Myth busting electronic ID verification


All lawyers wish to reduce their administrative burden, give clients a personable service, and transact securely. But this is easier said than done, especially when the first interaction, client onboarding, is slow and burdensome for both lawyers and clients. 

The use of electronic ID verification in legal practice has increased in recent years following its proliferation in fintech. Relieving lawyers of the burden of requesting, collecting and verifying physical documents, it provides a faster and more secure way to carry out ID checks. But with popularity come myths. We bust five of the most common we hear at Thirdfort.

1. Only the young or tech savvy can use electronic ID verification

We often hear firms say ‘my clients wouldn’t download an app’ or ‘most of our clients are older, they won’t know how to use this thing’. While it is true that app usage is highest amongst 16-24 year olds, and lowest amongst those aged over 65, at Thirdfort we have crunched the numbers from the thousands of monthly app downloads we receive and have found age not to be a contributing factor to a person’s ability to complete their checks. In fact, those aged over 60 are more likely to carry out and complete their ID checks successfully than their 30-39 year old counterparts. This may come as a surprise, however, if an app is well designed it should provide a simple and intuitive journey which anyone can use. Ensure this by requesting a demo or trying the app yourself. Also consider whether providers offer a support line for your clients. For example, Thirdfort users can call, email or text our support service with any queries. This not only takes the burden from you but ensures high completion rates too.  

2. It’s costly and time consuming to roll out electronic ID solutions

While ID verification solutions may seem expensive compared to a client attending your office or posting certified copies, the initial outlay needs to be weighed up against the longer term return on investment. Back and forth emails with clients, chasing missing information and reviewing documents to ensure authenticity delay transactions and use valuable employee time and resources, squeezing margins ever tighter. At Thirdfort, we’ve seen electronic ID replace entire job roles and consequently provide a more cost effective solution. Additionally, electronic ID checks can be completed entirely remotely and within minutes, streamlining processes and allowing the legal work to start, and complete, sooner. What’s more, most solutions require minimal, if any, integration and providers can often get you up and running within days. Do your research and check integrations, set up fees and charging structures, but remember to weigh these up against the time and cost savings you may gain from using the technology. 

3. I can’t use electronic ID verification and still see clients in person

People often believe electronic ID verification is designed to replace all other methods. We disagree. We believe it’s important to view it as adding a tool to your arsenale. Rather than replacing the ability to see your clients in person, it means that when you do see them, you aren’t distracted by menial tasks such as photocopying their ID and reviewing their documentation. Instead, you can focus on providing a better, more streamlined service and your staff’s time is spent giving great customer care. 

4. Workarounds like WhatsApps and Skype calls will suffice

With reports claiming that remote working is here to stay post-lockdown, some firms are turning to WhatsApp or Skype calls to see their clients alongside their ID to determine authenticity and ownership. While this may seem like a good idea at first, it soon becomes apparent that this workaround is time consuming, it doesn’t offer a smooth client journey and most importantly, it’s not secure. Fake IDs are increasingly sophisticated and a video call isn’t sufficient to detect these.  Electronic ID verification provides a much safer and client friendly alternative. Using document scanning and facial recognition technology, these solutions can detect anomalies in IDs which the human eye can’t. Using facial biometrics, the technology will match a selfie of the client to the photo in the identity document to confirm it belongs to your client. On top of this, a well designed solution will guide your client through the verification process and provide a much smoother, user friendly approach to verifying identity.  

5. My client needs to own a smartphone to be able to use electronic ID verification

There is a common misconception that you must own a smartphone to verify your identity electronically. It’s important to speak to providers to find out the exact process. Some may have the option to use a desktop computer. At Thirdfort, the user only needs to own a mobile phone, not a smartphone, in order to receive a verification code. They can then use this code to carry out their checks on the smartphone of a friend or family member, or we even provide some of our firms with their own smartphone so clients can visit their office to carry out their checks. 

We hope this has busted some electronic ID verification myths. Electronic ID is an effective way to help you reduce risk, make life easier for your clients and transact securely. If you would like to learn more, check out our guide or request a demo with us today.

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