Cross-border digital ID is coming: Mastercard plans to supply infrastructure

National identity representatives from the APAC region discussed their preparations for borderless digital identity and interoperability at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2021. National systems are still establishing themselves and working with their private sectors on use cases and integration, but countries such as Australia and New Zealand are already discussing how to make their digital ID work in each other’s country while Mastercard is planning to handle cross-border digital ID as soon as 2022.

Australia and Singapore have entered a dialogue into a mutual recognition agreement, according to Jonathan Thorpe, general manager of Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency. The agreement would aim to see the digital identity of a citizen in one country being accepted in the other. This could potentially start with students. New Zealand is also high on the list for Australia for mutual recognition of digital credentials.

Singapore’s National Digital Identity, Singpass, is centralized compared to a federated, opt-in approach in Australia which did not have an existing national ID system in place to build on. 4.2 million Singaporeans (or 97 percent of those eligible, according to the system’s director, Dominic Chan, also speaking) have registered for their digital ID – a figure greatly boosted by the COVID pandemic – while 5.3 million Australians have opted to go digital.