Jumio survey shows biometric identity verification needed to protect trust in sharing economy

Nearly one in five U.S. consumers (18.1 percent) feel unsafe using online sharing services, and only two-thirds feel “very safe” or “somewhat safe,” according to survey results released by Jumio.

The Jumio Global Trust and Safety Survey shows 71.2 percent of adults in the U.S. believe an identity verification process for new users and service providers is either “somewhat important” or “very important” for online sharing services. Half say they would be willing to go through an online identity check for a sharing economy service.

Jumio cites research indicating the sharing economy is forecasted to have 86.5 million users by 2021 and revenues of $335 billion by 2020. A lack of consumer confidence could pose a barrier to the continuation of this explosive growth.

To protect consumer confidence, facial biometrics have a number of advantages over other biometric and non-biometric methods of identity verification, Jumio VP of Global Marketing Dean Nicolls told Biometric Update in an email interview. These include the spoof protection provided by 3D liveness detection, familiar user experience, and the trust that battle-tested face-based biometric provide. Having an individual perform a biometric check could also scare off fraudsters.

“When someone creates an online account they can claim to be anyone they want to be,” Nicolls points out. “Sharing economy companies need a high level of assurance that the person is who they claim to be, and this is not accomplished with traditional methods of online identity verification like credit bureau pings or knowledge-based verification. Leveraging a valid government-issued ID that is corroborated with a selfie and certified 3D liveness detection provides a significantly higher level of assurance.”

“Online sharing services are facilitating an in-person meeting between two strangers, so it is imperative that businesses foster a relationship of trust and an environment of safety to protect all parties involved,” says Jumio President Robert Prigge in the announcement. “These businesses are tasked with the difficult challenge of establishing digital trust between both the provider and user. The first step in establishing a digital chain of trust is ensuring, beyond any doubt, that a person’s digital identity matches their physical identity and they are who they claim to be.”

Nicolls says that sharing economy businesses have somewhat uneven awareness of the trust issues consumers have with them. He notes that while Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky once said “Airbnb is built on trust,” other segments such as online dating are lagging.

“In some cases, these sectors are operating with minimal resources so they have to mind every penny and this sometimes means they cut corners on identity verification,” says Nicolls.

The company is offering an “Ultimate Guide to Trust & Safety in the Sharing Economy” with full survey results and guidance on how to bring online identity verification to business platforms.

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