Checking the identity of customers is an important part of doing business for many organisations, but it is not always a straight-forward process.

1. There is more than one step to establishing identity

Identity checking is by nature a two-step process. One, you need to establish that your customer is who they say they are and, two, that the person presented to you is actually your customer.

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These two stages need different approaches. For example, a solution based on checking data can give you confidence in the identity of your customer. To be sure that the person presented is actually that individual, a second layer of checking is required, such as a document check, the use of intelligent questioning or an understanding of their equipment through device intelligence.

2. Great customer experience plays a vital role

Recent research by Experian1 found that 41% of people who had a poor experience when applying for a financial service would be less likely to use that supplier in the future. People do not like prolonged and complicated identity checking. They are accessing services through multiple channels; online, via mobile, over the telephone and face-to-face, and they expect the same high level of customer experience across them all. It is vital that the identity checking solutions you use work without causing disruption to the customer and work equally well across all channels.

3. There are different reasons for checking identity

Different organisations are looking to understand different things from identity checks. For some, meeting their legal obligations for KYC and AML are important. For others, understanding identity is key in their fight against fraud. Identity checking solutions need to be tailored to provide the information you need at the level of assurance relevant to your business.

4. Identity is checked at different times in a customer’s journey

Your customers should have a long-standing relationship with you. Checking their identity is not only important when setting up their account. In order to avoid account takeover fraud, you need to keep checking that the person interacting with you is your genuine customer. Having proven their identity when setting up their account, customers are not keen on repeated checks. Solutions that work invisibly, without the need for your customer to take action and do not return high levels of false positives are vital in keeping your customer relationships happy.

Identity checking is not a simple process. We recently recorded a webinar “Offering Your Customers a Better, Safer Digital Journey”, which discusses issues around identity checking and also delves into how device intelligence works to help you make checks without disrupting the customer journey. Click here to access the webinar.

1 Opinium Research for Experian carried out an online survey of 2,002 UK adults aged 18+ from 11th to 16th July 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.