The Passport Validation Service (PVS) is used by organisations from both the private and public sector.
Public sector customers include the Criminal Records Bureau, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Department of Work and Pensions, e-Borders, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Revenue and Customs, Immigration and Nationality Directorate and the Police.
Within the private sector, organisations regulated by the Financial Services Authority have to comply with the "Know Your Customer" requirements in order to guard against money laundering. As part of meeting these requirements, many financial institutions already check passports of individuals as part of opening accounts or taking out loans.
PVS offers such institutions the ability to ensure that these checks are more effective and secure by confirming whether the passport presented is a valid passport and has not been reported as lost or stolen. Thus, this provides a deterrent against fraud and forgery. Private sector organisations using PVS do so via a call centre, they provide PVS with the details from the passport in front of them and PVS confirms or denies whether this information matches our records. No personal details are divulged by PVS.
There are currently seven financial services organisations using PVS. Each is regulated by the Financial Service Authority and has been accredited before being allowed to enter into contracts to use PVS. Organisations are accredited to ensure they have a legitimate need to use the service and systems are in place to regulate staff using the service and to ensure adequate data protection.
However, it is not intended that the names of these organisations should be published so as not to reduce the effectiveness of the Passport Validation Service as a deterrent to combat fraud.