Looking Beyond The Selfie For ID Verification

Digital Identity

When it comes to identity verification, the (possible) devil is in the details — and the details are in the documents.

As financial services become ever more digital, the identity verification method employed by some firms may no longer be optimal. The comparison of photos to headshots process, commonplace to verifying a range of documents, may have some human assessment in the mix. That can lead to significant time lags in onboarding new customers or, worse yet, it may mean missing the chance to nip fraud in the bud.

Simply put, there’s more to the self than just the selfie. With everything from email addresses and Facebook posts to passports floating around to turn a composite portrait of an individual into reality, why not harness the power of more information that can be tracked than ever before — an individual’s ever-growing digital footprint — and use it to prove someone is who he says he is, especially when money is changing hands?

To that end, digital identity technology company Socure announced news on Monday (Sept. 11) that it is debuting the next generation of its “beyond human” predictive analytics platform. Version 3.0 of the technology, codenamed Socure “Sapphire,” comes as the company has partnered with identity verification company AU10TIX, an ICTS subsidiary, to boost digital document processing across passports and drivers’ licenses.

The announcement comes just weeks after Socure said it had closed $13.9 million in a Series B financing round led by Commerce Ventures, with participation from other financial backers. The company noted the funds would be used to build out infrastructure and boost market presence through machine learning and digital identification verification efforts.

In an interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, Socure CEO Sunil Madhu stated the new iteration of the company’s solution works across modular offerings through a single API. According to Madhu, Socure’s Sapphire will support dual identity verification for all digital and physical documents.

“People can use [Sapphire] to validate information, correlate information to prediction services and then, if they want to, step up and do secondary authentication with physical documentation,” he said.

The single API means its customers can validate their consumers’ personal identification information without having to use multiple vendors.

In terms of process, data is validated across several hundred online, offline and social data conduits. Sunil Madhu noted the data checked and confirmed through Socure’s platform spans everything from email addresses and social media accounts to passports and Social Security numbers.

The upshot is Socure customers can see returns on investment up to multiples of 10 times. Those returns are spurred by the fact its users — which include banks, global money transfer firms and digital financial services players — can accept good customers, weed out the bad ones and reduce losses tied to fraud.

Think of the process as one of trolling the internet far and wide to find data that matches and confirms the documents being offered for review and for security — all in milliseconds, Madhu said. And all of that mixing and matching is done through a dedicated identity verification robot that moves well beyond rules-based processes and human review, which are arguably much more fallible.

According to Madhu, an additional benefit for customers is they “can progressively simplify their stack” and reduce cost of ownership of technology, as Socure independently vets the vendors used. He also explained Socure chose AU10TIX as a provider after studying the accuracy and coverage of various document verification providers. Other partnerships, Madhu said, will come in time.

In a demo slated for tomorrow  (Sept. 12), Socure will see a banking application with two scenarios: a “green” scenario in which access is attempted by a legitimate user and a “red” scenario involving an illegitimate one.

Generally speaking, if documentation is provided that may be suspect, the automated risk process will mandate what Madhu termed “a positive step up” requiring additional documentation. In all cases, information offered by the consumer across names, addresses, phone and Social Security numbers receives a concurrent scan of online data repositories and social media.

The more these disparate sources correlate, said Madhu, the more trustworthy the information proffered by the customer. This can be especially useful in an age in which financial firms want to boost not only their digital footprints, but also promote financial inclusion. Consider the cases in which younger people with relatively nascent financial histories, or those with “thin file” credit profiles, seek to access a range of banking and financial products.

The real headline, said Madhu, is that version 3.0 of Socure’s Sapphire platform “supports digital identification across the digital to physical ID spectrum.”