Tips to Pass Online Identity Verification

FAQs and troubleshooting tips to help customers pass your KYC checks

Remember that time you closed the sign up window and decided to have lunch instead? Or perhaps you ran into an identity verification problem on Facebook, Amazon, or another platform. Something just did not work and you were stuck in a loop. Most of us have run into these roadblocks. But product managers are in the unique position to fix them. Ideally, you want your product to be so easy to get started on that friends will encourage each other to sign up while waiting for the bus. The magic words are: it’s so easy.

Conversion feels like alchemy, until you crack the code. At Passbase, we have had the privilege of powering identity verification for companies like Linus, with a select waitlist of users, and Ramp, with exponential growth. Below, we share best practices from companies that trust with users by ensuring customer success through the identity verification process. Scroll to the bottom to see examples of common issues in our infographic!

“When we removed Facebook and brought in ID verification, the conversions went up and it’s been smooth sailing for us since.” – Moiz Malik, CEO of Nooklyn

Ways to Show Customers You Care

Identity verification tip sheet includes 5 common online ID verification issues. These include submitting one side of an ID document, a blurry image, glare in the photo, a cut off image, and information mismatch. The tips to help customers succeed are to take a photo of both the front and the back of the ID document, holding the camera closer to focus on the document text clearly; turning off camera flash and using a brightly lit room; making sure the document and all information is clear; and using a proof of address issued within 3 months and contains information that matches the ID document. One of the best ways to win customer loyalty is to make them feel understood. While the most ideal situation is a fool-proof flow that everyone can do, keep in mind that people interact with devices and apps differently. Help them succeed by giving them more tips beforehand and have resources ready when they are stuck and wondering, “Why was my identity verification unsuccessful?” Here are ways you can quickly improve your conversion rates, customer satisfaction, and retention:

  • Add an identity verification info sheet or FAQ and troubleshooting page
  • Customize your identity verification flow copywriting to give quick tips before a customer starts
  • Add a support chat to troubleshoot common issues
  • Send automated e-mails to drop-offs with identity verification tips and a link to try again

Because Passbase allows you to create a branded identity verification flow that natively embeds into web and mobile apps via SDks and an API. This also enables you to use third-party apps to detect how long a customer has been on a certain page and automatically message them if it seems like they are stuck or build other types of logic flows, such as automated e-mails to re-engage lost customers.

“We find a lot of customers will reach out to us [via chat] and…it’s usually a couple solutions that we can we can prompt. Rarely do we ever find an issue getting through the [verification] flow that is unique.” - Matt Hamilton, Co-Founder at Linus

Below, you can find template tips for:

  • Getting started on identity verification
  • Identity verification troubleshooting

Providing information on common issues and ways to submit the correct information will help you guide customers towards success. This will help you show customers you have thought about their needs and help them get through the KYC verification process to start using your services sooner.

Identity Verification Tips for Customers

Tips before you start

Passbase’s identity verification process is simple and can be completed in less than a minute. To help you succeed, we have prepared these tips for you. Your identity verification will require the following:

  • A valid ID document
  • A video selfie
  • (Optional) A proof of address or additional ID document

To save time and make sure you successfully complete the verification process, you can:

  • Make sure you have your ID document(s) on hand
  • Use a well-lit room so that your images and videos are clear
  • Make sure your smartphone (or desktop) camera is clean and able to focus

Tips for uploading your ID document

Passbase accepts national ID documents and passports from 190+ countries. In addition, we also accept drivers licenses. The options you may be able to choose from include:

  • National ID document
  • Passport
  • Driver’s license

To improve your chances of success, make sure you:

  • Take a photo of both sides of your ID document (not just the front)
  • Take a photo as close as possible to the document so that the text is clear
  • Turn off the camera flash so that it does not blot out your face or other information
  • Make sure you are not covering the light source and casting a shadow
  • Hold your camera still so that the text is clear

Tips for uploading a proof of address

Your proof of address is used to match against your other information to meet regulatory requirements for customer due diligence. As many bills may be received via e-mail, it is acceptable to take a clear photo of your computer screen with the key information visible. You can also upload a downloaded e-statement from your phone to make sure all the information displays clearly. Make sure your proof of address meets the following requirements:

  • all the key information (your name, address, and date) are clear
  • all the key information matches your National ID document
  • the photo is clear and not an angle or too far away

Tips for taking your video selfie

Your video selfie is used to confirm that you are a live person in front of the camera (and not a bot) and that your face matches the one in your photo ID document. To ensure that the camera captures all necessary data points to perform a face match, you should do the following:

  • take the video selfie in a brightly lit room
  • have a neutral background (such as a wall)
  • do not have people behind or around you
  • hold your face in the middle of the circle and follow the instructions on the screen
  • do not have light behind you

Troubleshooting Guide

We know that it can be frustrating if a customer has followed instructions and may still be having trouble performing the verification. Since people think and interact with apps differently, it is better to provide support where possible than to assume you have covered all the bases.

You can help customers troubleshoot by:

  • installing a customer service app or chatbot that says, “Hello, can I help?” to customers to stay on one screen for longer than a period of time.
  • creating an automated e-mail to customers who dropped off at identity verification or had a rejected verification with tips and a link to try again.

Below are some common troubleshooting FAQs you can include in your e-mail or website.

Why was my identity verification unsuccessful?

There are a number of factors that can affect your identity verification result. Please ensure that your ID document is valid and the photos taken (of the front and back) are clear. Also make sure you have a secure internet connection and are in a bright room so that your photos and videos are clear and properly uploaded for verification. If you have submitted a proof of address document, make sure the name and address match your other submitted documents and that it was issued in the last three months.

Why is it not accepting my ID?

There are a number of reasons an authentic ID document may not be accepted. The most common reason is a blurry photo or camera flash. When you try again, make sure you are in a brightly lit room and the camera has focused on the document when taking a photo. Also make sure that:

  • you are submitting a photo of a physical document and not a screenshot
  • take photos of the front and back of your national ID document or driver’s license
  • the document is still valid
  • the photo is not blurry (text is in focus)

Why am I not allowed to move on to the next step?

Passbase has two main verification steps that consist of 1) taking a photo of a physically present official ID document and 2) taking a video selfie for face matching. You may also be asked for additional documents. Below are the following ways you might get stuck at a certain step.

If you are stuck on the ID document step, it may be because of the following:

  • taking a photo of the same side
  • document is blurry in the camera
  • other items are behind your document

To have your ID successfully processed, you need to submit the front and back of your ID document (except for passports). Also make sure that you are in a bright room so that the camera can focus on your document. Finally, try to take a photo of the document with a clean surface.

If you are stuck on the video selfie challenge, it may be because of:

  • the video being too dark and the camera cannot detect your face
  • your head is moving too much and not in the center of the circle
  • there is someone else in your video

Make sure you are in a bright room, ideally with a neutral or white background. Follow the instructions in the video selfie and be patient to wait until the whole circle turns green.

What if my ID photo and I do not look similar anymore?

As ID documents are not frequently updated, they may not reflect how you look today. However, face matching is performed by assessing whether the features on your face are similarly proportional.

A common problem occurs when the ID document upload has a flash that hides your photo and a face match cannot be performed. Please try the verification again with a different piece of ID and ensure that you are taking the photo and videos in a brightly lit setting.

Identity verification tip sheet

Below, you can check out visual examples of common factors that might stop a legitimate user from successfully verifying their identity. We hope this helps you impress your customers and turn a frown into a smile!

Identity verification tip sheet of common issues for the verification process including: taking a photo of only one side of the image, a blurry image, a dark image, glare, cut-off images of documents, when the document is too small in the picture, incomplete information, invalid documents, a document submitted that's not the selected document, a screenshot, an expired document, and mismatching information between two different documents submitted.

If you are new to Passbase, you can sign up here! Get a sense of how Passbase integrates into your product or service, how easily you can make customizations from the dashboard or at the code level, and scale your operations when you grow! Of course, we are happy to show you how it works live when you book a demo.

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Passbase is an identity verification solution that makes facial recognition, liveness detection, ID verification and KYC and AML compliance accessible through a suite of flexible developer tools. A zero-knowledge architecture ensures that companies using Passbase can securely verify users from over 190 countries without having to store their data. Built for developers, it can be integrated with just a few lines of code on iOS, Android, and Web.