Interest in biometric onboarding and authentication has been on the rise for years, and saw an especially pronounced spike in the wake of COVID-19 as even more business was driven into online channels. Jumio has been one of a handful of leading vendors that have seen a rising market profile thanks to this trend; its platform is now processing over a million verification requests per day, and the company’s stature helped it to attract $150 million in funding from Great Hill Partners earlier this year. But it has also stood out for its big-picture approach to identity verification, announcing a ‘Know Your Everything‘ solution last year that encompasses KYC, AML, and every other instance in which an organization needs to verify who it’s doing business with.
Naturally, Jumio will be one of the industry leaders participating in this week’s inaugural FindBiometrics Identity Summit, where Bala Kumar – who became Jumio’s Chief Product Officer earlier this year – will be engaging in a fireside chat. Ahead of that event, Kumar took some time to speak with FindBiometrics Editor in Chief Peter Counter in an interview that touched on the evolution of digital onboarding, the role of artificial intelligence, Jumio’s partnership with Microsoft in its Azure AD Verifiable Credentials program, and more…
Peter Counter, Editor in Chief, FindBiometrics: Jumio is one of the pioneers in digital onboarding, so you have a unique perspective on how the market evolved into the powerful trend we’re seeing today. How has digital onboarding and identity verification transformed over the past five years, and how are your customers’ needs changing with it?
Bala Kumar, Chief Product Officer, Jumio: The number of data breaches globally has significantly skyrocketed within the past decade. It has now become not a matter of if, but when an organization or individual is involved in a large-scale data breach. And given the rise in digital transformation, especially during the pandemic, online identity verification has become a must-have as it enables modern companies to streamline the customer onboarding journey.
Companies have quickly needed to find ways to accelerate their digital transformation efforts all while appeasing customers who have come to expect a frictionless user experience that allows them to open and access their accounts instantly. What’s important is striking a balance between a seamless user experience and keeping fraud out across all channels. Our customers come to us with a need of an automated solution that enables them to verify customer identities in a matter of seconds — not hours or days — that meet strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance mandates all while remaining secure to keep fraud attempts at bay.
The best way to manage and address these emerging threats is by having a global perspective of the threat landscape which most organizations lack. Too often, they don’t have the internal expertise to stay abreast of emerging threats or don’t have the manpower to build in the necessary safeguards. That’s why it makes increasing sense to partner with global leaders in the fraud and digital identity arenas and include identity verification in the digital onboarding process to better defend against today’s and tomorrow’s risks.
FindBiometrics: Now that the world is in the midst of widespread and rapid digital transformation, public perception around biometrics and digital identity must be starting to have an effect on the identity verification and onboarding space. What are some of the common misconceptions about identity verification and regulatory compliance tech in finance?
Jumio: In the real world, proving your identity is pretty straightforward. When you show up in person to open a new bank account, book a vacation rental or travel on an international flight, you present your government-issued ID, proof of address or whatever else might be required for the transaction so the company you’re doing business with can physically see that you are who you claim to be.
This process gets far more complex in the digital world. Now, these same companies must find a way to verify you are who you say you are, even though you aren’t physically there to prove it. Companies must find a way to assure your digital identity matches your real-world identity. One way to do this is to require end users to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a live selfie, which in return are reviewed and verified.
Thanks to the widespread adoption of Apple’s Face ID and Android facial recognition, face-based authentication is increasingly familiar and comfortable; however, given the amount of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) captured during an onboarding process, a fair question to ask is how is that data being protected? Is your company following the proper security standards? The last thing financial institutions need is a data breach that impacts your customers by releasing names, home addresses, emails, cell phone numbers, hashed passwords and organization details. Additionally, you need to make sure you are not hindering the trust you are establishing or have established with your customers.
Data security and system integrity is at the heart of every remote onboarding transaction we perform, and recognizing that, Jumio has invested heavily in building a highly secure and reliable platform.
FindBiometrics: In 2020, Jumio coined the term KYX, or “Know Your Everything.” What does it mean to “Know Your Everything,” specifically when it comes to finance?
Jumio: Financial organizations are very familiar with the mandatory Know Your Customer or KYC process, but the way we see it it’s not just about the consumer. The “X” in KYX could be your customer, your patient, your business partner, your driver or any host of end users.
Banks and other financial institutions, including credit card companies, insurance agencies, crypto exchanges and even online gaming sites are required to go through a number of identity proofing steps in order to ensure their customers are not involved with corruption, bribery or money laundering. But the need for KYC-type identity proofing goes well beyond financial services. Whether it’s a customer, user, patient, employee, business partner or student, the Jumio KYX Platform helps modern enterprises to know and then trust the “X” in their business.
Our unified end-to-end platform allows organizations to pick and choose the order of operations and create an orchestrated workflow and a more holistic user experience based on their specific use case, risk appetite and budget. The platform enables organizations around the globe to manage compliance requirements, such as KYC, AML, and GDPR, by providing a layered approach to identity proofing and corroboration.
Identity verification shouldn’t have to be a messy amalgamation of point solutions to make a risk assessment of a new or existing user. Taking a single platform approach to identity proofing and ongoing monitoring is quickly becoming a business imperative and one that can be addressed with a single solution.
FindBiometrics: With identity verification it’s easy to focus on the front-facing technologies that make it work, like biometrics and OCR. But there are powerful components at work behind the scenes, too. What role do artificial intelligence and big data technologies play in Jumio’s solution?
Jumio: AI, Machine learning and big data can make KYC methods more effective by identifying patterns in user behavior and providing ongoing screening. Behind the scenes, Jumio embeds a variety of cutting-edge technologies into its identity verification, authentication and AML solutions and we are continually investing in these technologies to keep our solutions at the forefront of fraud detection, compliance and user experience.
Informed artificial intelligence is a new way of thinking about AI incorporating large data sets, establishing ground truth — through intelligent tagging — and leveraging real-world production data. All too often AI models are constructed with smaller data sets that have been improperly tagged which can introduce bias. By using informed AI and processing over one million identity verifications daily, Jumio’s processes are faster, more accurate and contain less built-in bias.
Our data sets also have considerable depth in terms of the ID document types and subtypes — from UK driver’s licenses to Bahamian national ID cards to everything in between. This enables our AI models to support many different types of ID (more than 3,500) with high confidence and verification precision.
FindBiometrics: Recently Jumio partnered with Microsoft on the Azure AD Verifiable Credentials program. How do these credentials extend the trust created during the onboarding process, specifically with it comes to financial applications?
Jumio: Today, there are several different ways you’re asked to prove that you are really you. Sometimes, you’re asked to provide an email address, phone number or some type of biometric just to create a new online account. It seems like every website and app has its own unique formula for establishing a user’s true digital identity.
However, once you’ve been verified with an organization like your bank or another financial services application, you have to repeat the process all over when you open up another online account or download a new app. Our identities are clearly not transportable and not owned by you in the digital world.
With the support from Jumio, Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) offers a new form of digital identity based on verifiable credentials and decentralized identifiers standards to let consumers verify once and use everywhere. These verifiable credentials will allow financial institutions to confirm information about someone — like their education and professional certifications — without collecting and storing their personal data. Organizations will be able to issue digital versions of a variety of credentials such as physical badges, loyalty cards and government-issued paper documents based on open standards. And because your digital information is being verified by Jumio, it’s more trustworthy, and the verification process only takes seconds. This truly is a game changer in the way we think about digital identity today.
FindBiometrics: What can we expect from Jumio in the second half of 2021?
Jumio: We are continuing to invest heavily in our core services. We announced recently that we are now processing over a million transactions a day. We are now scaling our systems to be ready for triple those numbers. We are also expanding out our solutions to augment the risk signals we provide today with additional sources of corroboration. By adding in these additional layers, we will be able to provide increased assurance and confidence for our customers. In addition, we are spending time on improving conversions for our customers by improving the consumer journey. Overall, we are focused on delivering a single-stack platform for our customers that operates at scale and provides a seamless experience for good consumers while effectively keeping the bad actors out.
Jumio is a Platinum Sponsor of the June 23 FindBiometrics Identity Summit. Register now to see this conversation continued on our virtual stage!