Meet the company: miiCard (My Internet Identity)

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Trust – the final barrier to online trade

Trust is becoming a big issue for online traders. Unlike marketplaces where feedback trust mechanisms are the norm as soon as you set up your own website how do your customers know that they can trust you? Google are running a trial of Google Trusted Stores, which has already attracted a patent lawsuit from buySAFE for patent infringement and 2012 will be the year Trust starts to be addressed online.

Today James Varga, CEO of miiCard, a Canadian entrepreneur with over 15 years of technology and internet marketing solutions introduces miiCard, one option which could address the online Trust issue.

Identity theft related fraud is on the rise

We live in a world where we now use the Internet every day for shopping, banking, socialising, working and learning. We want more of the convenience and choice that comes with being online but neither consumers nor businesses want an increased risk of fraud or identity theft.

In this modern age types of fraud is starting to change. While we start to reduce security and transactional fraud there are huge increases in fraud relating to identity theft, impersonation and false documentation. Indeed almost 72% of fraud over the Christmas period was predicted to relate to identity related issues, at an estimated cost of almost £70m (Sources: CIFAS and IRMG).

As both sales and the number of people shopping online grow so does the demand for the ability to do higher value business online. Yet while we’re already starting to see more high value transactions, such as the purchase of used cars, antiques and art, this growth has come with an increased level of personal risk.

With the digital economy outpacing normal GDP growth (contribution to overall GDP now stands at 7.2%, and is expected to reach as much as 10%-13% over the next few years) we can’t afford this barrier to trade.

Trust will unlock the full potential of trade online

With the number of those connected on the Internet having reached two billion, a figure that is increasing by 200 million each year, the possibilities for trade are clear. To fully capitalise on this opportunity, online traders and retailers should be looking to create trust, fight fraud and protect consumers.

Online identity verification, equivalent to a primary ID check, like sighting a passport or driver’s licence, will play a key part in unlocking the full potential of Internet trade.
While it is easier for the large retailers to establish trust online, smaller, independent retailers and sole traders have to work harder.

As the first user-centric, federated service to prove identity to Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer standard purely online, miiCard (My Internet Identity) represents trust in a digital economy providing a catalyst to doing more, higher value, business online.

By proactively proving one’s own identity online a small e-retailer, trader or power seller can help build trust by providing the necessary reassurance and traceability to encourage potential buyers.
A solution like miiCard gives traders a way of creating real trust with their customers, proving ‘I am who I say I am’ with the same level of accountability and traceability as a driver’s licence or passport.

Similarly, where a retailer uses a system such as miiCard to conduct the primary identity check on customers to support high value sales they stand to benefit from:

  • Increased conversion by supporting a purely online, real-time, sales process;
  • Reduced cost of execution by not having to validate one’s identity offline or physically;
  • Additional fraud and identity theft protection.

Until now, online ID verification has only been able to prove something about you, such as an address or Credit Reference check. This doesn’t carry enough assurance to base a business transaction on where regulations require identity validation, as is the case with high-value purchases where the Anti-Money Laundering check applies.

miiCard provides an identity verification service to AML standard that works purely online and in real-time. At only £12 per year we believe it’s a low cost way for a sole trader, power seller or cottage industry business to build trust with their customers.

We’d love to get your thoughts, examples of where you see a need for primary ID checks in online trading, and any other solutions or alternatives that you know of. Please post in the comments section below or contact me at [email protected].

7 Responses

  1. I’ve got a Safebuy logo on my website and miicard is a lot cheaper than them if they are only charging £12 a year. Trust is a major thing on the internet, if you as a customer thinks a website looks do a bit suspect, you wouldn’t buy from them. And everyone visiting a website feels the same. Anything that puts peoples mind at ease is a good thing.

  2. Thanks Warren,

    Yes we are only charging £12/year for the service that will allow you to include a validated logo on your site, listings, profile or where ever you need to create trust that you are who you say you are.

    We are very interested in feedback about how miiCard can be used in online trading to help create trust, combat fraud/etc or just simply help people sell more.

  3. James, Just had a look at your FAQ’s and its states to add a MIICARD to your site you simply add your USERNAME to the html.

    So If I know your username I can have a MIICARD on My site within seconds

    Example : https://my.miicard.com/card/james.varga

    This DOES NOT Prove who you are or your are a safe site to buy from, anyone could add your Miicard to any site they like!

  4. If you just wanted a logo you could, just like with Verisign, put a logo on your site. What you can’t do is create a validated logo that when you click on it, shows you the validated identity. Its this validated identity that you can’t just create. If you look at my profile page you will see the validated data that I’ve chosen to be made public. Its this page that is critical just like with any third party validation.

  5. James,

    I understand that the link when followed confirms your details but what is stopping me setting up “[email protected]” then adding your https://my.miicard.com/card/james.varga into my signature when anyone see the card “I am now you”

    Your MiiCard does display your real email address but wording on my Signature or Ebay sellers account like “not updated this card yet but this is my new email address” would convince most people.

    Also the fact that the URL behind the logo can be easily changed to any website “Confirming” my details

    Using the HTML you provide generates a Miicard on my site or email that states “Identity Assured @ time and date” so In my opinion I’m not convinced the Card proves anything and maybe gives spammers a legitimate looking new card to promote!

  6. This is very interesting but I have two points to make

    1. Is it true that everyone with a Bank Account had a face to face check – I didn’t ! Are the Banks guaranteeing they did an face to face check for MiiCard Users?

    2. If I supply Bank Account Details and access passwords will the Bank still honour any fraud on that account – I have had a brief discussion with my Bank and they say I would be at risk and probably breaching terms and conditions of my arrangement.

  7. I would never part with my online bank account ID and password but if I was why use miicard webistes (such as ebay etc) could just ask for users online bank account id and password on every transaction to prove their identity – but it will never happen!)

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