What is Selfie ID Verification?

It’s never been easier to be someone else on the internet. From social media networking to online shopping and even digital banking, the explosive consumer shift to online transactions has created enormous opportunities for cybersecurity crimes and widespread digital identity theft. According to data supplied by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft were disclosed in 2021 alone, which cost consumers a whopping $5.8 billion. With the sheer volume of identity theft and cybercrime increasing year-over-year, more institutions have started to adopt selfie ID verification tools to provide more secure customer experiences. Selfie verification services can help businesses quickly confirm if a customer is really the individual they claim to be— whether they are opening a financial account, applying for an employee position, or verifying their age online. 

What is Selfie Verification?

Selfie ID verification is a method of biometric identity verification that incorporates the use of a selfie taken in real-time to verify a user’s identity. The selfie identity verification process will first require an image capture of a user’s photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Once a photo ID is uploaded, the user will be required to take a live selfie. This selfie is instantly matched to the ID document on file using facial recognition technology. The use of facial recognition technology to deny or confirm a face match has helped businesses enhance the overall security of both their business and customers. The process of selfie ID verification has also helped eliminate the time-consuming processes of traditional identification verification, from creating a new account at a bank to checking in at a hotel. 

Who Uses Selfie ID Verification?

Numerous industries have already tapped into the power of selfie ID verification over recent years to safeguard their operations from cybercrime. The urgent need for enhanced company security measures has encouraged businesses to adopt selfie ID verification as a solution that promotes top-tier safety and security for companies yet confirms user identity quickly and efficiently for customers. Some of the top industries using selfie identification right now include: 

  • Financial institutions for new client onboarding and account verification purposes
  • Rideshare and transportation services to verify new driver credentials
  • Government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to identify users and fight program fraud
  • Hospitality businesses, including hotels, for smooth and seamless customer check-ins
  • Online gaming sites such as virtual casinos to ensure minimum age requirements are met
  • Retail businesses to eliminate fraudulent chargebacks and verify consumers

As more transactions are completed online — and mobile retail eCommerce sales hit an all-time high — selfie identity proofing makes it easier than ever for customers to verify their identity directly from their smartphone or computer. This ease of access also extends to brick-and-mortar businesses. Selfie ID verification simplifies the frequency of fraudsters trying to access services and helps save a significant amount of time and resources that burden fraud and legal concerns. 

How Does Selfie ID Verification Work?

To begin the selfie ID verification process, users must first upload a valid photo ID document to establish a baseline of their recognizable facial features. The photo ID must comply with federal Know Your Customers (KYC) legislation commonly used by financial institutions, such as banks and credit companies, as a fraud and anti-money laundering (AML) measure. Types of KYC-accepted photo documentation suitable for selfie ID verification include:

  • State driver’s license
  • State ID card
  • Federal passport

Once a user has successfully uploaded an acceptable form of photo identification, they will be asked to take a selfie. For users completing the selfie verification process on mobile, desktop, or tablet, this will trigger an automated face capture. From here, liveness detection technology will grab a snapshot of the user to compare it with the previously uploaded photo identification. The user’s selfie is analyzed and compared via facial recognition technology to the photo identity document the user previously uploaded to either deny or accept their request. For high-risk industries, such as banking and credit companies, recurring selfie authentication can also be used following an initial selfie verification to ensure ongoing account safety and fraud protection. 

How Long Does it Take to Verify a Selfie ID?

The typical Selfie ID verification process now takes approximately less than a minute to complete. However, with ongoing upgrades to world-class facial recognition technology that allows verification systems to capture, assess, and compare user identification and selfies, this time is expected to reduce even further.

Advantages of Using Selfie ID for Verification

Selfie identity verification services are extremely valuable and offer many advantages to various business types. For starters, selfie ID verification helps boost the overall customer experience through enhanced accessibility and convenience. The luxury that comes with selfie ID verification allows businesses to replace traditional in-person verification processes with remote accessibility that allows users to verify their identification from the comfort of their home in a fraction of the time. Likewise, many selfie ID verification solutions are very user-friendly. Unlike complicated in-house verification processes that a user may not be familiar with, selfie ID verification programs allow users to navigate the verification process on a personal device, such as a mobile phone or home computer. This comfortability with the technology helps eliminate customer frustrations and setbacks, improving overall customer satisfaction for an organization. Furthermore, selfie ID verification helps financial institutions meet various federal KYC and anti-money laundering (AML) standards and regulations, requiring professionals to follow specific steps to verify a customer’s identity. Enhanced security can also help protect financial institutions from cybercrime and fraud threats, which can be costly and negatively impact consumers' perceptions of the institution. 

Drawbacks of Using Selfie ID for Verification

While the advantages of selfie ID verification solutions are ideal for those looking to streamline their business, it's important to be aware of the potential drawbacks of these services. It should be noted that most selfie ID solutions use only a single-frame liveness detection when face matching. With this being said, the system can match a general selfie with an uploaded ID document. However, it cannot guarantee that the selfie image being used is a real person in real-time. Furthermore, while the age of technology is at an all-time high, it’s not to say that there still won't be some user friction when navigating selfie ID verification solutions. For those who are technology-averse, such as the senior demographic, traditional in-person verification methods may be preferred. Likewise, the idea of sharing personal data and credentials through a remote digital platform may cause some hesitation and concern surrounding digital identity security. 

Introducing Liveness Detection by Incode

When in the market for a quality selfie ID verification & identity proofing system, Incode is the brand to trust. With fraud-proof liveness detection technology clocking in at roughly 50x faster than any other solution, our patented proprietary technology is unmatched by competitors. Powered by world-class AI facial recognition technology, our powerful solution eliminates the need to outsource identity verification to a human in a call center — a significant source of user friction and wasted resources. Here at Incode, we offer the best balance of experience, compliance, and security, so your business is just as protected as it is proficient. If you want to learn how Incode can help you scale your business and scale security, contact us today to schedule a demo. 


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