Author: Randolph MacFarlane
Balancing modern identity verification with customer experience has never been easy, but how do you achieve that when customers are more mobile than ever and demanding seamless omnichannel banking?
In today’s modern world, protecting customer data is high on every organisation’s agenda. With stories of fraud never far from the headlines, organisations large and small have become extra cautious about how they verify identities. But today’s globalised world is making verification more complex.
Organisations are also very aware that making that process too complex will drive customers away – customers who are already demanding a simpler, seamless omnichannel banking.
Whatever their industry sector, organisations have a fine balancing act to perfect.
Verifying identities in a more global world
People are travelling more freely today than ever before. More than that, they’re trading and setting up residence in countries far from their homeland. They’re opening up bank accounts, signing up for local telecoms and utility contracts, setting up accounts with local retailers, engaging with city authorities, registering with local schools and healthcare providers and more.
Verifying the identity of foreign nationals can be quite complex and verifying that documents are legitimate can also be difficult. Identity documents – including passports and driving licences – might be in an unfamiliar language or format.
Traditional types of security checks often haven’t evolved to deal with these new challenges.
A seamless customer experience
All the while, customers are demanding a truly omni-channel experience.
Take someone applying for a mortgage, for instance. They might start their application one evening at home on a tablet while they sit in front of their TV. One of the kids calls and wants picking up. They save what they’ve filled in so far, log off and put down their tablet.
The applicant might want to carry on completing the same application on their smartphone while waiting in their car, for instance, picking up from exactly where they left off. At some point – whether then or another day – they might need to call the help desk for advice. They expect the person answering the call to know exactly where they are up to.
More than just simply filling in the form and interacting with an advisor on their channel of choice, they also want to complete the identity verification process on the channel of their choosing. That process must also fit seamless into the overall engagement.
Getting that right and keeping it secure without adding extra layers of complexity for users isn’t easy – especially when you have to verify the applicant’s identity multiple times on multiple channels as they progress their application.
So how do organisations deal with managing increasingly complex identity verification while simplifying the customer experience?
Getting smarter with digital security
The answer lies in building a bigger picture of a user’s digital profile, allowing organisations to be smarter about how they verify identities.
Firstly, today’s increasingly digital world sees computers hold a growing wealth of information about each and every one of us – our likes and dislikes, our habits and behaviours. When it comes to verifying an individual’s identity, organisations would benefit from broadening their sources of information to build a bigger picture of any person whose identity they need to verify.
Take social media for example. A user’s presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more can build a picture of an individual’s social behaviour. Add to that information accessible through credit reference agencies and insurance databases, and it might give some insight into specific patterns of behaviour.
These may reveal, for instance, that a person has – on a number of occasions – taken out insurance against a smartphone only to make a claim for its loss within a few weeks and then cancel that insurance. That pattern of behaviour might suggest there is a higher risk of that individual being a fraudster.
Of course, it should be noted that access to some sources of information will vary across the globe. Different countries have different regulations on what information is available.
Checking data across digital platforms
Bringing together these snippets of information about a person, alongside any documentation they provide themselves, creates a more complete picture of their character. It provides a better understanding of the risk that they might commit fraud and, in doing so, the level of verification needed to mitigate that risk.
And since the information is all digital, it can be accessed rapidly, without impacting the user experience, while the applicant is filling in their form online.
Information from the various sources could even be cross-checked against each other and with information already held for additional security.
Take a telecoms company as an example. Today’s Telcos are increasingly capturing individual’s fingerprints as they broaden biometric access to smartphone applications. When someone asks to set up a new contract, why not cross-check their fingerprint with the one already held?
Digital through and through
Digital profiling not only strengthens identify verification, it also opens up a wealth of opportunities for simplifying the identity verification process – and more.
A new resident registering with the city authorities could simply take a photo of their ID using their smartphone or webcam and upload that for verification. A character recognition package could then extract any relevant data from the photo and translation software could convert any text that’s not in English. The information gathered could pre-populate a form while carrying out fraud prevention checks – silently and rapidly in the background.
In fact, we’ve looked at the whole on-boarding process for financial services organisations – beyond just the identity verification process – and can’t identify any parts of it that we couldn’t digitalise.
How is digital helping you deliver the security and experience that modern customers expect?
Progressive security holds the promise of banking applications that tailor the balance between usability and security dynamically for each user, in the user ’s context, in real time.