American Marketer


ID verification as the overlooked and key component for mcommerce

July 19, 2013

Michael Strange is chief technology officer of Mitek


By Mike Strange

More than half – 56 percent – of American adults now have smartphones. This is up from 35 percent just two years ago, according to Pew Research Center.

Smartphone ownership is particularly high among the highly desirable market segment of younger adults, especially those in their 20s and 30s . This fact has not gone unnoticed by businesses that desperately want to reach this up-and-coming demographic who want to conduct a majority of their transactions in the mobile medium.

Consumers, especially the younger digital natives, have high expectations for a seamless anytime/anywhere mobile experience.

To meet this demand, retailers, financial institutions and others that want to maximize mobile for customer acquisition need to find ways create a simple, seamless, safe mobile user experience. To do this, organizations must solve two key issues: data entry and identity verification.

It’s a snap

All mobile device users know the difficulty of tedious data entry with clumsy fingers on a touch screen or tiny keypad. In fact, difficulty entering personal data is a main reason that users abandon the mobile transaction.

The mobile imaging technology that is already allowing us to deposit checks, pay bills and get quotes can also provide a seamless mechanism for reducing the friction in mobile enrollment process.

With a snap of the camera on a smartphone or tablet, consumers can take photos of personal and financial documents to enroll in new products and services as well as fund accounts.

Once organizations have made the data entry portion of the mobile enrollment process a breeze for users, they must make sure that the users are who they say they are – mobile identity verification.

Some factors of mobile identity verification can be attributed to the mobile device itself, including patterns of usage, location and device authentication.

Other factors relate to the ability to verify the identity of the individual using the mobile medium. And some factors relate to the reliability of the documentation presented by the user, for example, driver’s license.

Finally, organizations need to consider additional factors due to the nature of the mobile medium, such as location awareness, geofencing and device tokens.

Managing just one of these factors, or even two out of the four, does not give businesses the assurances they need to conduct transactions in mobile. For issuers, mobile imaging technology also provides relief for the pains on their side of the mobile enrollment process.

Driver’s seat
With mobile imaging, businesses will be able to validate a user’s identity through a combination of mobile-specific information including location, device and context along with imaging of documents that validate a person’s ID such as a driver’s license.

In real time, mobile imaging is capable of examining the front of the driver’s license and coordinating with information from a bar code on the back of the driver’s license for authentication.

This complex process is more than just comparing scanned documents to what is on file. It involves dozens of mobile-optimized business rules and, for added security, data can be crosschecked against other databases.

This verifies that the resulting identity information is valid and tied to the identity of person who is enrolling on her mobile device.

The best identity management program for mobile enrollment will include a combination of all these factors and will be wrapped in the simplest possible user experience.

MOBILE IDENTITY verification is a solution designed for mobile and has applications in retail, healthcare, insurance, financial services and beyond.

Mobile imaging has the potential to remove the frustration for consumers and adds a layer of security for companies. It truly is the future for enabling mobile commerce.

Michael Strange is chief technology officer of Mitek, San Diego. Reach him at