What is Identity Verification & How Does it Work?

In the digital age, the importance of identity verification is paramount. As we increasingly live our lives online, the need for secure, reliable, and efficient identity verification methods has become crucial. But for those new to this field, the world of identity verification can seem like a complex labyrinth. This guide aims to demystify the process, providing a comprehensive introduction to identity verification and its importance in our digital lives.

Identity verification is a security measure that ensures a person is who they claim to be. This process is crucial in preventing fraud, enhancing security, and maintaining trust in online transactions. Identity verification can involve various methods, from traditional ones like passwords and security questions to more advanced techniques like biometrics and multi-factor authentication.

What Is Identity Verification?

Identity verification is the method used to correlate a person’s claimed identity with the supporting evidence they present. This means it scrutinizes the validity of identification documents and other pieces of evidence to confirm the person is indeed who they say they are.

Crucial evidence for this process can include officially issued identification, security credentials, and legal papers. An ID verification service possesses the capacity to meticulously examine these documents to ensure their authenticity, often conducting this assessment remotely through online identity verification.

KYC Hub Identity Verification Solution

Why Do We Need Identity Verification?

Financial institutions must step up their game in a digital world where new customers expect to open an account with a few clicks. Digital identity verification enables remote onboarding, enhancing customer experience and fighting application fraud.

When a new customer applies remotely for an account, facial comparison technology comes into play. First, the ID document’s authenticity is checked. Then, the customer takes a selfie, and this image is compared with the one on the verified ID document. If both match, we can confidently say that the customer is genuinely present and not someone attempting fraud. This method effectively helps in establishing trust and safeguarding against fraudulent activities.

Identity verification plays a crucial role in maintaining security and trust. It helps prevent identity theft, a growing concern with the rise of online transactions. Moreover, it enables businesses to comply with regulatory requirements, such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws.

Identity Verification

Identity verification is not just about security; it’s also about customer experience. A smooth and efficient verification process can enhance user experience, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. On the other hand, a cumbersome process can lead to frustration and abandonment, negatively impacting a business’s bottom line.

Different Methods of Identity Verification

There are several methods of identity verification, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s explore some of the most common ones:

  • Two-factor authentication, often shortened to 2FA, calls for users to present a pair of verification elements to confirm their identity. This might involve something they’ve memorized (such as a password), something in their possession (like a cell phone), or a unique physical attribute they possess (for instance, a fingerprint).
  • Biometric Verification is an advanced method that uses unique physical or behavioral traits, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice patterns, to verify identity. While highly secure, it also raises privacy concerns.
  • Knowledge-based authentication (KBA): This involves answering security questions when creating a new email account, for example. The assumption is that only the user knows the answers.
  • Email verification: Service providers usually validate the authenticity of the user’s email address to confirm the actual owner is the user.
  • Phone verification: Much like email verification, mobile phones verify identity. A verification code is sent via SMS, commonly referred to as a One-time Password (OTP), which a user can enter into the system for verification.
  • Mobile app authentication: This involves dedicated authentication Android apps like Google Authenticator, Authy, or LastPass, which generate a time-sensitive code each time a user attempts to access a resource.
  • Social verification: If a user has already verified his/her identity with a social media platform provider and earned a verification badge, simply logging into your social media account can be enough to access another service provider’s account.
  • Digital signature: A digital signature, which uses unique cryptographic keys, is a secure alternative to a handwritten signature.
  • Document Verification: This involves verifying the authenticity of physical documents, such as passports or driver’s licenses. While reliable, it can be time-consuming and inconvenient for users.
  • Online Verification: Online verification employs a variety of methods to validate and authenticate government-issued IDs presented by an individual. It integrates artificial intelligence, combined with human and computer assessments, for layered validation.
  • Authentication through the Credit Bureaus technique involves credit bureaus employing data from one or multiple such institutions. These firms keep records of consumer credit details, encompassing elements like names, addresses, and social security numbers. However, individuals with scant credit history, such as newcomers and young adults, might not meet the criteria to be part of this process.

How Does Identity Verification Work?

Identity verification in the digital age is like a virtual handshake. It compares a piece of information a person has, like facial biometrics or an ID document, with a verified data set, like government-held passport data. There are numerous ways to do this, including ID document verification, biometric verification, liveness detection, knowledge-based authentication, one-time passcode verification, trusted identity networks, and database methods. The main goal? To prove that a person is who they say they are.

  • ID Document Verification

When you’re opening a new bank account or getting on board with a financial service, they need to know you’re legit. That’s where ID document verification comes in, acting as a digital gatekeeper. It uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to analyze your ID document like a passport or driver’s license. It checks if the fonts, corner roundness, and security features like watermarks match the genuine template. The end goal is to weed out the fakes from the real deals.

  • Facial Biometrics: Your Face, Your Identity

Did you know your face could be used as a password? Facial biometrics work by extracting data from an image of your face. They examine relative distances between your features like your eyes and create a dataset. Then, it compares this dataset with the one from your verified source like an ID document. If both datasets match, you’re verified!

  • Beneficial Biometrics

Verifying ID documents is a good start, but it doesn’t complete the trust circle. By adding biometric verification into the mix, we ensure that the remote user is the person they claim to be on their ID document. Also, features like face liveness detection help to counter any attempts at fraud.

  • Liveness Detection: Keeping It Real

To ensure the person in front of the camera is real and not a static image or a video, liveness detection is used. Techniques range from simple head movements to advanced thermal imaging. While some may require special hardware, others are easily applicable to commercial uses.

Digital Defense: How to Prevent Identity Theft with ID Verification

Identity Verification Vs Authentication

The process of establishing one’s identity is more than just presenting proof of identification, yet falls short of the robustness required for complete authentication. If someone is asked to display an ID card like a driver’s license, a Social Security card, or a birth certificate, it’s generally a part of the identity verification process, not authentication.

The simplicity of this process is akin to someone saying they’re “John Doe,” our questioning if they truly are, and being content with their affirmative response coupled with some basic documentation. However, this barely scratches the surface of true identity verification.

To provide a more thorough example, we might validate someone’s passport against a database containing a duplicate set of their information, ensuring that the picture and physical descriptors align with the person before us. While this approach takes us a step closer, it still doesn’t reach the level of certainty provided by authentication.

The application of identity verification is widespread, extending beyond personal interactions to include digital systems. In numerous instances, for instance, when sending an email, the identity we claim is assumed to be correct without any further attempts to authenticate us.

This lax approach to security is a major factor contributing to the immense volume of unsolicited emails. An estimated 70.7% of all emails sent in the second quarter of 2013 were spam as published in a research paper.

Benefits of Identity Verification

Digital identity verification truly shines when it comes to providing a top-notch user experience that can enhance the growth of digital channels. This method is useful for financial institutions as it helps cut down fraud risks when dealing with remote, unidentified applicants or potential customers.

In addition, this tech-savvy method supports financial institutions in adhering to KYC regulations. How does it do that? Well, it uses facial biometric tech to confirm the person using the ID matches the face on the ID document.

And the best part? It’s user-friendly and easily accessible to everyone. It leverages mobile image capture technology to extract data directly from the document, thus eliminating the need for manual data entry.

Lastly, it’s lightning-fast. Depending on your provider, you can verify documents in seconds, saving time and boosting efficiency. What used to take up to five minutes can now be achieved in less than ten seconds!

Why Industries Can’t Ignore Identity Verification?

As businesses become increasingly digital, identity verification becomes paramount for preventing fraudsters from using forged identities. Here’s why incorporating digital identity verification is crucial:

1: Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules enforced by the FATF can be challenging. Digital identity verification can simplify these obligations, promoting secure business operations and reducing instances of money laundering and terrorist financing.

2: Safeguarding Minors: Age verification alone is insufficient to prevent minors from accessing mature content. Adequate identity verification can help sectors like alcohol retail, gaming, gambling, and social media platforms ensure they’re not inadvertently accessible to underage individuals.

3: Preventing Fraud: The spike in criminal activities necessitates robust security measures. Digital identity verification, using AI-powered tools like consent verification, face verification, and document authentication, can outperform manual checks, swiftly filtering out potential fraudsters and ensuring only legitimate customers are onboarded.

KYC Hub Digital Signature Solutions

Digital Verification: Use Cases Across Sectors

The advancement of technology has brought about significant benefits to businesses and individuals, but it has also opened the door for cyber criminals to exploit vulnerabilities in digital systems. As a result, organizations across various sectors are now recognizing the importance of implementing robust digital identity verification measures to protect sensitive information and prevent fraudulent activities.

Let us explore some of the key industries that have adopted digital identity verification and examine the various use cases for this technology.

1: Financial Services: Entities like banks, insurance companies, crowdfunding platforms, and digital payment services are turning to identity verification solutions. These digital tools aid in streamlining the onboarding process, bolstering security, and enhancing customer experience.

  • Here’s how it works

When a customer applies online and uploads identifying documents like a driver’s license or passport, the identity verification system swings into action.

Using high-tech algorithms and machine learning, the system scrutinizes the provided documents for authenticity, checks for tampering, and confirms that the data matches official records. Some systems even use facial recognition to compare a live image of the customer with their ID photo, adding another layer of verification.

2: E-commerce: The industry grapples with fraud as hackers use fake or stolen identities to manipulate online transactions. Thus, identity verification fortifies transactions’ integrity and enhances shipping operations’ effectiveness.

  • Here’s how it works

The process starts when a customer purchases and is typically asked to provide necessary information like name, shipping address, and payment details. The identity verification system then uses complex algorithms and machine learning to validate these details.

It also checks if the payment method matches the customer’s name, the shipping address is genuine and not associated with fraudulent activities, and the device or IP used for the purchase isn’t linked to any suspicious behavior.

In some cases, additional steps might be implemented, like two-factor authentication, where the customer receives a one-time code on their registered phone number or email to confirm the transaction.

3: eSports/Gaming:

The Esports industry is set to reach a market value of $1.64 billion in 2023 with a CAGR of 16.7%, according to GlobalData. This growth indicates that the sector is also a hotbed for enthusiasts and opportunistic fraudsters alike.

With over a billion gamers online, over half of them face potential risks from cybercriminals who exploit the platform for illegal activities, such as money laundering and terrorist financing. Therefore, implementing digital identity verification could be a game-changer, helping to keep these platforms secure.

  • Here’s how it works

In Esports, identity verification requires gamers to provide specific identification information, such as an ID or a photo, before participating on the platform. The system analyzes these details using machine learning and AI algorithms to confirm their authenticity, thereby ensuring that only legitimate players gain access, keeping potential fraudsters at bay.

In conclusion, while we’ve delved into the crucial role identity verification plays in finance, e-commerce, and esports, it’s worth noting that its relevance extends far beyond these sectors. Industries such as travel, healthcare, and even government agencies greatly benefit from reliable identity verification practices. This was a glimpse into a few applications, but remember, each industry has unique needs.

Global Standards In Digital Identity Verification

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital identity verification, countries worldwide have established regulatory frameworks to keep things in check. For instance, guidelines like the 5th Anti-money Laundering Directive (AML5) and electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS) play crucial roles in the European Union.

While AML5 is all about preventing money laundering and financing terrorism, eIDAS is there to supervise essential elements of digital ID checks, such as the use of electronic signatures.

Across the pond, in the United States, banks operate under the Customer Identification Program (CIP) oversight. This rule demands that financial institutions hold a reasonable belief that every customer who initiates a banking relationship is indeed who they profess to be. Born out of the Bank Secrecy Act, the U.S. Patriot Act revamped the CIP, which has been compulsory for financial bodies since 2003.

The ISO/IEC 29115:2013 also plays a vital role in structuring entity authentication assurance within any given context. It’s like the roadmap that:

  • Puts forth four distinct levels of entity authentication assurance
  • Sets out the criteria and advice needed to reach each of these four assurance levels
  • Offers helpful tips for correlating other authentication assurance strategies to these four levels
  • Share wisdom on how to exchange the outcomes of authentication based on these levels; and
  • Imparts guidance on the controls necessary for mitigating potential authentication threats.

Future: Harnessing Advanced Identity Verification

Organizations, anywhere in the world, walk a tightrope. Without securing their customers’ trust, they stand on shaky ground, with the risk of losing business. Regrettably, subpar ID verification often leaves a gaping hole that tricksters love to exploit, causing consumer confidence to crumble.

The answer? It’s all about layering. Think of a sophisticated blend of identity verification measures and risk-based analytics. These systems, powered by machine learning, are smart enough to distinguish between a genuine customer and a fraudster. They stand guard, offering protection against financial crimes right from the get-go – when the account is first set up, throughout its maintenance, and across all transactions.


In the future, reliable identity verification is the key to securing trust, enhancing user experience, and safeguarding against fraud. Incorporating cutting-edge technology, KYC Hub offers robust and efficient identity verification solutions. Take a step towards enhanced security and customer confidence with KYC Hub today – because a safer digital world starts with you.

Are you interested in exploring a tailor-made identity verification solution for your sector? We’re here to guide you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to KYC Hub.

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