What is the PostIdent?

24 August 2022

Business Insight

Banking transactions and financial flows have been increasing over the years. At the same time, fraud and money laundering are on the rise. How can we fight against these scourges when it is increasingly easy to open a bank account or participate in a crowdfunding campaign? Using protocols by governments such as KYC and processes makes it easy to identify a person. In Germany, this is the PostIdent. Explanations!


PostIdent: what is it?

In Germany, the law requires identity verification for anyone wishing to open a bank account and hold assets. To fulfil this essential condition for validating a registration with a bank, several means are available to future customers and companies: it is possible to go directly to a branch with the necessary documents, to carry out a video interview or go to a post office and use the famous PostIdent service of Deutsche Post.


PostIdent: definition

PostIdent is a procedure developed by Deutsche Post to meet the needs of banks for customer identification. Perfectly secure, it enables the identification of individuals to be verified when opening a bank account within the framework of the law on money laundering. Today, this procedure is widespread and is no longer limited to banks. Indeed, it can be used for the identity checks required in the framework of KYC: it is enough to print a document, go to the nearest post office and show your passport so that the person at the counter can certify the conformity of the identity.


PostIdent and KYC: what you need to know

In Germany, as in many European countries, the fight against money laundering has become a priority. To act after several years of laxity, the authorities have put in place several measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Among these measures is creating effective systems by companies such as KYC, known as Know Your Customer”.

What is KYC? KYC is a protocol for verifying a customer’s identity, whether a natural or legal person. Its objective is simple: to fight against identity theft, fraud, and money laundering by assessing the profile of each client and implementing vigilance measures if necessary.


Compliance with KYC procedures for marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms

Like traditional banks, marketplace or participatory finance platform operators must comply with KYC procedures. Why? Because they bring together buyers and sellers, investors and project owners while creating virtual bank accounts to carry out payment transactions. Although they do not have physical branches, these operators are financial organisations. Therefore, monitoring bank account movements and seller profiles are essential to ensure maximum reliability and transparency.

Created following the enactment of the German Money Laundering Act, the PostIdent process remains an effective means of identification for digital investments and Internet commerce.


PostIdent: how does it work today?

In the past, the PostIdent protocol could only be carried out at one of the Deutsche Post offices. But this identity verification process can now be done remotely, thanks to new technologies. For example, delivery staff can carry out this task when handing over a letter, while a mobile application for PostIdent allows you to identify yourself directly online!

The PostIdent protocol can also be carried out via a video interview for people who cannot travel to a post office. It should be noted that it is imperative to have an official document to validate the identification. If the driving licence is not accepted for this procedure, the passport, identity card or residence permit is indispensable. The electronic identity card is also convenient: recently created, it incorporates an electronic component with a stamp (QR Code) signed by the State, which makes it very easy to detect if it is a false identity card or if the data has been modified.

For persons holding a foreign passport, the PostIdent protocol applies similarly. However, it is advisable to check with the nearest post office or bank to see if additional documents (e.g., confirmation of residence) are required for authentication. In any case, PostIdent remains a process known for its high reliability and security, with an error rate for Deutsche Post of 1.1%, making the German transport and logistics company an authority!


PostIdent: who is affected?

Today, not only banks but also many companies regularly use PostIdent. Mobile phone contract providers, financial service providers… Regardless of the provider, it is necessary to conclude a contract with Deutsche Post for them to issue a customer number. Each person can be identified from this customer number.

How does it work in practice? The company provides the documents to its customer. The customer prints them out before showing them – with a valid ID – to a postman. The customer can do this by videophone, post or offline using the company’s PostIdent coupon, in which some data is already pre-filled. Once the customer’s documents are validated, the company receives authentication of the customer’s identity.


In summary, PostIdent is :

An identification procedure is known for its reliability and compliance with the German Anti-Money Laundering Act.

It provides an authenticated and verified identity via a precise two-factor procedure. Accessible via different scenarios, offline or online, it is used by millions of people every year!


What about Lemonway?

With our expertise in managing complex payments for digital platforms (marketplace and crowdfunding), we are present throughout Europe. In Germany, PostIdent is our partner for implementing the KYC protocol. A way to ensure the reliability of banking transactions and to fight against money laundering!

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