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Quick and simple document verification is one of the toughest problems in user experience in the private and public sector. The process is often time-consuming and leads to significant friction for users.

Eric Levine, Head of DocV at Socure, spoke with John Gilroy of the Federal Tech Talk podcast to get to the heart of what makes a good identity document verification system.

Listen how Socure is changing the game and delivering an automated solution that offers industry-leading accuracy and speed.

We’ve included some notes from the interview below:

Q: There’s been a recent announcement to make Socure more palatable for the federal government. What happened over the summer with Socure’s acquisition?

A: In June 2023, Socure announced they acquired Berbix, the company I co-founded. We were in the business of doing government-issued ID checks. Prior to co-founding Berbix, I led AirBnB’s Trust and Safety team for a number of years. I was on the buyer side and saw some of the challenges that existed in government document verification. After five years, we were acquired by Socure. We can now expand our reach and impact of our product through our Predictive Document Verification and Socure’s DocV product.

Knowing that the person you’re interacting with is the person trying to access government benefits is critical for stopping fraud. Without identity verification, we’re letting fraudsters walk through an open door.

Q: How has the acquisition affected Socure’s product offerings?

A: Bringing both teams together has accelerated the timeline and roadmap. Unifying the solutions makes sense and is already showing improved results. Socure had been more focused on computer vision while Berbix was focused on forensic analysis and data extraction. It’s made a huge difference on how quickly a customer can get a response.

Q: Let’s talk about speed. How does speeding up the process help people and what should they be expecting?

A: A typical identity document verification process is taking a photo government ID and a selfie. Other solutions can take 30-60 seconds or more to a minute to deliver a result. If it doesn’t work, then the user has to start over again. That is time-consuming and friction-inducing. Socure has been able to reduce its document verification time to 2 seconds, and we make sure that users don’t need to restart.

My hope is that the average consumer’s expectations improve dramatically. People shouldn’t be waiting a minute for their identity verification to work. Consumer expectations are changing, and the demand for top-tier experiences are changing.

Q: Tell us about DocV and how it fits into the story?

A: DocV, or Predictive Document Verification, is the process of being able to take images of someone’s government-issued photo ID (passport, driver’s license, etc.), being able to validate that it’s a legitimate document, and matching that person to a selfie that is taken. This sounds basic, but the technology used to do this accurately is state-of-the-art. We’re talking about computer vision, patented techniques to find fake IDs, and sophisticated mechanisms to ensure the user is a live person. Being able to weave that together with the identity graph that Socure has been cultivating is a huge component of what allows DocV to have a high level of performance. We want people to have a quick turnaround time whenever they need to verify their identity.

Q: What about accuracy? How do you maintain a high level of performance there?

A: In our benchmarking, we have found that we provide faster and more accurate responses. This is very important as manual reviews are still a drag on the industry. You need to be able to automate government ID checks. In my experience, companies will use a vendor that can provide a “conclusive” result, but the results are so untrustworthy that they will employ a customer service team to double-check the results. It’s a very soul-sucking job to check every ID manually. It’s also subject to human error.

We need to layer identity document verification services to stop fraud. You need to put up a series of walls in order to make it very hard to get the “keys to the kingdom”. At Socure, we adopt a “defense in depth” strategy to defend against fraud.

Q: We’ve seen some major disaster situations in recent months, particularly in Hawaii. At the end of the day, people are going to need help from the federal government. How can we make sure they get relief while protecting against fraud?

A: You need to be able to thread the needle. People need quick relief, but removing all checks to quickly address those needs can lead to substantial losses. Socure has passive verification, active verification, and an extensive fraud suite. Most people won’t actually need to do identity document verification. If someone is at higher risk, we can step them up to document verification and collect their photo ID.

Related Resources


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