Digital Onboarding Maturing With Email’s Help

online banking

Startling new technologies from mobile to cloud are revolutionizing identity verification during the mass migration to digital everything. That’s great, but it’s not always the ideal solution.

Sometimes, mature and proven ways beat new and shiny. Email is an ideal example of this.

“The role of email verification has remained largely unchanged as a critical tool to prevent fraud, improve customer service and partially verify [consumers’] identities,” Bud Walker, chief strategy officer at global identity verification and data quality solutions provider Melissa told PYMNTS. “What is changing about email verification, however, is our ability to verify emails in new ways, with new capabilities and increasingly flexible technology solutions.”

PYMNTS October Digital Consumer Onboarding Tracker® done in collaboration with Melissa looks at ID verification post-pandemic, as mass remote onboarding continues and companies seek to seal every possible route fraudsters use when they go on the attack.

Getting Authentication Right

As comfortable as we’ve all become with giving our sensitive personal information to online merchants for remote account creation, people are wising up and starting to recoil at this.

“Consumers are eager to more quickly onboard with banks or businesses, but many remain wary of sharing certain types of data. One recent study found that 70 percent of consumers are fine with providing information, such as their birthdates or email addresses, online, but just one-third would be willing to share biometric data, like facial scans or fingerprints. This indicates that verification via email addresses or phone numbers will remain popular among consumers setting up accounts, even as many ask for quicker, more flexible onboarding procedures,” according to the new Digital Consumer Onboarding Tracker®.

That’s because “Employing verification processes tied directly into the onboarding experience can eliminate frictions and boost the likelihood that consumers will complete sign-up,” per the Tracker. “Getting authentication right is therefore critical for merchants as they compete for customers with changing views regarding onboarding and their relationships with businesses.”

A Ubiquitous Digital Identity

While no one has created the impervious identity verification solution yet, the industry has gotten very good at preventing fraud. Email continues to hold immense value in this.

Email verification may be an extra step, an added friction, but it has a remarkable track record of helping prove (or disprove) identity. “Retailers may test email addresses assigned to new accounts by sending out confirmation codes or verification links that require consumers to confirm their identities and thus briefly take them out of the onboarding experience,” the Tracker notes, illuminating the effectiveness of this utterly ubiquitous form of digital identity.

As Melissa’s Bud Walker told PYMNTS, “Email verification can be as robust as needed, starting from basic syntax checks that can be implemented by any novice programmer to real-time, mailbox-level checks using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and finally to predictive AI checking and scoring. FIs can benefit from sophisticated yet cost-effective email verification services that utilize all three of the aforementioned capabilities and easily integrate into [multiple] applications or processes.”