Industry

8 tips to improve online customer verification

Customer verification and user experience are often seen as competing goals, but you can find a happy medium. Here's how.

An icon of 3 people portraying people working together for customer verification.
Read time:
Share this post
Copied
Table of contents
⚡ Key takeaways
  • Customer verification and user experience are often seen as competing goals, but you can find a happy medium with risk-based segmentation and verification.
  • Try to ask for the minimum amount of information you need and automate processes to avoid unnecessary friction. 
  • Remember that risk is a spectrum, not a binary — and that identity is a relationship, not a transaction.

Verifying users’ identities can be important for fighting fraud and a necessity for meeting regulatory requirements. However, it can often interfere with product teams’ goals of onboarding users. Here are eight tips and best practices to remember as you build or revamp your online identity verification (IDV) process to balance growth, compliance, and user experience

1. Support varying types of users

Imagine someone tries to sign up for your service and immediately hits a roadblock — they can’t understand the instructions. It’s not an insurmountable challenge, but there’s a good chance you just lost a potential customer. 

With this in mind, consider whether you can support users regardless of their: 

  • Device
  • Location
  • Language
  • Accessibility needs

That’s not to say you have to cater to everyone — restricting access based on risky device signals or location might make sense. However, supporting your target users and their varying preferences and needs is essential. With this in mind, make sure your IDV provider’s global coverage aligns with your goals. 

2. Explain the process

You can also help put users at ease by explaining why you’re asking for their information, how you’ll keep it safe, and how you plan to use their information. For example, you might share that you’re using their name and phone number to verify their identity and protect their account from fraud in the future. 

It’s also important to give clear and concise directions throughout the process. Getting language and accessibility right come into play here, but it’s also important to use general best practices, such as only having one call to action per screen. 

3. Understand your risk spectrum

Take a close look at your products and services to understand all the potential risks. As you do, try to think of risk as a spectrum rather than a binary — how risky something is rather than whether it’s risky or not. 

Of course, your risk spectrum will depend on your business, product, services, and target customers. After all, a marketplace has to contend with different risks than a fintech. For example, financial institutions should do an anti-money laundering (AML) risk assessment to understand their responsibilities for know your customer (KYC) compliance

You’ll also want to stay flexible, as risk can change depending on varying economic conditions, technological advances, and even the promotions you’re offering.

4. Segment users based on risk 

Using progressive risk-based segmentation is the key to balancing verification, conversion, and user experience. Once you identify the risks associated with your organization, you can segment users based on their specific risk signals and dynamically adjust their experience as needed. 

The signals and the weighting you’ll assign will vary, but potential risk signals can include:

  • Active signals: Based on information the person provides, such as their name, Social Security number, identification documents, and a selfie
  • Passive signals: Based on information you can collect without user input, such as the user’s IP address and browser fingerprint.
  • Behavioral data: Based on how the person interacts with an app or website.
  • Third-party data: Based on information from external data sources, including issuing and authoritative databases and watchlists, adverse media, address, email, and phone risk reports.

You may also want to segment users to comply with regulatory requirements, such as those pertaining to age verification

Free white paper
Compliance doesn’t have to tank conversions

5. Only ask for what you need

The risk-based segmentation and verification process allows you to identify the minimum amount of information you need to request.

For example, you might consider onboarding new users as a low-risk event and only ask for a name and phone number to begin with. You can then quickly run a phone risk report behind the scenes and allow the person to seamlessly continue — or request additional identification — based on the results. 

The dynamic approach allows you to catch bad actors while onboarding low-risk users without much friction. For users that you onboard, you can add additional verification requests at different touch points later, such as when the person wants to complete certain transactions or change account details

6. Brand the process and pre-fill information

You can also build trust by using an IDV solution that allows you to brand and customize the look and feel of your collection and verification flows. This can have a big impact — just ask a UX designer. Plus, you can make changes based on what you know about your target audience, such as using a larger font for older users.

Additionally, look for ways to speed up onboarding and reverification by pre-filling information that users already gave you, such as their name, birthday, address, phone number, and email. They’ll appreciate the time savings, and you can both benefit from fewer typos.

7. Offer multiple verification options

It can also help to support varying documents and verification options to avoid delays and drop-offs. For instance, if you’re requesting a government ID verification, it will be easier for users if you can accept a driver’s license, state ID, national ID, or passport. 

Ideally, you can also use the latest types of identification documents, such as mobile driver’s licenses and e-passports. These electronic IDs can speed up verification, only share necessary personal information with the requesting organization, and reduce false negatives from blurry photos. 

8. Automate as much as possible

There are several benefits to automating identity verification for organizations and users alike:

  • Increase conversions
  • Keep user data private
  • Help organizations scale
  • Improve customer experience 
  • Potentially remove some bias from decisions
  • Decrease how many applications need manual reviews

Advances in computer vision, machine learning (ML), and other types of AI are making this easier. 

For instance, users who upload a picture of their ID and take a selfie might appreciate that you automatically capture the images (they don’t need to hit a button to take a picture) and fill in forms based on the data you collect. 

They might not realize that the automated systems also extract data from their ID, compare the image and selfie, run database checks, and decide whether to move the person forward, block them, or request additional information. It all happens in seconds because of automation. 

Create your online customer verification process

Persona offers the building blocks you need to create or improve your verification process at onboarding and throughout the customer lifecycle. Our customizable platform allows you to collect and verify information, create dynamic flows based on risk signals, and automate every step of the way. 

Want to learn more? Start for free or get a demo today.

Frequently asked questions

No items found.

Continue reading

Continue reading

Identity challenges in the travel industry: How hospitality businesses can fight fraud
Identity challenges in the travel industry: How hospitality businesses can fight fraud
Industry

Identity challenges in the travel industry: How hospitality businesses can fight fraud

Identity fraud in the travel industry has become increasingly common. Here are some common identity challenges and potential solutions businesses need to know about.

How digital health apps can overcome four barriers to converting users
How digital health apps can overcome four barriers to converting users
Industry

How digital health apps can overcome four barriers to converting users

New patients might abandon onboarding if they’re confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Here are four ways digital health apps can improve conversion.

How to create scalable and compliant international KYB processes
How to create scalable and compliant international KYB processes
Industry

How to create scalable and compliant international KYB processes

Industry experts discuss international KYB and debunk common myths while sharing how to build a scalable global KYB process.

The case for automated identity verification
Industry

The case for automated identity verification

Proper identity verification is your first line of defense.

Top 3 challenges of identity verification — and how to solve them
Industry

Top 3 challenges of identity verification — and how to solve them

Learn about the three main identity verification challenges businesses face — along with how to solve them.

3 tips for managing risk without sacrificing user experience
Industry

3 tips for managing risk without sacrificing user experience

Get tips for balancing risk and conversion in your business, learn about emerging trends in the identity space, and more.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch or start exploring Persona today.