Modern e-commerce has quickly become one of the main ways firms do business. Online transactions usually make up a significant part of a modern business’s revenue streams. Of course, this has only been possible because services like Spectrum deals have penetrated the US market while maintaining affordability. Since more people today have access to the internet than a decade ago, e-commerce has only continued to grow over the years. Of course, with billions of people all over the world using the internet for transactions, it can become a huge challenge to keep track of each unique customer. This is where address verification can prove to be extremely useful. Read on to find out why.
Why Address Verification is Important for Modern Businesses
The global population is well over 7 billion, one of the highest points in recorded history. At the same time, the internet has allowed many of them easier access to products and services without any geographical limitations. Thanks to the logistics industry, a consumer from Singapore can order a pair of high-end sneakers from the United State, and have them shipped in as little as two weeks. The business opportunities have never been greater in terms of international audiences.
However, with such a large potential customer base, there are bound to be a few new challenges. For example, once your business acquires a sizable consumer base, it may be hard to keep track of individual customers simply based on their name. Customer acquisition and retention often depend on you offering a personalized and efficient customer experience to every consumer. But with a large customer base, it is very likely that multiple consumers may have identical names, which means you can’t rely on names to uniquely identify and serve customers. However, it is virtually improbable for 2 people to have identical names AND identical addresses. Read on to find out what an address verification system is and how it can help you uniquely identify users:
What is Address Verification
Address verification is in essence exactly what the name suggests. In e-commerce, it refers to verifying the address of an online buyer or user. This is usually done using documents issued by a reasonably acceptable and relevant authority. But before verifying a user/customer address, you first need to verify their identity. Government-issued identification documents typically serve as a valid means of identity verification. The ID can also be used to verify the permanent address registered to the holder of the ID.
A Verified Address Also Verifies Identity
In many ways, an address verification by extension verifies a person’s identity as well. On its own, verifying an address does not amount to proof of that address in the event of a dispute or scam. It is not impossible to steal legitimate address documents and use them for falsified verification. Using just the address only puts the legitimate owner of those address documents in the crosshairs. The scammer or fraudster will typically not be caught if you failed to verify their ID. In most cases, ID and address verification can include:
- Make new users register on your website.
- Ask users to upload documents and specific live selfies for ID verification.
- Analyze the document and facial information to verify identity.
- Ask users to upload address documents.
- Capture, store, and verify the address data.
Address Documents Are as Important as ID
We have already discussed how address documents on their own cannot be used as proof of address in the form of a legal conflict or fraud. But ID documents, even with addresses on them, cannot be used as proof of address on their own either. There is a very good reason for this. It may not always be necessary that a person’s current address and the one on their ID match. They may have moved to a new address and not updated their ID documents, for example. Going through a bureaucratic nightmare for minor changes can often seem not worth the hassle.
That is why, in addition to the ID, you should require customers to submit their most recent address documents as well. ID documents are typically renewed every 10 years, which allows for a lot of time in which the ID holder may have changed multiple addresses. Documents like recent bills, bank statements, insurance information, or lender correspondence are usually good documentary evidence for the most recent address. Provided the documents are less than 3 months old, a verification system should be able to access and verify the recent address information along with ID verification.
Avoiding Fraudulent Customers or Scammers
Address verification is a key tool to employ in protecting your business from scams and frauds. The internet may be convenient, but it is also infested with cybercriminals. For example, CNP or card-not-present frauds involve a scammer placing an order on the phone with legitimate card information. But since the customer service call center agent usually has no way to verify the card-holder and the caller are the same, these CNP frauds are very common. Shell companies can also be a significant threat. These are companies that only exist on paper, have fraudulent addresses, and themselves are often owned by other shell companies, which may be owned by other shell companies, and so forth. Address verification can help you mitigate the risk of both these occurrences happening.