By Liliya Apostolova, Sr. Manager, Product Marketing, DocuSign

Due to rapidly developing technology and a growing threat for identity fraud, the online verification process needs to keep evolving. Most individuals are already used to security measures like entering a PIN number or signing on the (virtual) dotted line to complete a business transaction. But for high-value agreements, like opening a bank account or switching wireless plans, businesses often need to verify the identity of the person doing the electronic signing or data entry. This not only makes the process more secure, but it also helps companies meet compliance and regulatory requirements.

Why is online identification so invasive?

The process may seem like it’s becoming more invasive, but this level of detail is required to ensure the trust of both businesses and their customers. Making sure an individual is who they say they are and not, in fact, posing as someone else needs to be a top priority.

And businesses are becoming savvier as a result: Now, when electronic signatures come into play, they’re relying on stricter identification methods, including facial recognition software, the use of personal information, and even video calling. This is especially important when it comes to confidential transactions and those that potentially involve international laws.

While it might seem like an over-the-top practice, a digital signing process that makes customers feel safe and at ease will likely make them more confident about working with that particular business in the future. But rather than ask for more personal information without any context, it’s a good idea to let customers know the reason you’re asking—that’s it’s for the safety and security of all parties involved. 

How is technology impacting identity verification?

While it’s impossible to predict exactly how technology is going to transform our lives 10, 20, and 50 years from now, there are several encouraging advances in the field of identity verification that businesses should be aware of.

Real-Time ID Verification

What if you could condense the vetting process into mere seconds? That’s exactly what real-time ID verification does. Not only is it a virtually pain-free experience for customers, but it also puts businesses in a better position to prevent fraudulent practices by verifying the validity of the signer’s identity immediately.   

Biometric Tech

You’re likely already familiar with biometrics if you have an iPhone: It’s the technology that allows you to unlock your phone with the simple press of a finger. In addition to digital fingerprinting, facial recognition tools are also being used to ensure enhanced personal security. It’s not hard to imagine that these methods will soon be added to the signature verification process in the coming years.   

No ID? No Problem

Some signers simply don’t have IDs. In these cases, companies will need to rely on other methods to verify their signatures. Certain knowledge-based questions that only the signer would have the correct responses to can be used to confirm their identity. In addition, companies will likely rely even more heavily on mobile phones for verification purposes by sending access codes or SMS.

How DocuSign can help businesses with online identity verification

Given the speed of change in technology, it’s not easy to stay on top of malicious behaviors like identity fraud and theft. But DocuSign is able to reduce such risks by better securing customers’ personal information on behalf of businesses, helping them to remain compliant in the process.

When clients know their information is fully protected and that you’re doing everything in your power to keep it that way, they’re more likely to complete a transaction and trust your company down the line. Research backs this up as well: According to Experian, the main reason customers back out of transactions is a lack of visible security. That’s why we’ve integrated DocuSign ID Verification within eSignature, which allows you to easily ensure that electronic signatures belong to the proper person. And because agreements vary in scope and signer preferences, businesses will have access to phone, SMS, access code and knowledge-based options for verification purposes.

The DocuSign Identity platform, which is an open API,  also allows businesses to customize the verification process within eSignature as they see fit: Some may prefer to use an existing ID solution from a third-party vendor that’s already integrated with DocuSign, while others can build their own solutions into DocuSign eSignature workflows.

Summary: What is the future of online identity verification?

Expect to see an increase in the number and sophistication of authentication tools and offerings, from mobile phone verification to biometric tech. These options should be simple enough for businesses to incorporate into their current systems while providing a sense of safety to all customers. By streamlining the eSignature verification process, businesses will be more able to remain secure and compliant.

Discover why digital ID verification should be a priority for your organization by downloading the ebook, Solving the Customer Identity Crisis.