Generally speaking, an e-ID is a means for people to electronically prove that they are who they say they are. With an e-ID, also known as an electronic identity, people can gain access to different services. With this identity, citizens, businesses, and administrations can be distinguished from others. In the EU, all of the member states have initiatives underway to introduce e-IDs for most public services. Since this is all at an EU level, the current ambition is to provide access to local services and to cross European borders with only a smartphone.
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How Does a Digital Identity Card Differ From an e-ID?
An e-ID is distinct from a digital identity card for the reason that an e-ID is used by people to electronically prove their identity. This means they can gain access to a wide panel of different services, for example, taxation, social security, and telephone services. On the other hand, a digital identity card, such as a passport, is primarily used to address a more specific sector. In this case, the passport is a necessary document. One could describe the digital identity card as a physical token that contains personal information.
e-ID Has Become a Big Part of the Digital Infrastructure
In many countries, the usage of e-IDs has become an important and natural part of the digital infrastructure. For example, over 90% of the population of Sweden uses an e-ID daily to do things like:
- Open bank accounts
- Sign agreements
- Transfer money
- Take out loans
Another thing that makes e-IDs so appealing is their adaptability. Since an e-ID is digital, it’s a lot more flexible and versatile than its physical counterparts. For example, it’s possible to allow users to share only as much information as is required. No more, no less. An online gaming site would probably only need proof of age to be able to grant users access. Whereas, an application for a loan would most likely require more information, such as a credit check and more detailed personal information.