What is eIDAS?
eIDAS stands for electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services. The eIDAS Regulation established the framework to ensure that electronic interactions between businesses are safer, faster and more efficient, no matter the European country they take place in. It is a European Regulation that created one single framework for electronic identification (eID) and trust services, making it more straightforward to deliver services across the European Union.
eIDAS promoted interoperability across the 27 EU Member States, ensuring that countries mutually recognise each other’s notified electronic identification schemes. It also ensures that the trust services provided by service providers who comply with the requirements in the Regulation can be accepted as evidence in legal proceedings.
The eIDAS Regulation increased the level of security of transactions for businesses and offer many other benefits including:
- less administrative burden in electronic transactions with other business, customers and public administrations;
- more efficient business processes;
- significant reduction in costs and increased profits;
- safer electronic transactions leading to increased consumer trust and a bigger potential consumer base.
eIDAS and businesses
Introducing electronic identification and trust services into your business can generate a series of benefits for your company. These benefits can be grouped into three main areas:
- better user experience: ensuring smooth service and product delivery. Gaining the trust of customers is essential for any business and contributes to increasing customer satisfaction by focusing efforts on establishing a relationship with them.
- increased security and liability: the eIDAS Regulation ensures greater assurance between parties thanks to secure solutions and legal certainty.
- greater efficiency gains: through reduced process cycles, large scale automation, simplified and faster task execution and overall cost reduction whilst maintaining the quality of products, services and support.
Businesses large and small can use eIDAS solutions in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions. eIDAS provides businesses with the opportunity to carry out stronger checks on the identity of customers and other companies.
This is of particular use when trading restricted goods, such as alcohol, for high-value transactions, such as the sale of artwork, and transfers of large amounts of money. It also allows businesses to expand their customer base, providing a trusted identification of customers and businesses in other EU countries.
eIDAS solutions also help businesses carry out cross-border transactions. Under the eIDAS Regulation, all EU countries will have to recognise foreign eID schemes that have been notified to the European Commission and many are already in the process of implementing this. Member States may also notify their national eID systems but may choose not to open these systems to the private sector, although they are encouraged to do so.
Trust services under the eIDAS Regulation also support businesses.
- Electronic signature (eSignature): the expression in an electronic format of a person’s agreement to the content of a document or set of data. Qualified eSignatures have the same legal effect as hand written signatures.
- Electronic seal (eSeal): similar in its function to the traditional business stamp. It can be applied to an electronic document to guarantee the origin and integrity of a document.
- Electronic Timestamp (eTimestamp): links an electronic document, such as a purchase order, to a particular time, providing evidence that the document existed at that time.
- Website Authentication Certificates (WACs): electronic certificates that prove to your customers that your website is trustworthy and reliable. They ensure that the website is linked to the person to whom the certificate is issued. They also help avoid data phishing.
- Electronic Registered Delivery Service (eDelivery): allows the user to send data electronically. It provides proof of sending and delivery of the document and protects your company against the risk of loss, theft, damage or unauthorised alterations.
The private sector has already begun to exploit these in various different sectors, such as the use of eSignatures in the professional services and financial services sectors.
Financial services sector
The financial services sector is one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of eID and trust services as they can enable significant business opportunities and improved services across borders.
The identification, authentication and securing of transactions in the financial services sector are becoming highly digitised in order to adapt to an increased demand for online services from customers and to cope with heavier compliance obligations.
eID and trust services will allow companies to leverage on-boarding opportunities such as 'Know Your Customer'. Know Your Customer is the process of identifying and verifying the identity of clients (or potential clients). It is carried out by companies to assess the potential risks of a business relationship, such as money laundering activities. Thanks to eIDAS solutions, such as notified eID, it is a process that can be conducted almost entirely online. By digitising these processes, businesses will be able to focus less on operational optimisation and more on building relationships with their clients.
Examples of the use of eID and trust services in the financial services sector include:
- eID for
- a trusted verification of a client's identity and compliance with Know Your Customer and anti-money laundering requirements
- facilitating the opening of new bank and financial service accounts with clients in other countries using remote and trusted identification and access to accounts
- eSignature to remotely sign financial service contracts with clients
- electronic registered delivery service for the quick and secure exchange of important documentation such as contractual agreements
Online retail sector
Online retail is undergoing a major transformation in order to adapt to the wave of digitisation. Businesses must use technology to develop creative solutions to attract customers. This can be done by providing a better online experience and by establishing trust in the business-consumer relationship.
Secure electronic transactions are particularly important for business conducted online. The use of trustworthy solutions for electronic identification and trust services is key. The eIDAS Regulation provides a comprehensive legal framework to ensure such trustworthiness, as well as legal validity and certainty across the EU.
Examples of the use of eID and trust services in the online retail sector include:
- eID for stronger identification checks on customers purchasing restricted (e.g. alcohol) or high value (e.g. artworks) goods
- eSignatures and eTimestamps to reduce costs through more streamlined processes and enhance document tracking
- qualified website authentication certificates to increase consumer trust in online retail websites and to avoid data phishing
In the transport sector, technological solutions, including electronic identification and trust services in particular, can assist in safeguarding a secure and seamless business process that eliminates any redundant steps.
eID and trust services ensure a smooth, secure, paperless flow of documents between senders, carriers, suppliers and receivers, which is paramount for orders to arrive on time and to avoid delays due to administrative burdens.
Examples of the use of eID and trust services in the transport sector include:
- eID and trust services can be used to prove the identity of the customer, provide a secure log-in to the service and enable remote vehicle unlocking by a customer
- electronic registered delivery service for the quick and secure exchange of contractual documentation
- eTimestamps to highlight accountability should delays occur when different carriers are involved
- eSeals on important documentation such as contracts of carriage proving their origin and integrity, whilst reducing the dependence on paper-based documents
Professional services sector
Professional services including, lawyers, notaries, architects and accountants, among others, can benefit from eID and trust services through the digitisation of their business processes. In their interaction with other businesses and customers professional services rely heavily on trust between the different parties involved.
The use of eID and trust services such as eSeals, eSignatures and eTimestamps simplify for businesses time-consuming formal procedures.
eID allows professional services to take advantage of on-boarding opportunities such as conducting “Know Your Customer”, as described above.
The digitisation of the sector through the use of eID and trust services will reduce the dependence on paper-based documents whilst maintaining the validity and security of the documents being shared.
Examples of the use of eID and trust services in the professional services sector include:
- eID for a trusted verification of the identity of clients in order to establish a contractual relationship and comply with Know Your Customer requirements
- eSignature and eTimestamp allow lawyers to perform paperless, digital contractual agreements that are legally binding
- sworn translators can use eSeal to certify the validity of translated documents.
- electronic registered delivery service allows any professional to send important documents reducing the risk of loss, theft, damage or alterations
Benefits of electronic identification and trust services
eIDAS guidebook for businesses
A downloadable guidebook is available to help businesses to understand and incorporate eID and trust service solutions into their daily business operations.
It is designed as a quick-reference guide on key information on eID and trust service solutions and the opportunities they can provide to European businesses.
Download the guidebook (pdf)
eIDAS checklist for businesses
A downloadable checklist is available to help businesses to choose the appropriate eID and trust service solutions for their business. It will help the user to understand the key criteria that need to be taken into account when evaluating eID and trust service solutions, according to their business needs through a series of questions/checks.
This checklist is aimed at those businesses that are looking to incorporate eID and trust services into their business.
Download the checklist (pdf)
Join the discussion
Discuss eIDAS-related issues with other organisations and like-minded businesses in the eIDAS Observatory.
The eIDAS observatory is a virtual community of stakeholders that discusses issues related to the uptake of eIDAS solutions to help promote the use of cross-border electronic identification and trust services in Europe.
The Observatory is open to everyone – businesses, individuals and public administrations, and representatives from various different sectors, to promote knowledge sharing and to develop initiatives for innovation.
Whilst the focus of this page is on business-to-business / business-to-consumer transactions, there are also a number of interesting use-cases in a business-to-government context.