With last weeks acquisition of Digital Signature Trust Co. by Identrus LLC, the possibility of a standard, secure payment and authentication system for banking and financial services moved a big step closer to reality.
DST, jointly owned by Zions Bancorporation and the American Bankers Association, operates a managed digital certificate service for secure online transactions among banks and businesses. Identrus, meanwhile, provides strong authentication and payment-initiation services to financial institutions and other businesses that join its network.
Executives at the two companies believe that the services are complementary and that their combination should produce a global network of trust that could greatly accelerate the pace of online transactions.
Identrus, based in New York, has traditionally had a much stronger presence internationally than it has in the United States, and DSTs tight ties to the domestic banking industry was one of the things that attracted Identrus to the deal.
"Weve gained a strong foothold in the U.S. market by developing applications that enable government, mortgage banking and utilities to conduct business in the most secure and trusted environment available. Now, Identrus can add the U.S. market to its global reach," said Scott Lowry, CEO of DST, in Salt Lake City.
Known as Trust-ID, DSTs flagship service acts as a trusted third party for online transactions. But the company also has a host of other services, including a secure document-delivery service, a secure wireless application environment and the TrustExchange platform, which helps companies add digitial certificates to existing applications.
DSTs portfolio clearly meshes well with Identrus, but there are still a good number of technical and business challenges the companies must overcome.
"Im not silly enough to use the word easy, but I think we start from very complementary positions," said Greg Worch, chief marketing officer at Identrus. "Theres the issue of policy integration and the challenge of pulling everything together into a common framework for our users."
Although the two companies are merging, their respective services will still retain unique identities, Worch said, and will continue to be available individually.
The companies said that the merger has been in the works for some time and that they dont anticipate snags in completing the transaction. No timetable has been set for the mergers closing.