A step forward for the consolidation of remote identification in France


In France, a long-distance relationship with customers no longer qualifies as a high-risk situation. This indicates a strengthened position for remote identification in the future.

ZealiD Marketing team interviewed María Vallés González, our legal expert, to discuss the topic and answer some of the most pressing questions:

What is entailed in Article R561-5-2, and how is this transposition effective?

What does this mean for digital identification moving forward?


ZealiD Team: What is Article R561-5-2?

Maria: Article R561-5-2 is a step forward in the consolidation of remote identification in France. It transposes the Fifth Money Laundering Directive, where the establishment of a long-distance relationship is no longer considered a high-risk situation. The new Article R561-5-2 appears to regulate cases where the identification is not carried out with a sufficient level of guarantee, as is the case in the physical presence of the customer.


ZealiD Team: What was the status of remote identification in France before Article R561-5-2?

Maria: Before the incorporation of this new article, there was only Article R561-5-1. Cases that allowed remote identification were very limited. They were also restricted by means of electronic identification which either;

a) ANSSI's (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d'information) certified or accredited, or

b)  A scheme notified by a Member State of the European Union issued.

Moreover, its formulation was different from the current one. Previously, it required a "high assurance level". With the current regulation,  a "substantial level” replaces the assurance level. As a result, there is now full alignment with the eIDAS Regulation.


ZealiD Team: What are the main changes?

Maria: The main change is that alternative means of identification can be used when the customer is not physically present. Measures with a security level equivalent to face-to-face measures are carried out. Thus, KYC obligations can be fulfilled when at least two of the six regulated measures are applied, including the use of a Remote Identity Verification Provider and/or the use of advanced or qualified electronic signature. This makes remote identification easier and more accessible in practice.


ZealiD Team: Are businesses ready for these changes?

Maria: This is undoubtedly a long-awaited regulatory change for the French market. It was necessary to transpose the latest European Directive. Moreover, the penetration of electronic signatures in France is high. Thus, one might think that companies were eager and well prepared for these changes. However, legislative changes are always followed by uncertainty. This often surrounds how the authorities will define the development of the rules. Standards are general; practice and technology are full of use cases. For example, in the case of Remote Identity Verification Providers (Prestataires de Vérification d'Identité à Distance, in French), ANSSI's position was long overdue. Companies that decide to use this measure for identification need to adapt to this instrument.

easier and more accessible in practice.


ZealiD Team: How do businesses need to prepare for these changes?

Maria: In my opinion, the most important aspect to take into account is the correct fulfilment of due diligence obligations. When deciding to use measures with digital and technical components, it's essential to select and use a trusted service provider that complies with the  eIDAS requirements. The new regulation gives the possibility to choose two out of six different options for customer identification. On the surface, this may appear to be "easy". Yet, the development of this regulation sets high technical standards, especially towards security. In short, the choice of trustworthy providers is essential.


ZealiD Team:  What are the benefits for businesses and consumers?

Maria: The inclusion of this article R561-5-2 is a revolution in French legislation because it gives the market great flexibility and dynamism. For businesses, this translates into savings. They can choose from a large number of solutions that adapt to their needs. These benefits come without losing security whilst guaranteeing compliance with KYC obligations. For consumers, their user experience increases substantially. Now they will be able to identify themselves quickly and remotely.