What is a digital badge and how can I get one?

07 October, 2020Ouida Taaffe

How can mortgage and financial advisers show clients they offer reliable and trustworthy advice? A digital badge is more than an online indicator of accreditation. It’s a scam-proof guarantee of your professional standing that gives customers the information and reassurance they need.

Gold starsA member of the public looking for professional financial or mortgage advice will usually search online. Which adviser near me has good reviews? Who has bad reviews? What accreditation does this person have?

But the sheer volume of information online can be overwhelming. And then there is the worry of whether that glowing review is real. Are they really qualified?

Professionals advisers can, of course, refer clients to their professional body. If the client rings up, they can be reassured that the adviser is skilled and ethical. But that may be a phone call too far when people are used to one-click service.

A digital badge offers clients a way to access all the information they need – presented in a form that’s easy to understand.

How you can get a digital badge

We began piloting digital professional badges in 2019 and we’re now taking them live.

The new digital badges highlight your professional designation. They're a professional currency that  is “simple, trusted and can be easily verified in real time”.

If you’re an LIBF-trained professional, you can add your digital badge to your online presence – emails, websites and social media. Anyone who wants to check whether you have the right professional standing just clicks on it.

That takes them through to a unique URL that has details of the skills, knowledge and ethos your qualifications demonstrate. It also shows that you have a commitment to ongoing professional development.

A badge is still clickable even if it has expired, but an exclamation mark will appear if it is no longer valid.

Could someone fake a digital badge?

No – at least not one from LIBF!

Any currency that inspires confidence has to be “instantly recognisable and hard to copy”. That’s why the Bank of England introduced watermarks in bank notes in 1801, before it started using serial numbers in 1809.

Just like banknotes, professional qualifications are valuable. So we’ve made our digital badges hack proof.

In principle, someone could add a copy of the badge to, say, their LinkedIn profile – just as they can add a logo by selecting a school or college from a drop-down menu.

But the live links that underpin LIBF digital badges are supported by dedicated technology and a full website that would be hard to replicate. This is because the site not only lists qualifications and skills, it also gives professionals access to their network, including employment opportunities.

That means there is a whole ecosystem – educators, professionals and would-be employers – with a strong interest in ensuring the information is correct and protected.

And the enthusiasm professionals are showing for the badges on LinkedIn – with dozens of likes and congratulatory comments – suggests that this ecosystem will only grow.

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