Remote Identity (ID) Verification: Ensuring Security in the Digital Age

Secure & Efficient Remote Identity Verification

Identity verification used to be simple. Business was done face-to-face; you asked for ID and made sure the same person on the ID card was standing in front of you.

Now transactions have moved online, and verifications take place instantly. Remote identity verification systems make this possible.

And the idea of how they work is simple:

A remote identity verification (RIV) platform electronically verifies a customer’s date of birth, address history and even social security number. The user uploads documents into the system, and then this information is cross-checked with databases and selfie photos. In other words, with remote identity verification, your business can verify identity documents online, from anywhere.

RIV technology is transforming transactions in financial and banking, government, healthcare, and customer authentication (especially for age-gated content and products). Transactions that weren’t possible just a few years ago can now be processed in seconds. And the process is more secure than ever.

Curious how it works? Read on to learn how websites verify identities online, how it works, and why your business needs it.

What Is Remote Identity Verification? How Does It Work?

How Remote Verification Works

When you can’t meet face-to-face with customers, your business needs a way to verify that customer’s identity. This is especially true for complex orders or large-ticket purchases.

Remote verification systems do precisely this. And the process is simple:

Customers use their phone or computer to “show you” their ID, and the technology then cross-references this with governmental and proprietary data. Additionally, selfie ID verification helps to validate photo IDs.

Here’s a quick overview of what RIV software does:

  • The customer starts the RIV process online or via a mobile app.
  • The customer takes a picture of their ID document (like a passport) with a smartphone or webcam.
  • A quick selfie or fingerprint scan captures biometric data.
  • Verification algorithms analyze the captured data against secure databases and employ liveness detection techniques.
  • Within seconds, the customer receives a result.

How Remote Verification Works

Modern remote ID verification platforms rely on a variety of cutting-edge technologies.

Depending on the platform you use, these tools will be used to scan, authenticate and cross-reference your uploaded ID documents:

  • Document verification scans and analyzes ID cards, passports and other documents using advanced intelligent and optical character recognition. These platforms can read and digitize text and then verify that against database data.
  • Biometric Authentication: Many RIV systems employ remote biometric tools to verify a user or customer using physical markers. This includes remote fingerprint scanning, iris recognition and facial recognition. This data is generally collected via a mobile app or connected device.
  • Liveness Detection: To verify photo IDs, the customer takes a selfie, and they may be asked to move the camera while taking it. Liveness detections utilizes AI to determine if the customer is physically present, a strong authenticating marker for the document.
  • Verification Algorithms: Once documents have been collected and their data processed, sophisticated algorithms verify the user’s identity (or reject it). These systems use fraud analytics, risk scoring, behavioral analytics, and other systems to approve the user.

Today, thanks to machine learning, these tools are more accurate than ever (even outperforming humans in some cases). Many systems have a 95% or more reliability rating.

Why Remote Identity Verification Matters

Why Remote Identity (ID) Verification Matters

More and more people are moving online to do everything from purchasing their favorite electronics, to getting verified for work. This shift means businesses need to prepare, as many customers have come to expect it.

Here are some of the use cases of remote identity verification:

  • Regulatory Compliance

    The digital landscape is rapidly evolving. And so too are the regulations aimed at combatting fraud and protecting customer data. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) puts strict requirements on the types of data that businesses can collect and store.

    Compliance mandates like Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) are becoming increasingly stringent. Today, the onus is on businesses to perform KYC verification online and authenticate identities accurately and securely.

  • Remote Work

    The lines between physical and virtual workplaces are blurred. Now, businesses have employees scattered across the globe.

    RIV software helps businesses seamlessly onboard new employees and perform identity verification (regardless of location).

  • Online Transactions Booming

    By 2025, retail online sales are expected to reach $6.9 trillion, according to data from Shopify. This surge in online shopping translates to a greater need for secure, efficient ID verifications.

    Ecommerce verifications are especially important for high-dollar-amount items, age-restricted items (which are being increasingly sold online), and other products that require secure shipping.

  • Customer Demand

    Today’s customers are tech-savvy. And they’re easily put off by inefficient or seemingly insecure verification platforms. An advanced RIV platform integrates with your existing website and tech environment. Therefore, you can build and deploy these systems faster than ever.

    Ultimately, remote identity verifications will be required to sell products online and process transactions. Businesses that don’t integrate these systems will be left behind.

Benefits of Effective Remote Identity (ID) Verification

Remote identity verification unlocks a trove of advantages for your business. Say hello to streamlined onboarding, lower fraud risk, and smoother customer experiences.

Here are some key benefits of using RIV to verify someone’s identity online:

  • Frictionless Onboarding

    Traditional paper-based onboarding processes are not only cumbersome for customers. They also create bottlenecks that stifle growth.

    RIV streamlines the digital onboarding process, allowing customers to verify their identities in minutes. This translates into higher conversion rates and happier customers.

  • Improved Security

    Fraudulent accounts and identity theft are nightmares that haunt every online business. However, RIV uses a variety of technologies that block fraudsters.

    In fact, many liveness detection tools are accurate up to 99%, and the accuracy of analytics and fraud detection systems has greatly accelerated. The result: Better security for your business.

  • Cost-Cutting Efficiency

    RIV automates workflows. This reduces operational costs, processing costs, and frees your team to focus on growth and innovation.

    Many businesses reinvest these saved costs in marketing, product development or expanding their services.

  • Global Reach

    With RIV, you can tap into a vast pool of international talent. Or expand your customer base to new markets. This makes it possible to meet international data safety guidelines, no matter where your home base is.

  • Better User Experiences

    Better security and faster onboarding = happier customers. A smoother user experience will push your onboarding rates up past 90% and eliminate many of the tedious hurdles that turn potential users and customers off from your platform.

    Bottom line, identifying customers online with an RIV system is more efficient, it saves costs, and it will lower your business’s fraud risk.

Wrapping Up

Remote identity verification systems offer a plethora of benefits. But remember that responsible implementation and a commitment to user trust is the key to implementing RIV technology. A breach can destroy your reputation and trust.

That’s why it’s important to choose a reputable remote identity verification platform. FTx Identity offers tools to help businesses with a variety of ID checking online. Our platform is ideal for ecommerce, age-restricted content, online-to-offline retail (e.g. liquor stores / vape shops), and other online verification types.


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The specific steps and technologies used can vary depending on the context and the level of security required. For example, verifying your age for a social media account might be simpler than verifying your identity for a bank account. But the general outline for remote identification process is:

  • You submit information (like an ID card scan) and take a selfie
  • The system verifies your information with tools like document and biometric verification
  • You receive the result

Generally, this process is quick, but may require 10-15 minutes for more complex verifications.

There are a variety of tools used in remote ID verification. They include:

  • Document Verification: Scans and checks IDs for authenticity (OCR, security features).
  • Knowledge-Based Authentication: Quizzes personal info not found online (addresses, credit history).
  • Biometric Verification: Uses unique physical markers like face, fingerprint, or voice.
  • Liveness Detection: Catches fake IDs with random movements, blinks, or phrases.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Layers multiple methods for stronger security (password + questions + biometric).
  • Third-Party Verification Services: Experts with advanced tools handle thorough checks.
  • Video-Based Verification: Real-time video call with an agent for high-risk scenarios.

Fraud is a challenge for remote identity verification systems. One of the biggest threats is spoofing and deepfakes. AI technology is used to spoof a user’s voice, image or likeness and can cause false-positive verifications. However, spoof-detection algorithms have improved and can now better prevent this issue.

Other challenges include ID verification getting rejected, data breaches, data privacy concerns, or low-conversion user onboarding processes.

Here are some general guidelines to protect your identity in remote transactions:

  • Use a secure network; avoid public Wi-Fi.
  • Make sure the devices you are using are protected.
  • Make transactions only with websites and businesses you trust.
  • Delete any sensitive information from your devices after processing.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication for all accounts.
  • Check and manage data storage settings for the platform.