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Thales Major Citizen Survey Predicts Warm Welcome for New European Digital ID Wallet (EDIW)

A major new survey by Thales shows that two out of three Europeans citizens are looking forward to the arrival of an EU-backed Digital ID Wallet for storing their ID card, driving licence and other official documents and signed attestations on a smartphone. The results also reveal that while 27% currently use some form of official national Digital ID scheme, 45% are relying on insecure, unofficial, ‘DIY’ (do it yourself) scans and photos of their cards and documents to help prove their identity and entitlements.

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Digitalisation is already improving user-experience and relieving identification headaches

Starting with a pilot phase in 2023, every member state must by 2024 offer citizens a Digital ID Wallet that can be used throughout the EU. The results of the survey certainly underline the need for this pioneering European initiative aiming at offering most convenient User Experience (UX) at highest level of security. Regarding UX, 34% of people surveyed currently find it difficult to prove their identity when renewing an ID document, 30% have problems when making a high value purchase, and 29% encounter troubles when applying for financial services. However, among the 40% who face such issues, the figure falls to just 5% or below when a digital format is used.

Successful wallets will need to match highest security standards

In all but one of the countries surveyed, government emerges as the preferred provider of the EDIW. However, despite widespread public support for the idea, the results demonstrate that wallet providers must address significant security and data privacy concerns among potential users. In particular, the research shows that 65% of Europeans rate security as the most important feature in any new wallet, followed by convenience and privacy.

Results highlight different national attitudes to the EDIW

The survey uncovers differences in national attitudes. The French and the Italians are the most positive about the EDIW, with 85% and 75% respectively claiming they will use it. Enthusiasm for the EDIW is also influenced by age, and citizens’ experiences of digital wallets providers (such as Apple, Google, Samsung) and national Digital ID schemes including BankID in Sweden.

“By providing citizens with a secure and convenient means of proving their identity and entitlements via a smartphone, the EDIW will enable smooth and secure interactions between citizens, governments and private businesses. The results of our survey offer providers a better understanding of citizens’ needs, helping them to maximise adoption and use of the new wallets that will be introduced throughout the EU over the next 18 months. Thales as a leader in digital security and trustful provider of digital identities remains fully committed to address those needs thanks to field-proven wallet solutions,” said Youzec Kurp, VP Identity and Biometric Solutions at Thales.

Conducted by Thales, the survey took place in December 2021. In total, 1835 citizens from seven different EU countries provided detailed answers to an online questionnaire. The full results are now available in a new white paper: Understanding the European identity experience.

About Thales

Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies, investing in digital and “deep tech” innovations – connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing – to build a confident future crucial for the development of our societies. The company provides solutions, services and products that help its customers — businesses, organisations and states — in the defence, aeronautics, space, transportation and digital identity and security markets to fulfil their critical missions, by placing humans at the heart of the decision-making process.

Thales has 81,000 employees in 68 countries. In 2021, the Group generated sales of €16.2 billion.

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