Analysis Featured

Verifying ID With A Cell Phone

More people are signing up for financial services through digital channels than ever before. A third of digital transactions come from mobile devices. When a lender is approached via cell phone, how does that lender verify who is asking for a loan? The rise in security breaches is making it clear that collecting information like name and Social Security Number isn’t going to be enough. Wouldn’t it be great to see a government-issued ID instead? But how would it work from a remote location?

Mitek, the company that brought mobile deposits into play by letting depositors take a picture of their check and deposit digitally, has processed over a billion transactions. They essentially invented the field of mobile capture through mobile deposit. The publicly traded company has used that experience as a stable foundation and funding for the next step — solving the need to perform secure digital ID checks with mobile imaging.

“You can use the camera on a smartphone to capture ID documents,” said Sara Clark, GM, Identity of Mitek, “We can extract data from a government-issued ID and evaluate the authenticity of the document. This assures the lender that the person on the other end of the device is holding ID that has passed a series of checks. An accompanying selfie can be added to check photo ID. The lender can be confident that this person is who they say they are.”

This is primarily a cloud product with some on-premise options. The pricing is subscription based on volume. The platform can also prefill forms with data from the ID, a real convenience for a smartphone user that adds to data integrity. It is also a real benefit for their typical customers.

“We work with regulated financial institutions,” Clark said. “For example, we’ve worked with banks on the on-boarding process through digital channels. Previously, lenders needed to meet with borrowers to check ID. In the US, that is normally done by asking for name, SSN, and other personal ID. But data breaches are rampant. Over 2 billion records have been hacked so it’s easy to acquire PII. The market is looking for a more secure solution that is user-friendly.”

Mitek has gone through different phases. In this latest development, they leverage mobile imaging experience harnessed by mobile deposit. They have a mature mobile imaging platform and assign enhanced technology to use deep learning and computer vision. Computer vision within the capture experience takes images and runs an algorithm on them.

“We use deep learning to differentiate between real IDs and potential forgeries,” Clark said. “There are 6-10 ID formats in each state and they are always changing. We look for forgery techniques, font inconsistency, photo integration issues, and other things. Our ability to bring this to the market has been supported by the parallel advances in deep learning that have emerged in the last 10 years.”

There is a lot of momentum in the rise of biometrics for authentication. The world will shift to electronic ID. Developing countries seem to be ahead here because they leapfrog past the old technology.

“We are continuing to head down the path of relying on data to know who you are. Biometrics is solving a similar problem, but it can’t be based off of data you already know, so it’s in the early stages,” Clark said.

Mitek plans to focus on the ID business, to be the global leader in new methods of global ID in financial services. That includes extending their footprint into biometrics. In fact, they are currently researching and developing with facial biometrics.

“We are leveraging bleeding edge tech,” Clark said, “and that kind of talent seems to be challenging to find. I wish I could find a lot more people with skills and experience in machine learning and deep learning. We work with universities to get new talent and invest heavily in the lab team.”

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Written by Nicki Jacoby.

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Allen Taylor

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