What are digital badges and digital certificates?

Simply put, these are the awards gained through achievement or learning. The most common examples include:

  • Degrees issued by education providers
  • Recognition for understanding a complex topic
  • Awards for gaining a personal or professional skill

Electronic credentials such as digital certificates and digital badges are also used for:

  • Proof of association membership
  • Rewards for achievement, behaviour, and effort

What are the differences between digital badges and digital certificates?

Digital Badges

  • Commonly used for credentials that take a short time to earn, i.e. modules of a qualification or attending a conference
  • Uses shapes, colors, and symbols to represent levels of achievement
  • Designed to be easy to embed across different types of platforms

Digital badges can represent any type of credential. We often see organizations use digital badges to represent individual modules but some use them across all credentials, including "high-stakes" ones. Some companies use only digital badges, some only issue digital certificates, and some choose to use both. Accredible gives organizations the flexibility to decide how to use credentials. Including full control over the look and feel, depending on the strategy and what credentials need to communicate.

Digital Certificates

  • The digital representation of a paper certificate awarded for achievement or education
  • Awarded for credentials that take a longer time to earn, i.e. completing an online degree or membership of a professional association
  • Accompanied by work samples or references

Another commonly seen phrase is Open Badges. Open Badges are the technical standard developed by the Mozilla Foundation in 2011. The standard is used to maintain the quality of digital badges by ensuring consistent and relevant information is displayed.

What are the benefits of digital credentials?

Making the switch to digital credentials saves businesses time and money. By freeing up resources, staff can develop skills outside their area that:

  • Support other departments
  • Help to grow the company
  • Improve customer support

Take this example case study from the Digital Marketing Institute. They approached Accredible with a problem, – ‘how can we reduce the time spent issuing credentials?’. At the time, the monthly workload of issuing certificates took at least 8 hours to complete. The Accredible Credential Management System cut this time by 93.75%, reducing the monthly workload to half hour and improving team productivity.

Further benefits of digital credentials include:


Verifying qualifications is a difficult and time-consuming process. Paper certificates are easy to misplace or become damaged over time. Often, employers need to rely on the candidate to provide proof of their achievement. Digital certificates and badges simplify the process by:

  • Offering one-click verification
  • Saving time for HR departments
  • Being near-impossible to fake

In a study by Zippia, 1,000 US professionals were surveyed about the truthfulness of their resume. Of which, 30% said they had ‘bent the truth’ or lied on their resume about their skills or experience.


Issuing digital certificates and badges through an automated system is simple and efficient. Save hours of admin time by integrating digital credentialing software into existing workflows, or batch upload via spreadsheet. Supported by a robust API and Zapier, integrations can be made across many of the leading LMS’. Get the job done easily with Accredible, offering basic integrations as standard across all our plans.

Incorrect spellings and design mistakes create extra cost when issuing physical credentials. One certificate is a simple fix but amending hundreds, if not thousands, is expensive. By automating the process, businesses can benefit from:

Automated typo correction

Recipients notice a spelling mistake of one or two characters in their name and submit a correction request. Rather than requiring a team member to manually review requests, these small typos are automatically corrected by the platform.

Retroactive design amendments

Amend an existing design and update all digital certificates in a single click. In an example from McGraw-Hill, they created a set of excellent digital badges influenced by the belts used in karate. After publishing the first batch, they added L1, L2, L3 and L4 to represent levels and circled the relevant value on each badge. Using Accredible’s platform, they were able to make the change and roll it out to all their previously issued digital badges with ease. Read more about McGraw-Hill’s implementation of digital badges in their Q&A.

The benefits of digital credentials for recipients


Digital badges compliant with the Open Badge standard can be added to existing badge backpacks. Backpacks serve as a central place to manage, display, and organize digital badges. For convenient verification on the go, recipients upload their digital badges to digital wallets (Apple Wallet and Google Pay). These features are native to Accredible’s digital badges making it easy to provide credentials on demand or proof of association membership.

For example, Samantha is attending an interview for a new job. The interviewer reviewing her resume requests details about modules for a listed qualification. Sam refers to her digital wallet containing her digital badges. In this simple exchange, Sam has:

  • Provided proof of her qualification
  • Informed the interviewer about the depth of her knowledge
  • Opened up a conversation topic around the other digital badges Sam holds


Learners work hard to achieve their qualifications. Once they’ve reached a goal, they excitedly share their news with friends and family. Digital certificates are easy to share to social media platforms, embed in an email or on a webpage.

This offers several advantages over the use of traditional paper certificates:

  • Track real-time engagement and views of digital badges and digital certificates
  • Grow awareness for the program or course, and the business, with branded digital credentials
  • Improve recipient employability by adding digital credentials to LinkedIn profiles or online resumes

Meet Mark and Matthew, they’ve both completed a course in Microsoft Excel and want to share their achievement. Mark tells three of his friends while Matthew shares his digital credential on social media platforms to over 300 engaged followers. Not only has Matthew had a broader reach but several recruiters saw his announcement and have dropped him a message. Some of Matthew’s followers are also interested in gaining their own credential and inquire with the company that issued his.

Make the change with Accredible

Digital credentials support businesses and associations looking to undergo digital transformation.

If the goal of the business is to:

  • Save time for administration when issuing and verifying digital certificates and badges
  • Cut the costs of materials, packaging, and postage
  • Grow the awareness of digital credentials, courses, and the company online
  • Provide a convenient, portable method of verification for recipients
  • Protect the integrity of qualifications by preventing fraudulent claims

Accredible achieves all this and more. Start the digital transformation today and give teams the tools to do more with their time.

Further Reading

Eager to learn more about how digital credentials will benefit your business? We’ve got a guide for that.

Click the link to download our comprehensive ‘Features and Services Guide’. This guide details exactly what the Accredible Credential Management System can do. Helping businesses of all sizes to make an informed decision when choosing digital credentials.

Get the Guide