Verifying your ID is important to join a credit union or green bank. If you run a business, you’ll need ID to set up a business account and (if used a virtual office address).
Most companies do this using eIDV (electronic identify verification) which means they simply carry out online checks to verify your name, date of birth, social security number and address. If you don’t pass these, then you’ll be asked to further proof your ID, which will be easier if you ‘get your house in order first’. Here are the best ways to do this, which will make life simpler all round anyway:
Order a passport
A full passport costs around £100 but it’s the gold-standard for ID (even if you’re not going abroad and good to have, to avoid paying more for a ‘fasttrack passport’ later on. The simplest way is to just make an appointment at a participating Post Office (you’ll need your birth certificate (only costs £10 for an original copy) and staff will complete your application on a tablet, take your photo and send it off, and you’ll have it back in days.
If going the ‘paper route’, you’ll need passport photos (there is help if disabled) or take online passport photos (these use artificial intelligence to crop and comply – don’t smile and keep your mouth closed!)
Update Your Driving License
Ensure your driving license has the correct address. This is free to do and pretty quick (you can still drive while waiting for it to arrive). Also change the address on your V5C vehicle log book and tax direct debit.
Register to Vote (NOT open register)
To register to vote, you’ll need your NI number. Tick the box to NOT go on the open register, to avoid details being sold to others – if already registered, contact electoral registration office to ask to be taken off it (it’s updated monthly). Register again if you change your name, address or nationality. You can register to vote anonymously, for safety reasons. The full register can only be used for elections, ID applications and jury summoning (otherwise, complain to The Information Commissioner).
Order an ID Card (or app)
- EasyID is a free app to prove identity and age. It can be used (for life) for employment, banking and picking up packages. Keep details safely stored, to share only details you need to give.
- CitizenCard is a non-profit card which again can be used for ID and benefits, and police-approved proof-of-age (better than passports that are easily lost or stolen, and expensive to replace). The service is free for schools, colleges, universities and some local authorities. Again, you’ll need a passport photo and someone to verify you exist!
Make a file of ‘proof of residence’
These usually don’t count as official proof of ID but help to verify, in complicated circumstances. The main ones accepted are:
- Bank statements & business accounts (isolate bills to download as separate files, if you don’t want to share all financial transactions)
- Confirmation of residency (rent, mortgage, care home)
- Proof of employment/education/pension
- Council tax bills, P60 and P45 statements