A digital disconnect? Irish citizens say yes to online banking and public services, but need more education on the benefits of digital IDs

Research from Okta finds that over twice as many consumers in Ireland (40%) hold a challenger bank account than in the UK (17%), but almost three-quarters feel their data wouldn’t be protected in a digital ID

Dublin, Ireland - July 14, 2022 - Circumstances over the past two years have accelerated the drive towards digital services across all industries, from financial services to the public sector. But despite a greater number of online interactions, Irish consumers are still not sold on the benefits of digital IDs, according to newly published research of over 12,000 consumers, including 1,000 in Ireland, from Okta and Statista.

Almost three-quarters (72%) of those in Ireland feel their data wouldn’t be protected in a digital ID, more so than their British counterparts (58%), while nearly half (48%) would prefer a physical ID to a digital one.

However, digital scepticism is not rife in all areas. More than two-fifths (42%)of Irish citizens trust their government’s digital services, such as government websites and log-in portals for public sector services, far more than in Germany (32%), the UK (33%) and France (37%). Ireland is also most supportive of government-led vaccine passport technology in comparison to other countries, with two-thirds (66%) in favour of this, while the UK (51%) is one of the least supportive nations.

When it comes to data regulations, Irish citizens are more supportive of GDPR (69%), the EU’s data protection and privacy law, than any country surveyed. Four-fifths (79%) say that this is because they feel that governments, states and institutions should be responsible for data privacy initiatives.

“Despite confusion over the benefits of digital IDs, the vast majority of Irish consumers feel that the state should be responsible for data initiatives, which highlights a big disconnect between the two,” comments Ian Lowe, Head of Industry Solutions EMEA at Okta. “Clearly, if digital IDs are to be rolled out more broadly across Ireland, more work needs to be done to educate and communicate the benefits this could provide - from convenience to ease of use, to better security through a centralised, standardised and compliant approach. With data the largest concern around this, technology like customer identity and access management (CIAM) allows individuals to control what organisations know about them and how their data is used, whilst ensuring it is kept in one safe, secure place.”

Pioneering digital banking

Irish consumers are leading the way when it comes to digital banking, with two in five (40%) currently holding an account with a digital challenger bank, such as Monzo, Starling or Revolut, rising to half (50%) of those aged 18-29. This is more than double of most other European countries, including the Netherlands (6%), Spain (13%) and the UK (17%).

Many prefer the ease of banking or making financial transactions online (54%), and the convenience of not having to visit a physical bank branch (53%).

Three-quarters (75%) also admit to interacting with financial services and banks more digitally than physically over the past year - some (42%) because the pandemic made it inevitable, and others (33%) because they found it more convenient. As a result, a third (32%) are more trusting of digital financial services.

“Ireland shows the biggest uptake of digital banking, but interestingly, some of the highest hesitance when it comes to the adoption of digital IDs,” adds Lowe. “It’s evident that Irish citizens see the benefits of digital financial services; they regard it as easier and more convenient. By following the examples set by challenger banks, and establishing digital IDs in a similar manner, Ireland could emerge as Europe’s leader in the rollout of digital services. But in order to make this successful, trust is imperative. Governments and organisations have a key role to play in demonstrating the privacy and safety of these initiatives in order to win over the trust of the public and pioneer the move towards digitisation.”

Learn more about the recently launched Okta Ireland and how Okta is growing in Dublin here.


The research was commissioned by Okta and carried out by Statista. It was completed through an online platform. The survey was a nationally representative sample of office workers in Ireland, the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. The overall sample size was 12,010, including 1,000 respondents in Ireland.