Article 4 min

How to Verify Documents Online

Verify documents online

April 25, 2023  

Organizations that authenticate digital images of government-issued identity documents can onboard customers remotely, comply with regulatory requirements and mitigate risk.

The image-capture process, which involves document analysis and comparing the information with other identity data, is a critical step in an identity document program that influences the user experience and acceptance rates.

How Online Identity Document Verification Works

Verification typically starts with a person taking a picture of a driver’s license, passport, national ID card or other identity document. Document placement and proper lighting are essential to ensuring the image quality is sufficient for analysis.

Guided image capture with instructions and real-time feedback can enhance the customer experience and accelerate verification. Organizations can further streamline the process with capabilities that automatically detect glare or blur and ensure the photo captures the entire document. 

The customer then submits a live selfie so the organization can confirm the ID is not stolen.

The next step in verification involves comparing the document image to corresponding government templates and checking for evidence of tampering to the text or portrait. Face detection algorithms help ensure the selfie image matches the document portrait. 

The analysis also includes checking for security features – such as microprints, watermarks or holograms – and extracting data from the image to cross-validate it with data sources.

Why Businesses Use Online Identity Document Verification

Digital identity verification enables organizations to expand global operations without a physical local presence. Identity document verification offers several advantages.

  • Onboarding thin-file customers or people in regions with low data source penetration 
  • Meeting Know Your Customer, customer due diligence and Anti-Money Laundering requirements with a verification method regulators often prefer
  • Enhancing risk mitigation

The “Market Guide for Identity Proofing and Affirmation” by Gartner® highlights the benefits of identity document verification. 

“The identity assurance achieved with this capability used in isolation is relatively strong,” according to the guide, “relying on both ‘something only you hold’ and ‘something only you are.’”

Identity document verification can deliver accurate, reliable results so good customers onboard quickly and bad actors can’t gain access.

Identity Document Verification Technology

While the experience for the consumer is as easy as taking a photo, the technology to verify the identity document is sophisticated.

Machine learning technology detects and autocaptures the document and selfie. Verification benchmarks such as those set by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology and iBeta require deep expertise with probabilistic models and confusion matrices.

Meticulous user interface and experience research provides customer reassurance with intelligent design cues. Coding and artificial intelligence optimize front- and back-end performance.

Behind the scenes, an automated process that can get good customers through in seconds requires fast networks, computing power and secure, scalable operations. The system also can achieve higher verification rates by quickly delivering a manual review that provides a second chance to onboard a good customer who didn’t pass the automatic checks.

Organizations can measure the strength of an identity document verification capability. How fast does a user complete the capture process? How quickly does it provide verification results? What are the pass and rejection rates?

Important Considerations for Identity Document Verification

Identity verification sets the tone for the customer relationship and provides essential information for operations. Businesses face critical decisions in choosing identity verification types and partners.

Those decisions become easier when businesses can answer questions about their verification needs.  Where does the organization operate and what are its expansion strategies? What regulatory compliance requirements govern the business? Who are the business’s customers? What are their risk profiles?

There are additional questions to ask when choosing a partner for identity document verification. 

  • What countries are supported? 
  • How many different document templates are supported per country? 
  • How many languages are supported?
  • What transaction-detail reports are available?
  • Are audit trails available?
  • What are the requirements for contracting and integration?
  • Is there post-sale support?
  • How easy is it to add new markets or use cases?
  • How easy is it to share information with other services and tools?
  • What are the total costs of verifying a customer?

Identity document verification is a powerful capability that can add certainty to customer onboarding. With the right verification partner, businesses can provide high assurance for regulators, build a strong line of defense against fraud and accelerate global expansion.

Identity Document Verification

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