify, which aims to provide a faster and more secure service, for most of its previous functions.

Providing better digital service

For about 15 years this entry system – where you sign in and prove you are who you say you are –  worked how it was supposed to, but the world around us has changed.

How we connect and interact with online services has changed. Now we thrive on getting things done quicker, in a secure online environment, with far less hassle:

Faster

We all expect faster responses when we’re online. We demand easier access, and less fuss. Technology has made it all possible. You can shop online, run your bank account online, book flights, arrange holidays, pay bills.

There’s no reason why your interactions with government services can’t be just as smooth and straightforward as they are with any other organisation you connect with online.

Safer

This is the main reason why the government has engaged with a range of leading technology firms.

Using external expert companies is going to make sure that the procedures you go through when you prove who you are at GOV.UK  are always at the cutting edge of smart technology and that that latest advancements in secure online verification will always be freely available to people when they use the new Government services portal. This makes everything more straightforward.

Simpler

Today we expect to achieve much more online. Our expectations of what should be able to do when we access Government service via the web is much more joined up.

We want straightforward access to the entitlements that are due to us (like tax credits or benefits) and when we need things from other Government departments (like a new passport or a visa) we expect the relationships we have already established with one aspect of Government to speed up our requests and help us get what we need faster. The new GOV.UK Verify process enables you to register and prove who you are  once and after that, never have to jump through the same hoops again.

In a nutshell, this is what UK GOV Verify has been designed and built to offer – simple and secure access; taking the hassle out of using the numerous services you call upon through various government departments – from passport renewals to benefits and tax returns through to registering births, deaths, and marriages. All these things have to be done – now they’re just going to be easier to do.

We’re building Britain’s most comprehensive Q&A resource to help you make informed decisions about the certified company you choose to verify your identity at GOV.UK

Accessing the government services we need online is getting easier. Soon there’ll be no need to fill in paper forms, no more waiting for security codes to arrive in the post and no need to apply for access to one service at a time. One login is all you need.

The new GOV.UK Verify process takes about 10 minutes. You’ll need to have some documents to hand, like your passport and driving licence to complete the one time verification process but after that, verifying who you are at GOV.UK takes just few seconds.

When you first use the new service, one of the first things you’ll notice is that, in order to prove who you are at GOV.UK, you’re asked to verify your identity by setting up an account with one of several private security services. Nine different companies are allowed to offer the verification service you need to get online. Morpho is one of them and our GOV.UK Verify service is called SecureIdentity.

When we developed SecureIdentity we wanted to be sure that the service we offered was driven by real insights from people just like you. That’s why, over the course of this summer, we’ve asked nearly 3,000 people to tell us exactly what they expect from the certified verification provider they choose.

You learn a lot when you ask 3,000 UK Citizens about the new verification process for GOV.UK Verify, and over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring all your most frequently asked questions in this blog and developing our easy-to-use Q&A resource.

If you have questions about why, when and how you should choose a certified verification provider to help you get online and manage the government services you need, ask them in our growing FAQ section. We’ll make sure they’re answered as soon as our interactive Q&A goes live. Meanwhile, take a look at the top three most frequently asked questions people like you have about GOV.UK and the new verify process.