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Identity checks and online verification

MSD is working on an initiative for clients to verify their identity online. This will make accessing MSD products and services faster and easier.


Before people get financial support through MSD, they need to confirm their identity. This involves either:

  • coming into a service centre with a formal ID, such as a passport or driver licence, or
  • uploading copies of these documents through MyMSD.

This can be costly and time consuming for a lot of our clients.

To make it easier for clients, we're working on another option, utilising the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) Identity Check. The check would allow people to verify their identity without having to visit a service centre or have a RealMe account. If clients don’t want to use the new way of verifying their identity, they can confirm their identify with us using the existing methods.

How it would work

Those clients who choose to confirm their identity using the DIA Identity Check would be redirected to the Department of Internal Affairs website. They would use the camera on their phone or computer to complete the check. The Identity Check tool would use facial recognition technology to perform a check of the person’s live image. This would then be checked against their passport or driver licence photo which the Department of Internal Affairs hold on file.

If the identity check was successful, MSD would get a notification back from the Department of Internal Affairs, with a ‘pass’ response.

Data that would be shared with MSD

People using the DIA Identity Check would need to disclose their full name, date of birth, and confirm their identity.

Any pictures supplied to the Department of Internal Affairs would not be shared with MSD.

Safety of data

MSD is committed to respecting the information clients share with us and keeping it safe.

We have systems and safeguards in place to control how we collect, manage and use client information.

Initiatives involving personal information don’t go ahead unless they meet our Privacy, Human Rights and Ethics Framework (PHRaE). This is so we make sure we use information in a responsible, transparent, and trustworthy way.

What happens next

This project is currently in its design and build phase. As part of this, MSD has started engaging with clients through testing and engagement sessions. We'll also engage other stakeholders until late 2022. We’ll use this feedback to refine the system’s design.

We recognise the concept of identity is complex and means different things to different people and cultures. We’ll be engaging with MSD's Māori Reference Group to incorporate a Te Ao Māori perspective. We need to make sure we understand the concept of identity for an individual, and that cultural aspects are considered.

We will also be engaging with MSD's Pacific Reference Group to make sure Pacific voices are understood. And we’ll work with Whaikaha, Ministry for Disabled People so the framework is both accessible and easy to use.

Our reference groups are made up of external stakeholders, giving us a far-reaching perspective.

Additionally, we’ll involve The Office of the Privacy Commissioner. We’ll make sure the digital verification solution we develop is in line with privacy and ethical expectations.

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