The legal industry has seen a spike in the use of eIDV (or Electronic Identity Verification) in recent years. This is due to industry-wide shifts to remote working, changing client expectations, the need to adapt to increasingly sophisticated fraud and to remain compliant with constantly evolving AML regulations. While the benefits of implementing eIDV into your firm’s practices are self-evident, the act of selecting the right solution for your business may seem like a hurdle in itself.
With this in mind, we here at Thirdfort have put together our Top 5 Tips for choosing an eIDV provider- to remove the stress of shopping around, so you can enjoy the benefit to your business.
1) What are the basic features I should be looking for?
In 2020, most if not all eIDV providers should incorporate the following as a minimum:
· AML screening (PEPs, sanctions and adverse media screening as well as UK electronic identity searches)
· ID document scanning
· Facial recognition
· Liveness detection (e.g. determining if a face presented to a facial recognition system is that of a live person to prevent spoofing)
The above ensure that the solution you choose is robust enough to keep your firm compliant and risk averse.
2) Is the onus on your client or your firm to verify identity?
If the solution you’re considering offers more manual checks (such as requiring you/your firm to upload clients’ documents onto an online portal for example) as opposed to placing the onus on clients to complete their own checks via a mobile app, you may wish to consider whether this solution is best placed to make your onboarding process more efficient for both clients and colleagues. Furthermore, a solution that involves your firm uploading clients’ documents is unlikely to include Facial Recognition testing, and is therefore not the most secure, risk-based approach on the market.
3) How are completion rates maximised?
Clients starting but not finishing their identity checks is the biggest obstacle to your firm seeing the positive results you’re looking for in eIDV. If completion rates aren’t prioritised by your eIDV provider, this can expose your firm to the unwanted time delays and compliance risks associated with manual ID checking.
For this reason, you should ask any potential providers to outline the ways in which they maximise completion rates. If, for example, you are a conveyancer, does the solution collect the additional AML information required for property transactions? Do they take care of chasing clients? If not, who does (and how much will this cost your firm)?
Less tech-savvy, or more elderly, clients may require multiple attempts at their check before achieving a ‘pass’ result- in this case, is your firm charged for failed or repeated checks?
In addition to simply maximising completion rates, theeIDV supplier you select should add value to your firm by significantly speeding up your onboarding process. Ask your potential provider to outline the typical turnaround time for an ID check completed using their solution. Is this shorter than your current ID verification process? If so, adopting this eIDV solution should reduce transaction times, free up staff to focus on fee-earning and generating further revenue for your business.
4) Does the provider offer a support service?
When choosing your eIDV provider, a key consideration is whether they provide a support service along with their product, and whether this comes at an additional cost. With an average of 20% of clients requiring some kind of support when completing their ID checks, this could be costly to provide in-house.
More importantly, high quality, consistent client support further boosts completion rates and allows you to continue with fee-earning while providing a positive client experience that reflects well on your firm.
5) How is the service set-up, and is the solution able to evolve?
Set up is another element of the process to evaluate. It’s important to understand your own requirements and match these up to what the eIDV provider is offering.
There are normally three options:
- Case Management System integration: customised to your business systems and normally leads to the most efficient outcomes. Relevant considerations include what time and cost is required to benefit from an integration, and if development resources (in-house or outsourced) will be required.
- An out-of-the-box software application works outside of your CMS, e.g. through a web portal. As they are ‘off the shelf’, they often have lower installation costs and are much faster to deploy- ideal for running proof of concepts.
- A provider that offers both of the above. We’d advise considering the benefits of running a proof of concept using the out-of-the-box solution before committing further.
The above helps to consider what your eIDV solution can do to streamline your firm’s processes initially, but have you questioned their product roadmap- i.e. whether they have the capacity to evolve to meet your firm’s future needs? Does the provider’s product roadmap align with your firm’s wider onboarding strategy? In a competitive industry bound by changing regulations, the ability of a provider to adapt and grow to meet their clients’ needs is just as important as what they can offer in the immediate term.
As frustrating as it is, no provider is going to be able to offer you a silver bullet solving all of your client onboarding needs overnight. However, we at Thirdfort believe it’s important to weigh up the needs of your firm against what providers can offer, to ensure you’re making a decision that will positively impact your clients, and your business.
To discuss whether Thirdfort could be the right eIDV provider for your firm, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.