For banks wanting to offer electronic bank account management to their corporate customers, a hurdle has long existed around digital identity — how do you ensure that the person accessing a corporate account is who she says she is, and provide security around that access? Banks have told us of corporate treasury staff members wielding fistfuls of ID tokens, one per bank account, each with the user name and password written on the back. Several vendors offer digital identity products, but there's no standard or generally accepted method of identifying and authenticating corporate users.
At the SIBOs show yesterday, SWIFT launched a digital identity solution called 3SKey that could get broader adoption than some current schemes. 3SKey is intended to enable corporate treasurers to manage their various banking relationships using a single, multi-network personal digital identity. Initially, the solution will be rolled out in Europe.
The solution is meant to replace the proprietary infrastructures and solutions banks currently use and provide banks and corporates with a market standard for personal signatures. 3SKey is compatible with SWIFT's new EBAM (Electronic Bank Account Management) solution. The launch follows a successful pilot in France involving Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole CIB, HSBC and BPCE, and several large companies including Danone, France Telecom and Airbus.
"3SKey provides corporates and banks with a single signing solution, thereby eliminating the need to invest in multiple proprietary infrastructures," said Luc Meurant, head of banking, supply chain and corporate markets, SWIFT. "3SKey eliminates the complexity of having to manage and maintain multiple authentication methods. It also increases efficiency while reducing operational risks and costs."
Pierre Jalade, VP Treasury, Airbus SAS, said: "The successful 3SKey pilot has been for Airbus a great opportunity to validate the SWIFT certificate solution. I am fully convinced that 3SKey is setting the new industry wide standard for personal signatures. With 3SKey, SWIFT is certainly providing, to corporate treasurers operating in an international environment, the most appropriate answer to authentication requirements."
Martine Boutineau, head of international cash management, corporate cash management, Societe Generale, said, "3SKey has helped us simplify time-consuming processes for our customers. The pilot confirmed that the banks and their corporate customers are willing to adopt the solution and create a standard for the financial industry in the digital identity space. We are already preparing to offer 3SKey to our Corporate users and not just on SWIFT but also on other networks in France."