Online Banking Seems a Lot Safer With Launch of Verified.Me App

Man holding a phone displaying online banking screen.

Photo: VM/Getty Images

The biggest anxiety many older Canadians have with online banking is a lack of confidence that their very personal financial information is safe from hackers.

For those who grew up in an era when all financial transactions were carried out in person at the bank, we knew each transaction was safe and secure. But since the advent of digital banking, I’ve never had the same confidence —  my username and password (both of which can be stolen quite easily) never seemed like sufficient protections against online fraud.

In short, how does the bank actually know it’s me accessing my account and not some impersonator who’s seized my password.

A new app, unveiled today, will go a long way to alleviating that worry.

SecureKey Technologies, a company that provides online identity and authentication services, announced it was teaming up with Canada’s Big Five banks to make sure our digital identities will be protected when we make transactions with these financial institutions.

The app – called Verified.Me – will provide a safe and private authentication service between my bank and me. It’s a bit like having an online proof of identity, a safe and secure repository of information that you can share with financial institutions. So instead of providing personal information to every service provider and trying to remember which of the infinite number of passwords and usernames you’ve assigned to each account — you will simply use the Verified.Me app.

For example, if you want to share your credit score when taking out a loan or log in to your insurance website, you will do everything through your Verified.Me app. You can use the app to allow the credit agency or insurance company access to your personal information, saving you the time and aggravation of having to jump through hoops to prove your identity every time you log on. And the company using the data will know it’s you — and not some hacker.

“People are fed up with [hackers stealing information],” says Greg Wolfond, CEO of SecureKey. “We want to be able to prove who we are and stop the bad people from impersonating us.”

Right now, the Verified.Me app is available to customers at CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank and TD, with BMO and National Bank to launch the service soon. And while right now, it’s restricted to financial institutions, down the road the hope is that one day the app can be used to streamline the way we access government services, such as renewing our driver’s licence, filing taxes or applying for CPP.

The Verified.Me app is available to iOS and Android mobile phone users through the App Store and Google Play.