How Does Online Identity Verification Work?

The request, “May I see your ID?” has become so commonplace in our daily lives, it barely registers. Whether at the check-out register or submitting a credit application, showing proof of identity in the form of a driver’s license or passport is a normal expectation when doing business.

As sensitive, high-value agreements move online and are completed digitally, knowing who your signers are is more important than ever. You need to be able to trust the person you are doing business with to be the person they claim to be. In some cases, access to a known email or phone number is sufficient to trust the signer. In other cases, you need signers to prove their identity, beyond email.

Unfortunately, ineffective manual identity verification is commonplace across both B2C and B2B organizations. This typically results in poor customer experiences, risk of fraud and failure to meet regulatory standards. At the same time, organizations need to maintain a strong customer experience. According to a Forrester study commissioned by DocuSign on digital identity verification, 78% of decision-makers see a need for identity verification tools to balance customer experience and security. For many organizations, the ability to accurately and quickly verify identity is essential for business to function in a safe and compliant manner. 

In addition, according to a 2018 Experian report, 84% of businesses say certainty about identity would reduce their risk, which can be costly. For example, in 2020 alone, financial institutions paid out $10 billion in penalties for non-compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and sanctions regulations – laws that often have requirements for robust identity verification at their very core.

As organizations in a wide range of industries seek to balance providing a smooth and convenient customer experience with meeting stringent compliance requirements, there’s a strong need for a more thorough and seamless identity verification process.

DocuSign ID Verification is the premier identity proofing solution, embedded in a mobile-first eSignature experience.  We recently announced an all new ID Verification experience for US-based signers: Signers can upload a photo digitally verifying government issued IDs and electronic IDs, allowing you to reduce cost and risk by automating identification anytime and virtually anywhere. This solution connects seamlessly with existing DocuSign infrastructure such as the eSignature platform, including APIs, for a mobile-optimized signing experience.

What is online ID verification?

Identity verification for signing parties is a critical part of agreements, but establishing identity can be complicated, especially when agreements are high-value or vulnerable to fraud, and are completed digitally.

For many common transactions, a link to a validated email address is sufficient for establishing the identity of the signer. But many organizations want enhanced signer identification beyond the email method for their most high-value agreements.  DocuSign offers a variety of enhanced solutions to identify new signers and authenticate returning users, including identity proofing and authentication methods.

In certain highly regulated industries and other use cases, proof of identity in the form of a government-issued ID or electronic ID is the most secure option. Of course, when the agreement is not consummated in person, the signer is not physically present to provide a form of ID. In these cases, DocuSign ID Verification allows the signer to submit their driver license, passport, or electronic ID to prove who they are, from wherever they are, using their preferred device— saving time and helping improve process efficiency.

DocuSign ID Verification works hard behind the scenes, ensuring that only valid identity documents are accepted. This method of verification is accomplished by analyzing the unique data sets within an identity document. The name and information on the agreement is then cross-checked with the one on the ID document. This helps ensure that only the correct individual can view and sign the agreement. 

New DocuSign ID Verification Signer Experience

When you add DocuSign ID Verification to a document to be signed electronically, the recipient will be required to complete the ID verification steps to view and sign the document. In April 2022, US-based signers will see an all new ID Verification experience offering them more flexibility and convenience. 

Signers will be able to verify their identity in several ways:

Use government-issued photo ID

Signers can prove their identity by uploading a copy or taking a photo of their government-issued ID.

DocuSign ID Verification supports most accepted government-issued photo IDs, such as state-issued driver licenses and U.S. passports. After a signer uploads a photo of their ID document, DocuSign ID Verification analyzes features such as security markings and watermarks to make sure the ID is not expired and there is no evidence of tampering. We will also confirm that the name on the ID matches the name on the agreement, reducing the risk of fraud.

Enter bank login credentials

As another option, ID Verification accepts a signer’s bank credentials. The signer selects the bank where she has an account and is redirected to their bank where they enter their account username and password. After the signer gives permission for the bank to confirm their identity, their credentials are verified and they gain access to the envelope.

We are the only eSignature provider today to include this option in our workflow, through our partnership with Authentify, a service provided by a consortium of leading financial institutions.

This capability is available for US-based signers. In addition, DocuSign ID Verification currently supports European and Australian electronic IDs (eIDs) and will offer support for bank logins in the UK later in 2022.

Answer knowledge-based questions

A third option is for signers to answer knowledge-based questions drawn from their personal background. DocuSign checks the information against a third-party database to ensure these answers are accurate. This method was originally offered separately, but we’re adding it inside ID Verification to create a more comprehensive solution. This method is available for signers in the US.

Combine strong identity verification with electronic signatures

DocuSign ID Verification is built on eSignature admin and sending interfaces, so it’s easy for employees to combine electronic signature with enhanced identity verification. With DocuSign, users who send documents for signing can require ID verification by clicking the “ID verification” button included on their agreement and continuing with the normal steps for sending the document. When providing identity verification, it’s best to provide an end-to-end solution to avoid confusion. By linking signer identity verification and electronic signature, you provide a seamless, professional experience for your customers.

Proof of verification included in Certificate of Completion 

The time, date, and verification process will be noted in every Certificate of Completion, helping to support internal audit and compliance requirements such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). Furthermore, you can choose to extract information on the ID document, such as name, expiration date, or a copy of the ID. Using the ID Evidence API, this information can be extracted to your system of choice in accordance with your policies and business needs.

ID Verification supports a variety of use cases

By using digital identity verification, combined with a robust set of controls, organizations provide a smoother and more consistent experience for employees, customers and staff. This technology helps make it possible to support a number of potential use cases.

ID Verification helps minimize risk in financial services for common transactions like account opening, wire transfer agreements and loan funding by providing higher signer assurance and helping facilitate compliance with banking regulations such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML).

Other occasions where more thorough identity verification may be advantageous include:

Having the ability to identify your customers and employees properly and thoroughly can help protect your business from fraud. In fact, in some regions, a digital agreement is not legally enforceable without being tied to a secure identity verification process. Reliable verification processes also puts customers at ease and creates more opportunities to grow your business. Digitizing the identification process reduces risk, increases trust, and supports legal validity and compliance.

Learn more about DocuSign ID Verification. With this solution, you benefit from the added security of stronger identification that helps you protect high value agreements and meet compliance requirements, without compromising on the signer experience.

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Ready to get started with DocuSign ID Verification? Contact us today.
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