Ekata Offers Seamless Digital Identity Verification
Ekata doesn’t use the usual data elements when it helps clients determine a user’s digital identity, their director of enterprise sales Kurt Weiss said. The company provides identity verification services to large financial institutions, fintechs, challenger banks marketplace lenders and e-commerce providers.
A person’s name, phone, and email, physical and IP address are the core elements of the digital footprint, Mr. Weiss explained. When engaging in a digital transaction, the company is asking if the buyer is indeed the legitimate owner.
That becomes harder when faced with instantaneous decisions like companies are as buy now pay later (BNPL) opportunities grow, Mr. Weiss explained. Luckily, Ekata is strong at identifying synthetic identity fraud while also focusing on making the decision making process as seamless as possible for those legitimate customers.
“That ability to look at the good side is a little bit unique because we’re going across these different identity elements to look holistically at how they build up into an individual that can give those signals of both malicious intent and of a good customer,” Mr. Weiss said.
That’s a bit of a shift from the traditional approach where companies understandably want to prevent fraud. But what can happen is they introduce friction to all customers and that impacts revenues. Better to. Focus on customer acquisition instead of fraud mitigation.
The digital footprint is all the more important given the growing prevalence of e-commerce, where traditional factors, such as date of birth and Social Security number, are less important, but useful information is cross-referenced from their use on dating sites, ride hailing and e-commerce. That information is often used in breaches and continuing to deploy them plays right into the fraudsters’ hands.
“What Ekata is able to do is across our customers and all these segments we look at is we see really high velocities, high usage of these,” Mr. Weiss said. “Their prevalence in these transactions makes them incredibly valuable as the things to track and understand the identity behind them.”
If you order something off your mobile device, it has to be shipped somewhere. Does that conform to what is known about you? Was the email address randomly generated? How often is it used? What is it used for? The answers can help determine the probability of you actually being who you claim to be.
BNPL provides an incredible opportunity to capture sales, Mr. Weiss said. Ekata has been working with the top providers in the space since 2015 and have seen cart values of those offering the service increase by 125 per cent over those who don’t.
There is risk, however. Customers expect a decision at the speed of a normal transaction, while the vendor wants a highly reliable assessment. As BNPL becomes available for smaller purchase sums that affects expectations too.
Has that new email address been used in 100 purchase attempts over the past week?
“We can flag in real time that that’s just not the expected behaviour,” Mr. Weiss said. “This is just a new vector, it’s a new point where fraudsters can test their identities, test their own business practices to see if there’s a weak spot there they can exploit.”