2Keys, an Ottawa-based leader in digital identity, has been acquired by Interac. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Interac sees the acquisition as serving as a catalyst for all digital identity in Canada. The global payments provider stated that 2Keys will play a critical role in supporting the future of digital identity and bringing that to more consumers. As part of the acquisition 2Keys and around 100 of its employees will be joining Interac.
“Canadians told us they are ready for more convenient, digital options to manage their identity.”
“Acquiring the deep expertise of 2Keys gives Interac capabilities it can bring to the marketplace to support the development of digital ID solutions for Canadians’ increasingly digital lives,” said Mark O’Connell, CEO of Interac.
Founded in 1998, 2Keys is seen as a national leader in providing secure digital experiences for clients that include Canadian governments, major financial institutions, police forces, and enterprises like Canadian Payments Association. 2Keys developed digital identity and cybersecurity platforms that are meant to offer more secure online experiences. The company noted that, to date, it supports more than 40 million users that perform more than four million identity verifications per day.
“Canadians told us they are ready for more convenient, digital options to manage their identity documents online and on their mobile devices,” said Debbie Gamble, chief Innovation Labs and new ventures officer at Interac. “They also indicated how important safeguarding their identity is, and that digital IDs must be secure and backed by trusted technology.”
Interac called the acquisition a “unique opportunity” for it to build on previous work it has been doing around digital identity. Interac has explored uses for digital identity verification for payments, healthcare, and immigration. The company finalized a restructuring in 2018, which saw Interac split activities between a non-profit and private company. Interac noted that this led it to pursue new ventures that would strengthen Interac’s role in digital identity within the Canadian economy.
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O’Connell told The Globe and Mail that the old structure would have made a deal like this difficult, noting that Interc will now likely pursue more acquisitions following 2Keys.
According to The Globe, Interac and 2Keys previously worked on a project together creating secure access to government services through banking credentials. It was, apparently, this that prompted Interac’s interest in acquiring the Ottawa-based company. The Globe reported that Interac is looking to work with governments to help with digital identity documents such as driver’s licences and birth certificates, with the goal of using that information to further its own payments systems.
Online authentication of digital identities has become an increasingly more important topic of conversation, with the Canadian Bankers Association calling for a federated approach to digital identity in a whitepaper from May 2018. Effective digital identification system are seen as a way to reduce costs for financial institutions, reduce fraud, improve regulatory compliance, and enhance personal identification privacy.
2Keys will operate as a subsidiary of Interac will continue to operate business as usual.