Anything that grows faces various challenges, and even choke points — those things that can directly or indirectly cut off oxygen and other fuel, and slow or even eliminate further progress. One can see it in evolution, and in business. One can certainly see it in digital commerce and payments, as they continue to spread across the globe.
Among those challenges and choke points is seamless identity verification, especially when it comes to financial services and payments. Fraudsters are not going anywhere — in fact, they are only getting better, more organized and more technologically sophisticated. At the same time, digital operators are aggressively entering new countries and markets, and consumers are expecting not only digital experiences, but experiences that are relatively friction-free.
In a new PYMNTS interview, Zac Cohen, general manager at identity verification services provider Trulioo, talks about the changing landscape within the context of a global ID verification tool just released by the company. The offering, called EmbedID, enables businesses to query Trulioo’s API, GlobalGateway, to instantly verify customers in multiple markets by embedding a “snippet of code” to their website, particularly the sign-up or registration form. The tool is designed to combine attributes of instant verification — among the major trends in digital payments and commerce — with cross-border know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance measures.
“EmbedID creates a front-end tool that gives access to our services,” Cohen told PYMNTS, and in a way that avoids what he described as cumbersome, often friction-filled sales and contracting hassles. Pasting that “snippet of code” on websites allows clients to access “hundreds of data points” from across the globe to verify consumers. According to Trulioo, its GlobalGateway technology can give the company’s clients the ability to access some 5 billion people around the world via various data sources — some of them considered traditional, some of them not.
The effort to provide such real-time, comprehensive ID verification is consuming a host of companies and researchers around the world, eating up money and time as the race to catch up with international fraudsters — while providing compliance and seamless consumer experiences — intensifies. At the same time, companies that operate in the digital payments and commerce spaces are almost always looking to expand into new markets and countries. That task brings its own set of challenges, not the least of which is conforming to market conditions, and specific (often different) compliance and regulatory regimes.
“Each market is a little bit different,” Cohen said. “If you are launching in Canada or the U.S., that’s a lot different than launching in Brazil.”
That means any technology that seeks to bring about faster, more seamless ID verification must be able to address and reflect all those different compliance and regulatory standards. Such tools can prove especially useful for smaller businesses. However, Cohen said, companies of all sizes are becoming more willing to outsource ID verification, as that specific task takes on much more importance in the global digital economy.
As with any online transaction, anonymity stands as one of the biggest roadblocks to trust, making identity verification key to creating a framework of trust online. In an age rife with financial fraud and global terror threats, banks, FinTech companies, remittance firms and crowdfunding platforms that move money online are putting themselves at risk. Adopting transparency is key, and failing to meet KYC and AML obligations could mean severe fines.
Not only that, but fraudsters are adopting tactics and strategies that are becoming more aggressive, and perhaps even shameless, underscoring the general need for proper verification and authentication processes. Some criminals, for instance, are getting pretty good at pretending to be legitimate consumers via what’s often called synthetic IDs. It comes down to the use of consumers’ phone numbers and children’s Social Security numbers. Other fraudsters are even assuming the digital identities of dead people.
It’s not only fraud that online businesses must worry about, of course, but the best paths to growth as well. Having instant, seamless verification can provide what Cohen called “a catalyst to growth,” along with verification services that can easily adapt to various and specific use cases.
There seems little chance that all these issues will recede into the background anytime soon, and this new product provides yet another example of what’s going to be vital in the coming years to growing the digital economy.