Startup Check-In

Phone Data Adds Depth To Emailage Risk Assessment

As its name suggests, Emailage, an Arizona-based identity verification startup, uses customers’ email addresses to deliver risk scores to financial institutions (FIs) and online merchants. The service represents the company’s core competency.

However, email addresses as verification tools are no longer Emailage’s only specialty. Its risk equation now includes rich data harvested from the mobile device through which the end user is making the purchase. That data is not only leveraged by Emailage to make a risk assessment, but also passed back to the merchant or FI to leverage as well.

With so much of eCommerce now being conducted via mobile — whether that’s purchasing airline tickets, electronics or any other goods and services — it makes sense to factor mobile-specific data into risk assessment modules.

And, with the holiday shopping season just around the corner, merchants and FIs need any additional layers of security they can get in the fight against fraudsters. Emailage CPO Amador Testa said the company was very deliberate about launching the new offering in time for the busiest retail season of the year.

“So many of our customers process one-third of their transactions between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Testa said. “That’s why we launched in September — so they can benefit from better risk scoring and signals right away, when they need it most.”

Companies that worked with Emailage were already sending customer phone numbers to the startup as part of the digital identity verification process. Emailage was able to discover signals such as mobile IP address, ownership of the phone, service carrier and location where the device is typically used.

All of these data points can be lined up and compared to a live transaction to confirm that everything matches up as it should — or that it doesn’t, in the event of fraud, in which case Emailage delivers a higher risk assessment to inform the merchant’s decision to accept or decline the transaction.

Until now, merchants and FIs were only receiving the assessment, not the underlying data. The phone data is now being passed back to the Emailage customer along with the assessment. The service is available to the startup’s current customers as an add-on to the services they already receive.

Testa sees this as a distinct “enhancement” to those existing services, enabling increased accuracy and efficiency on the startup’s side as well as delivering more and better signals for customers to use as they authenticate end users going forward.

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