Consumers are not always having a pleasant customer experience when they need retailers to confirm their identity. Companies are asking consumers to reveal unnecessary volumes of data without the customer having any real understanding of how it will be used.

Robin Tombs, chief executive of Yoti, said: “In the past it’s been quite a painful experience. You’ve had to put quite a lot of knowledge based information into web forms and then without your real understanding businesses have then decided to get that information across to other companies to check you out against databases.

“Obviously the quality of that database and whether it matches you or not has a big role to play on whether you get approved or verified or whether your credit report is passed or not and it’s very hard for you to understand that process because it’s not at all visible.”

Yoti has been developing an alternative way to confirm identity, without having to part with an unnecessary amount of personal data, by giving more control back to individuals who are giving out their information.

Chris Field, chief marketing officer of Yoti, said: “We are a free app which once you’ve downloaded you create your digital identity with. The way you do that is by taking a picture of yourself, then verifying your phone number. After that you can add a document which allows you to prove your name, nationality, date of birth and gender.

“We match the image from your initial selfie that you’ve taken yourself to the picture on your documents. Each attribute name, photo, date-of-birth is stored and encrypted separately. So that means even if someone were able to somehow get hold of one of those pieces of information and decrypt it, which nearly impossible to do, they would only know that one piece of information.

“We can’t see your data, so whilst we have a database of all of the people’s identities there’s no way of us accessing them. The person who provides the data is the only one who controls and has access to it.”

According to Yoti their app simplifies the identification process. There is no need to identify documents, no need for usernames or passwords and no need to answer a series of personal questions.

Tombs said: “A lot of people we talk to think ideally that’s the way they’d like it to be. If not they’d like it to be so well done B2B that they don’t fail when they’re trying to be verified or it’s not too long winded and difficult that they’ve put enough information in.

“The trend is going to be to do with a person having a much better knowledge of what attributes about them is it that businesses want, and have they got the evidence themselves which will allow a business to understand it.

“Some of that is biometrics and some of it will be how you get things like information off your passport or driving license on to a third party system or on to an app like Yoti, so that you can be sure you’re sending verified information to a business.

“It’s much less likely that verified information will be rejected because it’s already been verified and that makes the whole process much more transparent, easier and less likely to fail. It’s easier for customers to understand what’s going on.”

This means security becomes much more minimalist. Duncan Francis, director of Innovation at Yoti said: “We are a firm believer that data minimisation is highly important to the future of online security. When we looked at building Yoti we saw there was this missing component of secure identity.

“One of the effects of our daily transactions is that we are throwing data all over the place. We’re being incredibly insecure, we log in with our Facebook account and click yes and next on everything, giving out data all over.

“There’s going to be an awakening of people realising that their data is precious and keeping everything to a minimum and we’re hoping we’re one of the initiators of that getting people to think about what they’re giving out. We’re giving them the tools to share as little as possible, just what’s needed for this transaction.”

Having an identification system which is simple to use improves the overall customer experience for the consumer. Without the need for passwords, documents or usernames it makes the identification process easier for both the consumer and the company doing the business.

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