What is the future of ID verification? Interview with Joshua Read

Anybody who has ever opened or tried to open a financial service product knows the pain of the onboarding process. Or at least what it used to be. Because thankfully things are changing for the better. One of the biggest frictions is obviously ID verification. What are the latest trends and the future of ID verification? Fintech Review asked a few questions to Joshua Read, COO of OCR Labs Global.

Tell us more about OCR Labs Global. What is your elevator pitch?

OCR Labs Global is focused on making user verification effortless through next-generation technology. We build intelligent tools that protect users from identity fraud while enabling a seamless user experience. We’re focused on removing the burden of identity verification and compliance for our customers. So that they can focus on scaling their businesses without the operational overheads. We securely verify users in seconds with just their ID and a smartphone – from anywhere in the world. 

What is your background, and what is the story behind the company?

ID verification
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I have 25 years of experience in leadership of operations, partnerships and sales in software, data and information and communications technology (ICT) organisations. 

Before joining OCR Labs Global, I was the EVP of Sales and Partnerships at Yellowfin Business Intelligence International, which we successfully sold in January this year. As well as the General Manager of Partnerships, Consumer Risk, Fraud Prevention, and Identity Management at Equifax for six years. I have also held senior leadership roles at KPMG Australia and Telstra Enterprise and Government.

In my current role at OCR Labs Global as Group Chief Operating Officer, I am responsible for overall company operations. I am focusing on building a high-performance culture and optimising business processes. That is to enable OCR Labs Global to become the global partner of choice for identity verification and compliance.

With my experience and the feedback we receive from the market, I can confidently say that nobody wants to spend unnecessary time trying to prove who they are. Whether it’s for a job or a bank account. We also want to know we’re protected against identity theft and fraud.

Building the future

OCR Labs Global spent years building our fully automated end-to-end ID verification (IDV) solution in our dedicated laboratories before launching it into the market. It uses four proprietary technologies in one solution. Including identity document optical character recognition (OCR), document fraud assessment (DFA), liveness detection, and biometric face matching. 

The systems are built to enable anyone to access online services anywhere, anytime. OCR Labs Global meets the most stringent privacy, data protection, security, resilience standards and global digital identity trust frameworks. OCR Labs Global is ranked #1 globally for detecting real and fraudulent individuals.

What are the main trends in ID verification and compliance?

There are a few different factors influencing the IDV market today.

Firstly, in difficult economic times, we see an increase in consumer and business fraud. With the current challenging global economic environment, we are noticing multiple forms of fraud escalating in nearly every country in the world.

Secondly, the global identification verification market is expected to grow to $53 billion by 2026. That is representing a doubling of growth by 2026 over 2021. Consequently, the bar for identity verification gets higher every day. As remote becomes the new normal, businesses must tackle more sophisticated attacks and meet even higher regulatory standards.

ID verification
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Generally speaking, the challenges across industries are similar, though some unique use cases exist in different sectors. In the fintech industry, robust identity verification mechanisms are needed to ensure only legitimate individuals can open accounts. In other sectors, like gaming and mobility, businesses are also looking for ways to provide frictionless onboarding. Without risking losses to fraud. However, age verification or prevention of bonus abuse might be bigger concerns.

Overall, the lesson is that a lack of identity proofing allows fraudsters to pass off as genuine customers with stolen personally identifiable information (PII) and synthetic identities. This is usually for financial gain and other illicit activities, like money laundering. 

How is OCR Labs Global responding to these trends?

There’s been a race for identity verification (IDV) vendors to be fully automated, to find a way to bridge the gaps in failures and not rely on agents to review documents. Our technology solves that problem, enabling intensive fraud detection and operational efficiencies while achieving a smoother customer journey. Moreover, 100% of OCR Labs Global’s technology is proprietary, which is unique in the industry and allows us to scale faster and adapt quicker. 

With a next-generation fully automated solution, we use advanced image analysis and deep learning technology to verify any user by linking their face to their identity documents, built to stay ahead of fraudsters and remove the burden of identity verification and regulations (KYC & AML) for their customers. 

OCR Labs Global’s deep neural network is built to detect pixel changes, deep fakes, screens, printouts and more – plus continues to learn new techniques in real-time. Using live video, it also determines the context of the face shown and reviews objects and surroundings in the room – before, during and after the facial biometric check. 

OCR Labs Global verifies 16,000+ documents in over 220+ countries and principalities and processes 142 languages – more than any other identity verification provider. 

Any innovation in fintech more broadly that you are really excited about?

future of ID verification in fintech
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A proliferation of financial services products, such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), e-wallets, crypto, and other less traditional payment methods, have increased consumer access to financial services. 

In response to this, there has been a need for more regulation, which has driven a need for more regulatory oversight, especially as blockchain and crypto become more mainstream. Innovations in open banking and connected systems will force large incumbents to adapt or lose market share. 

There is a growing demand for consumers to have access to useful applications wherever they are, whenever they need them, and irrespective of their location. Consequently, we would like to see more government-driven digital identity options available and mandated worldwide.