Customer verification has been an issue ever since the first remote ATMs appeared in the 1970s. Then, as now, businesses recognized the need for effective solutions that were not cumbersome. Back then, the solution was a double-layer security system: A bank-issued card that also required a Personal Identification Number.
Today, new banking and privacy laws make customer authentication much more important than it was before. Furthermore, there is often a lot more at stake than a few dollars of cash in today’s online transactions. To make the leap, most businesses need a three-prong approach.
State-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards are by far the most common form of picture ID in the United States. Fraudulently-produced documents are still an issue, but thanks to the emergence of smart technologies and the vigilance of document inspectors, such problems are not nearly as troublesome as they were before.
So, most all online ID-requiring transactions accept such documents. The same technology that makes them more fraud-proof also makes these documents easier to use in the online realm. In only a second or two: a three-step process occurs:
- Image Acquisition: This is no ordinary selfie. The picture frame is pre-sized for the identification card. Furthermore, the image quality is very sharp, because it’s easier to take a picture of a non-moving document than a moving object. Finally, the camera automatically filters out some background images.
- Information Extraction: Image capture is only stepped one. Data must be processed both quickly and accurately. Then, this information must get to its destination just as quickly.
- Verification: Most drivers’ licenses and identification cards have barcodes that connect scanners to statue-run computers which verify the information. Moreover, these documents also have visual security clues which are easy to spot and hard to fraudulently reproduce, so it’s possible to verify customer IDs in real time.
The system should promote customer onboarding by being easy to use, yet at the same time, be robust enough to meet or exceed various compliance requirements. Failure is not an option in any facet. The law demands 100 percent accuracy, so do your customers, and so do you.
Almost anyone can take a picture of a card with a camera. Capturing and verifying the ID may be enough to satisfy federal and state regulators, but it’s not a sufficient foundation for a secure transaction and, more importantly, a successful customer experience.
In the preferred method, users don’t look at the smartphone or other camera and say “cheese.” Instead, they follow a moving dot or another icon on the screen. So, it’s easy to tell conclusively whether the smiling face in the system is the same person that snapped the picture.
This step is often the most difficult one. Most customer documents have lots of data which is not related to the transaction. To maximize efficiency, an identity verification service needs to know what data to process and what information it can safely disregard.
Additionally, the customer paper documents are probably not in pristine condition. They are most likely crumpled, folded, or faded. They may also have their share of coffee stains and other such obfuscations. Regardless of the document’s condition, it’s important to quickly and accurately extract both alpha and numeric characters.
Personal Identifying Information (PII) masking is often an issue as well, particularly with regard to doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals who routinely handle credit card numbers, medical diagnosis information, Social Security numbers, home addresses, and other protected information.
Your business simply cannot compete without a customer verification service that brings it all together.