More and more banks make it possible to open an account without the need to visit a branch or without direct contact with the courier. All you need is a scan of your ID card, your own face and the account can be opened.

Video identification (also known as video verification or video KYC), instead of visiting a bank or signing documents from a courier, is a safer solution in the event of the Covid-19 epidemic, but it also makes life easier for customers. Łukasz Kwiatkowski, our CEO reveals the details and tell us a bit more about how this solution works.

1. What is  video identification and what does the  process look like step by step from the technical side?

It’s an online identity verification process done on a video call with a verification specialist, , where we check whether a given person is really who they say they are. In simple terms, it consists on verifying documents, checking if a person is the actual owner of these documents and comparing facial features with those on the identity document. The process is usually very simple. The user fills in the registration form on our client’s website. Via API we receive the data of the user who wants to open an account. API is an interface that allows programs to communicate based on specific rules.

The bank’s customer has a video call with a verification specialist, it may be a Fully-Verified employee or a bank employee. The service is available in a web or mobile version. During the process client presents the required documents and answers a few simple questions. Documents are captured and analyzed from different angles on both sides. Clients can also receive a code via SMS that they must present during a video call.

Our company returns the verification result and all collected data i.e. photos of documents confirming identity (ID card, passport, driving license) and selfie, OCR (optical character recognition – ed.) and face verification results, audio and video recording.

Banks have different procedures, but most often it is enough to approve the contract in the application, for example with a password sent by SMS.

2. What methods of analysis are used in video verification?

We use OCR technology to automatically recognize, read and validate a document. Thanks to this, we are able to check what type of document it is: driving license, passport, ID card or other, as well as read the information on it and check if it complies with the standards for a given document. We are able to recognize and verify documents from over 200 countries around the world. We use, for example, automatic MRZ data verification (an area on various types of documents, containing the data contained in a given document in an abbreviated manner in machine-readable font, like surname and first name of the holder or ID number) for each of these countries and verification of checksums on the document (these are check digits verified by the algorithm from the data contained in the proof).

3. Do you also use solutions in the area of artificial intelligence? In these solutions how many really advanced AI and how many simple algorithms are there?

As for the AI, we mainly use it for face recognition and face verification based on a neural network with learned face models to recognize and compare the face on the document with the person showing the document. Face recognition is a general term in the field of facial recognition and finding it in a given image. Face verification involves comparing the pattern of one face with another. We also have support from various types of algorithms when it comes to analyzing and reading documents and data analysis.

4. Does a human have to participate in this process, or in the future it will be only a machine without any authorization from, for example a bank employee?

Theoretically, it is possible to eliminate human participation in the process, however, it is not recommended. Relying on automation alone significantly increases the possibility of fraud, for example using 2D and 3D masks or deep fakes. Moreover, if someone had found an opportunity to cheat an automated solution once it would be easily scalable.

That is why we focus on combining automated processes with final approval by a verification specialist. It is worth noting here that we have two solutions, Live-Verify, which is full video identification service which can be performed by our specialists or employees of a bank, and Self-Verify, where the user goes through the entire process on their own on video,  which is only later reviewed by our system and our verification specialists

5. Video KYC is generally viewed as very secure.

Video KYC is one of the safest, if not the most secure online identity verification method. Many countries, such as Germany do not recognize online identity verification methods for financial institutions other than video verification. This trend is also happening in other European countries as well as for example in India.

6. Is it possible that by means of video verification you can set up an account with a document, for example, an ID card of another person, that is very similar to us?

With Live-Verify and Self-Verify, it would be very difficult or even impossible to set up an account using a stolen ID. Mainly because the whole process is recorded on video where someone would have to show their face (or appear in a mask) and the ID of another person on video, which would be easily detected.

Traditional selfie solutions are much easier to cheat, where someone could use an actually stolen (or crafted) document and then use a printed photo of another person or more advanced tactics that cheat the liveness check method (checking vitality e.g. moving the head from side to side, speaking numbers out loud, etc. – ed.).

Traditional selfie solutions are based on taking a photo of a document and then a photo of yourself (selfie), which are then automatically compared with each other and on this basis the ownership of the document is verified. That process is also supported by a liveness check, where you need to make a few movements of the head or eyes.

The difference with us is that the entire process is carried out on video from start to finish, and not just on the basis of photos. Thanks to this, we can see everything that happened during this process, not only the final element – photos. Additionally, the process is checked by verification specialists in order to ensure the highest security.

7. Can video KYC be an answer to fraud and why is it safer than sending documents by e-mail?

Video identification is safer due to the combination of interaction of a user with a qualified verification specialist where the entire process is supported by automated document recognition and validation technologies as well as automated face verification. In addition, the whole process is recorded on video which serves as irrefutable evidence. The mere sending of scans is not a security measure as you can easily send a scan of another person’s document, buy such a scan online or make it yourself in graphic processing programs.

8. Are standard verification processes at bank branches not safe?

In bank branches the identity verification process is often based on a quick glance to see whether the person roughly matches with the photo on the ID card plus having the document scanned. Bank branch employees often have a large amount of other things to do which can distract them.
Moreover nowadays in some banks and financial institutions employees try to use popular instant messengers such as Skype to verify their identity. However, these types of communicators do not have sufficient security in the field of connection encryption, automatic document validation or face recognition. Which may have a significant impact on the compliance of the process with local regulations.

9. What do you think is the future of banking in the era of coronavirus and after it? Will solutions such as video identification or behavioral analysis become the standard?

In the times of coronavirus, more and more processes are transferred online to reduce physical contact as much as possible. This applies especially to banks in processes such as opening accounts or granting loans or credits. In addition to coronavirus, performing these processes online is simply a great convenience for customers as they don’t have to waste time on travel or wait in line.

10. As I understand it, such verification of documents does not only apply to banks, it can operate in many companies and industries. Any examples?

Mostly, these would be industries related to finance such as loan companies, fintechs, companies related to cryptocurrencies, currency exchanges and money transfers but also in the field of shared economy such as car or scooter rental.The would also be e-signing platforms as well as various online marketplaces. It could also be the medical industry or online recruiting.

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