In a recent blog post on its website, identity verification specialist Jumio highlights the increased importance of identity verification as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the author of the post — Jumio Director of Content Loryll DeNamur — points to the travel industry, and especially the ‘sharing economy’ within it that has seen tremendous growth in recent months.
Due to various restrictions put into place as a result of the outbreak, the vast majority of Americans who plan on traveling this autumn are choosing to do so domestically, taking road trips to coastal beach towns or national parks (both of which are more conducive to social and physical distancing safe practices).
According to a AAA Travel survey quoted by DeNamur, 80 percent of Americans plan on taking a road trip this fall, while 62 percent of respondents to a recent Airbnb survey said they were interested in taking a vacation within driving distance of their home.
“As many Americas continue to work from home and attend school virtually, this temporary lifestyle change opens up new and exciting possibilities for fall travel – particularly for those who deferred summer travel plans,” said AAA Travel’s Paula Twidale in an Oct. 15 press release.
One industry that is seeing a spike in use due to COVID-19 is the sharing economy, with services like RV rental marketplace RVshare reporting a 650% increase in RV and trailer bookings at one point earlier this year, and a 166% increase over last year in total so far.
Other peer-to-peer car sharing platforms also have reported large growth in their user base in recent months, along with Swimply — an app that allows people to rent their pools by the hour — which experienced an astonishing 3,300% increase in use since the start of the pandemic.
DeNamur uses these statistics to point to the increased importance of remote identity verification solutions like the one offered by Jumio. She notes that when customers use sharing services they need to have faith that the providers have authenticated the identities of the people using them, and that this trust is a valuable commodity in the sharing economy in particular.
“Users of the sharing economy trust that the company has verified the identities of its hosts and other providers and that their services are reliable and safe,” writes DeNamur. “Likewise, providers have faith that new users have passed some sort of identity verification before being accepted onto the sharing platform. When this trust is broken, it cannot be easily repaired.”
The post also notes that using biometric authentication reduces the ‘friction’ of online transactions, something that becomes more important with the increased frequency of online interaction in our daily lives.
The lockdown measures put into place as a response to the pandemic have led to an overall increase in online traffic over the past several months, both due to people doing things like shopping and banking from home, and because of the rise in remote work. As a result, digital fraud and identity theft attempts are also seeing a spike, and enterprises of all sizes are increasingly turning to biometrics as a trusted method of remote identity verification due to the added security they bring when compared to outdated methods like PIN and password setups.
“As consumers expect immediacy and convenience, businesses need to also ensure enrollment and login is quick and frictionless to keep users from leaving the platform,” notes DeNamur. “If this process is too time-consuming or cumbersome, users are quick to stop using the service.”
November 13, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis