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Personal key not working

A personal key is a 16-character secret code that login.gov gives you after you verify their identity. If you verified your identity on your account and later had to reset your password, you’ll be asked for your personal key.

If your personal key is not working

  • Double check to make sure you entered it correctly. Don’t worry about characters that are hard to tell apart (like O and 0), they mean the same thing to us.
  • Make sure it’s your most recent personal key. Personal keys can only be used one time, so if you’ve used it once already, we gave you a new one.

If it still isn’t working, click on the link at the bottom of the page to verify your identity again.

Personal key as an authentication method
In the past, we also gave users a personal key to use as a two-factor authentication method. It was a way to sign in to your account if you lost or changed your phone number. However, we’ve now removed the ability to use personal keys as an authentication method because they are easily lost or stolen.

If you still have the option to use a personal key, that’s because you haven’t signed in since we made the change. After you sign in with your email, password, and personal key or one-time password sent to your phone, you’ll be required to set up another authentication method. You can choose from phone SMS or voice call, authenticator app, security key, government or military employee ID (PIV/CAC), or backup codes. After you set up your new authentication method, you won’t be able to use personal key as authentication method again.

If you don’t have one of you authentication methods to sign in, you’ll need to reset your account.

Read more
Two-factor authentication
How to verify my identity