Tips for Optimizing Documentation Verification Workflows with Identity Data

For marketplace companies, verifying that a customer is who they say they are is about more than just fraud prevention. It’s a critical part of ensuring that all your users trust your platform and feel safe making transactions in the community you’re building.
In a physical business, verifying customer identity is relatively simple. Airline agents, bank tellers, and liquor store clerks can all ask to see your government issued ID, then compare that with your face to verify who you say you are. For online businesses, that’s been much trickier until recently.
Now, companies can take advantage of document verification solutions like Jumio and Mitek, which vets users against their government IDs by allowing them to scan identity documents, then take a selfie.
This creates multiple layers of identification. First, the software evaluates the document to see if it’s been altered, or if it’s an authentic form of identification. Second, the selfie is matched against the document to ensure the person creating the account is the same as the person whose document has been scanned. Third, the device ID and IP address used to submit the document and selfie can be added to the mix to determine whether they are associated with the person.
Overall, it’s a strong technique for onboarding new customers, especially for marketplace companies emphasizing trust and safety, or companies that have certain legal requirements, like scooter or bike share companies which may require users to have a valid driver’s license.
However, documentation verification isn’t without its downsides. It’s more cumbersome for users than other methods, and requires users to be reasonably savvy with technology. This puts additional friction on creating an account, which can reduce growth rates. Additionally, document scans tend to be expensive relative to the other identity verification tools available.
As always, the question becomes how can marketplace companies prioritize security and identity verification, without making it harder for good customers to create accounts?
Data verification before document verification
While checking a government issued ID and selfie is a helpful way to verify a person’s identity, it’s essentially just corroborating what has already been provided by the user. Marketplaces generally collect basic user information like name, address, phone, and email at the early stages of the account creation flow, and the document then confirms that information is correct.
In cases where the veracity of that initial information isn’t certain, document verification is critical. But in the cases where you can be fairly confident that the initial information provided is accurate, why send your customers through the inconvenient extra step?
Reduce the need for secondary identity verification checks
Ekata has worked with numerous marketplaces to optimize their account creation flow by verifying accounts with third party data before introducing high-friction, high-cost document verification solutions. It works by validating that the data a user has entered is accurate, then verifying users by identifying linkages between data points like name-to-phone and name-to-email.
Along with these positive identity signals, our data can also flag negative signals that indicate an account should be subject to more review. These include things like the date an email was first seen, phone carriers that are associated with burner phones, and IP address distance. Accounts with these signals can be required to go through additional steps.
The result? We’ve seen Ekata Identity Check API reduce the need for secondary identity verification checks by over 50%, which means those good customers were able to pass through the sign up flow without requiring a document scan. This significantly reduces friction, which results in reduced abandonment and decreased cost for the marketplace company.
Learn more about Ekata’s solutions for marketplace account opening, and find out how your company can reduce costs, decrease friction, and improve trust and safety for your users.

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