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What Is Identity Verification?
Identity verification is a process used to confirm a user’s identity; to authenticate that person is exactly who they say they are. It has been around for a lot longer than you may think.
It is not unusual to show our passport when we travel abroad, or our driver’s licence when opening a bank account. Manual identity verification has been the most common way we prove who we are for a long time, but as we shift more and more of our lives into the online space, digital identity verification is becoming the way we identify ourselves.
If you have ever applied for a passport or driving licence or made an online purchase, you will have come across some method of digital identity verification.
It is a requirement for almost all online transactions. Whether applying for an official document or purchasing something from an online shop, these businesses will use specific tools to authenticate the user.
The importance of identity verification whilst using online banking or when purchasing a product or service is of course apparent, but more complex methods of identity verification are increasingly being used in online businesses and institutions such as E-Learning services, social media and dating apps, and gambling/e-gambling sites.
As our entire world shifts towards digital services, we need to be able to protect ourselves from the risk of cybercrime and identity theft, even for something as simple as a dating site.
Why Is Identity Verification Important?
In the digital age we live in, most businesses operate in the online space and interactions with customers happen online. The days of face-to-face verification are over, and they need to have some way of protecting both their business and the customer.
Identity theft, fraud, and cybercrime are widespread in the online world, and identity verification tools provide the barriers that eliminate these risks.
In some industries, global regulators have strict policies relating to identity verification methods. Businesses can risk fines and legal action if they do not follow the rules and regulations required for their particular industry.
In the banking industry identity verification is extremely important to protect consumers’ financial assets. They also have some strict regulations to follow, such as Know Your Customer (KYC), which is the process of identifying someone at the first stages of the interaction.
Using advanced identity verification methods provides customers with a strong level of trust and reliability in the business. Enhanced levels of trust will lead to high levels of satisfaction and customer loyalty in the future.
How Has Identity Verification Developed?
Identity verification in the digital world has changed considerably during the past few years. Previous methods of online verification were limited to manually inputting account details and passwords to access services and buy goods.
These methods were unreliable in their security. Weak passwords could be chosen, and details could be accessed readily. Identity theft is skyrocketing in the post-pandemic online world, and because of this, the old methods are being pushed aside for more advanced tools.
As of 2022, a whole host of advanced technology exists. Businesses and institutions use these tools to identify traits unique to the individual user. This confirms that they are who they say they are. Data verification, digital identity verification, liveness detection, and document verification, are all tools which provide strong barriers to protect against the risks associated with interactions within the online space.
Businesses can harness these methods to their advantage. Whether they choose to use just one method or many, these tools are an important step in creating a smooth user experience whilst protecting both parties.
How Do You Confirm a User’s Identity?
There are several ways that a business can verify the identity of a person using today’s technological tools:
- Document and database verification – official ID documents, such as passports and driving licences are authenticated against public and private databases.
- Biometric data – biometric data is based on individual biological characteristics that are unique to a person, such as a fingerprint or specific facial features. Apple is perhaps one of the most well-known companies to adopt this feature, with the implementation of the fingerprint technology (research and flesh this out more)
- Face and video verification – using biometric data, face verification can be verified against official ID forms such as a passport or driving licence using a photograph or video.
- One-time passcode verification – single-use codes which expire after a certain amount of time will be sent out via SMS or email which the user must verify.
- Liveness detection – advanced tools which use biometric data and analyse the background subject of videos to verify identity, and detect possible fakes.
The Best Method of Identity Verification
There is no one right way to implement digital identity verification tools. Organisations need to use a combination of tools, and choose a provider using the most up-to-date technology available on the market.
For a lot of these tools, the first step in successfully implementing them comes from the collection of consumer data at the beginning of the process. Called the onboarding process, this happens when a consumer first accesses the business’s online site and inputs their data manually. This then allows the business to first verify the details that have been given, and to continue to verify against these details in every future interaction.
The use of more streamlined tools is increasingly important, as consumers want a quick, easy, and user-friendly experience on every occasion.
Businesses should consider the best approach to digital identity verification. They should ensure that they are using the right combination of tools to provide adequate security, following the strict policies or regulations related to their industry, whilst providing the best user experience for the consumer.