When originally set up, the Government Gateway was a central place where you could register to use online government services. But recent changes to the system and the introduction of gov.uk Verify may have you a bit confused. So we are here to break down five things you need to know about the Government Gateway.
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1. The Government Gateway does still exist
The Government Gateway was previously the system that we all had to use to register for UK government online services. So if you needed to renew a driving licence or fill in a tax return, you would have set up a Government Gateway ID.
But in March 2019, the Government Gateway was decommissioned and digital services were supposed to migrate to different systems. So you may now see some services using gov.uk Verify instead.
However, HMRC decided to develop its own sign-in system for its online services. This still uses a Government Gateway ID.
2. It has a two-step verification
The main purpose behind having a Government Gateway ID is that the government knows you are who you say you are. It obviously doesn’t want just anyone being able to access sensitive and personal information.
So there is a two-step verification process in place. When registering for a Government Gateway ID, you will be asked to provide details or a mobile phone or landline where an access code can be sent each time you log in.
Alternatively, you can choose to use an authentication app like Microsoft Authenticator, which will provide you with a time-based one-time password (TOTP).
3. The Government Gateway and gov.uk Verify exist in parallel
Depending on which government service you are using, you may have seen gov.uk Verify as an option for signing in.
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The gov.uk Verify service is another verification system for government online services such as your personal tax account or self-assessment.
The difference is that gov.uk Verify uses third-party providers certified to verify identity. So your information is not stored centrally.
Currently, it runs in parallel with the Government Gateway. But it is expected that more government online services will start using gov.uk Verify in the future.
4. You can recover or reset your ID and password
If you have forgotten your ID and/or password, then you can have these recovered. Or you can simply reset your password.
The site does suggest that you look through your emails for ‘Government Gateway user ID’. However, if you still can’t find it, then you just need to follow the steps on the gov.uk website.
5. Using the Government Gateway or gov.uk Verify will not affect your credit score
The Government Gateway and gov.uk Verify are identity verification services. Particularly with gov.uk Verify, you will find that the third-party provider will ask for your personal details and then check these against records held by mobile phone providers, credit agencies, HM Passport Office or the DVLA.
It is important to know that these checks will not affect your credit score. You are not applying for credit and it is not anything to do with finances. They are literally trying to confirm that you are who you say you are, so your credit score will remain untouched.
On the flip side, if you register for the electoral roll, then you can actually improve your credit score. Lenders checking your credit report can then be confident of your identity if they see that you are registered to vote.
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