"If you want to be sure that the identity document is real and is in use right now then I see no real alternative to NFC and biometrics.”

Kalev Pihl, CEO of SK ID Solutions


SK ID Solutions (SK) is an Estonian qualified trusted services provider. SK provides international e-identity solutions, including a popular mobile solution for the Baltics called Smart-ID with almost 3 million users and 60 million monthly transactions. SK ID Solutions caters to nearly 1000 organisations. SK was founded in 2001 and owned by Swedbank, SEB Bank and Telia Eesti.


Smart-ID has millions of onboardings in a year and a lot of these required office visits due to legal compliance requirements. Smart-ID is evaluated as “high” Level of Assurance identity scheme and includes also qualified certificates for signatures.

This means that the issuance of Smart-ID must be against validated physical presence or essentially something that is “equal to it”. SK was looking for a fully automated remote identification solution to make the solution scalable and compliant to rigid auditing and supervision requirements from eIDAS regulation.

  • Smart-ID with ReadID has proven conformance to qualified certificates by TÜV and was approved by Estonian Information System Authority early 2020

  • This makes Smart-ID the first fully automated remote identification solution at this trust level in the world

  • Having remote identification available was extremely helpful under the recent lock-down situation because of COVID-19

SK ID Solutions added NFC based identity document verification with ReadID, liveness detection and facial recognition for onboarding to Smart-ID. SK uses ReadID SaaS, integrating the ReadID SDKs in their Smart-ID app.

The new method was internationally audited and results have been approved by the Estonian supervisory authority. This was an important milestone: it means comparing a traditional f2f process that is accepted based on tradition only, to a new digital solution that is by evaluation more secure. Conformance to eIDAS/ETSI means that SK can deliver Qualified Certificates digitally, at lower cost, 24x7. The process of signing up only takes a couple of minutes and it works on Android as well as iOS devices. This is a real game-changer for qualified Trust Service Providers in terms of user experience and cost.

An important feature is that in the process, a proof of the verification is created that can be logged. “NFC reading is worth the effort; there is no real alternative. Even trained persons or good AI algorithms are not able to check identity document security features based on video. If the stakes are high, this is the way to do it,” according to SK ID Solutions. NFC based identity verification as “new normal” will introduce a trust level unreachable so far, which is vital in a secure society.

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