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Identity Document Verification


Identity Document Verification is the ability to collect, analyze and verify an identity document provided by an end user, such as their passport, visa, Driver's License or national ID card. 

Often businesses collect a copy of such documents before extending credit to a customer or they may be required to collect passport or national identity document information for KYC requirements. Identity Document Verification checks that the document provided is legitimate and is not forged.

Key considerations when implementing or buying this functionality include:

  • Does the service only verify passports or can it verify visas, Driver's Licenses and national ID cards as well?

  • For what countries and regions is the service able to accurately verify national ID cards and Driver's Licenses?

  • Is the service available 24/7?

  • Does the service accept full images/scans of documents or do they only collect and verify certain points of information (such as the ID number, name etc.)?

  • Does the service only run automated checks on documents or can they perform manual checks as well?

  • Must consumers scan or upload images of their identity documents on a computer or are they able to capture and send an image of the document using their mobile device/mobile app?

  • Does the service utilize ultraviolet, infrared and/or electronic chip reading?

  • Does the service maintain hard copies of identity documents in case they are needed for compliance?


If a merchant collects identity documents, such as a passport or national ID card, they can provide the details from the end user's document and receive verification on whether or not the document is valid. Depending on the service the merchant may provide the details from the document, such as the consumer's name, birth date and passport or ID number, or they may provide a full image or scanned copy of the identity document. 

Also, depending on the service used, the consumer may be able to capture the image of their passport or ID using their mobile device.

When a passport/ID scan or image is sent to the Document Verification provider they perform an automated analysis checking the validity of the information on the document ensuring the information makes sense and goes together, and that none of the images or information is forged. For a passport a service provider may check the following data points:

  • Full Name

  • Nationality

  • Date of Birth

  • ID Picture

  • Gender

  • Document Expiration Date

  • Passport MRZ (Machine Readable Zone - two 44 character rows that convey the data on the Passport)

Identity Document Verification providers may also check characteristics of a document to ensure it has not been forged or altered. This can include checking the background print, micro text, whether the document photo has been replaced, whether the fonts used are consistent and correct, and other authenticity checks. These checks generally require manual review and often supplement automatic checks of the document data points.


After receiving and analyzing the identity document the provider will send an outcome or signal to the merchant. Possible outcomes include that the document is real or verified, that the document is forged, or that the service is uncertain. After receiving this outcome the merchant should know whether or not the customer's provided information is real. When a consumer is opening a financial account, applying for a line of credit or making a large purchase, a business may need to be 100% certain about this consumer. When a business can verify that an identity document is legitimate than all of the information on that document can be trusted. Consumers that attempt to pass off forged, inaccurate or counterfeit passports and IDs should be prevented from doing business.


Identity Document Verification confirms the legitimacy of an identity document, such as a passport, Driver's License or national ID card, by performing automated and manual checks to determine the authenticity of a consumer provided document.

Identity Document Verification can confirm relevant information to a user's identity that may be required for KYC, AML and other compliance requirements. Any business that collects passport, Driver's License or national ID documents to verify an end user's data would do well to consider verifying such documents to check their authenticity.

Most online merchants don't need to verify a passport or ID card for their transactions. But for some businesses, such as with financial services and those selling age sensitive goods, an identity document may be required to confirm the customer's age and identity as per various compliance requirements. 

Utilizing Document Verification services a business can confirm that the passport or ID provided is authentic, and therefore so is the data on the this document.

"Gotchas" with Identity Document Verification include:

There can be wide differences in what is actually checked with a document depending on the provider and the level or tier of the service used (basic vs. advanced document authenticity checks).

Requesting a passport or ID is not a typical step in most merchant's order process, consider how adding this check will affect abandonment if not already asking for passports or ID.

Automatic checks can be performed and results returned in a matter of seconds. More advanced checks or questionable documents that require manual review can take upwards of 10 minutes to receive responses.

Industries that often collect passport or ID card information include:

Financial Institutions, Mutual Funds, Finance/Investment Companies, Insurance Companies, Money Remittance, Money Services Businesses, Dealers of Precious Metals/Stones/Jewels, Gambling or games of chance, and any business sending payouts or commission payments to another entity.



Alternative SolutionsAge Verification can be used as an alternative for ensuring compliance with minimum age requirements, Identity Authentication can be used to authenticate specific data points (name, date of birth, etc.), but neither of these solutions can verify the legitimacy of an ID, passport or document.

Building this In-House - It is possible to collect Passport or ID and have internal staff review these documents, but providers will likely have better trained staff, be able to perform automated checks and are available to screen orders 24/7.

Estimated Cost - Typically this service is offered on a per-transaction basis. The costs vary depending on what the service checks: automated only checks will cost less than more involved authenticity checks that require manual review from trained personnel. Costs may also vary based on volume.

Sample Vendors - MiTek, Jumio

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