industry news SME profile Monday 11 Jan 2021 @ 18:39 Electronic ID verification (eIDV) is essential as pandemic drives digitalisation


Electronic ID verification (eIDV) is essential as pandemic drives digitalisation


Covid-19 is driving those in the public sector to increasingly embrace digital, and at the same time look to improve engagement across all online channels.

They recognise people don’t want to visit enclosed spaces, such as government offices, because of heightened fears of the risk of Covid-19 transmission. There is also increased understanding amongst the public of the convenience of engaging via the internet. The end result is a population that wants fast and secure access to public sector services online.

With the public sector operating increasingly in the digital arena there’s a danger that they may leave themselves open to fraudulent activity. It’s already a big issue, with the National Fraud Authority estimating that around £40 billion is lost annually in the public sector. It’s expected this figure could rise due to reports of fraudulent activity in the digital space escalating significantly since March 2020.

It’s imperative those in the public sector ensure that they are dealing with the person they think they are online to help prevent fraud. The answer is to carry out effective electronic ID verification (eIDV), ideally in real time, at the point of access online. Such an approach also ensures good governance by aiding compliance with know your customer or citizen (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

eIDV is the solution

With the move to digital, the public sector must embrace automated eIDV in lieu of the manual ID checks that currently exist. So when someone completes an online application process for a service, effective cross-checks must be made against the data they have provided. To be effective this ID verification process requires the matching of the name, address, date of birth, email, or phone number against reputable data streams, including government agency, credit agency, and utility records. All this must take place in real time, to ensure a positive user experience.

This requires using an eIDV service that offers real time access to a dataset of billions of consumer records, including reputable third party and politically exposed person (PEP) data. Ideally, the service should at the same time enrich customer records, highlighting and correcting any existing inaccuracies.

Using an automated eIDV process is much better than the physical, time consuming, and much more costly checks that traditionally take place behind the scenes. It’s worth remembering that manual checks are subject to human error, coupled with lack of training that can mean the entire verification process is not as effective and stringent as it must be. And with budgets under pressure during the pandemic and staff possibly on furlough, it’s eIDV that offers a fast and cost-effective technological solution to ID verification. 

Use document verification and biometrics to support eIDV

To further prevent fraud, document verification and biometrics need to be combined as part of a strategic eIDV process. An important first step in ‘remote onboarding’ of online users is document verification. It enables those in the public sector to verify ID documentation and identify the user with confidence, as they send their ID through to the awaiting authority, in real time and via their device of choice.

Biometrics, which are human physical and behavioural characteristics that can be used to digitally identity a person, provides added value to the eIDV process. They allow a user to quickly and easily access services or their account without needing to answer time consuming security questions or remember passwords, and therefore deliver a positive experience.

It’s worth bearing in mind that basic biometric services can be hackable. Therefore, it’s vital to incorporate a biometric algorithm that checks for eye movement as part of the eIDV process. It’s the only way to ensure organisations are engaging with a real live person, not a static image or avatar to further help prevent fraud.

eIDV and artificial intelligence (AI)

While it’s an area that’s still evolving, AI can increasingly work with and improve eIDV. For example, semantic technology, or semtech, associates words with meanings and recognises the relationships between them. The machine reasoning and automated pattern recognition provided by semtech helps to identify possible fraudulent applications in real time. The same technology also makes it possible to apply context and make inferences with data, ensuring properly validated identities as well as broader data quality and integrity – all critical issues in public sector operations.

Adopt eIDV as online interactions grow

eIDV is an essential service for the public sector, particularly when the cost of embedding eIDV solutions into your platform is tiny when compared to the high risk of fraud in the digital space.

Those in the public sector without an eIDV service in place urgently need to source one, ideally featuring access to a dataset of billions of records for effective real time data validation. The adding of document verification and stringent biometric capabilities increases the value of eIDV efforts. Also, over the longer term, it’s vital to keep an eye on the evolving role of AI in improving the eIDV process.

Author: Barley Laing, UK Managing Director at Melissa

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