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Establishing Customer Liveness Through Mobile Phone Number Verification

Fergal Parkinson

7 min read
Person using a smartphone with graphics suggesting mobile phone number verification and customer liveness, with a promotional banner for an article or report.

Customer Liveness is important to check. This is because transactions with your customers are increasingly taking place on mobile devices, as they look to the quickest and easiest way to do everything from everyday tasks like accessing their bank account information, though to major life decisions such as buying a new car or signing up for a mortgage.

Digital loan applications have been on the rise for many years now, meaning that if your mobile onboarding process isn’t at the centre of your customer’s user experience, then you could be starting to fall behind the more mobile focused competitors in your industry.

As part of your Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, it’s essential that you’re keeping up to date customer information to verify their identities and make sure you’re complying with government and industry regulations – particularly in frequently changing markets such as the online gaming industry or banking.

For an increasing number of global businesses, a Customer Liveness Check is forming an effective measure within the overall customer onboarding processes.


What is Customer Liveness and a Customer Liveness Check?

Customer Liveness is an advanced identity verification process which focuses on using modern technologies as a more streamlined method of checking whether your customer is active and, more importantly, who they are claiming to be.

Rather than using traditional methods, a customer liveness check gathers data from their mobile device to confirm and verify their identity. This includes features like: 

  • Biometric fingerprint & facial recognition
  • Face matching algorithms & detection software
  • Motion detection & gesture measurement
  • Phone number & network data consistent to a user


The latest mobile devices use all these technologies and more as part of their operating system, for security and other purposes such as predictive text features. Therefore, they can be automatically used to validate the identity of a user during an application process. This allows for ID verification in much quicker timescales when compared to more traditional methods, such as sending verification codes by post or email.


The Benefits of Using Customer Liveness Checks During Your Customer Onboarding Process

Onboarding is one of the most likely points within your customer lifecycle where you are vulnerable to fraud and criminal activity. Just like in the real world, cyber criminals are opportunist and regularly strike quickly once they have fraudulently gained access to an account or applied for a financial product online. From Sim-Swap fraud to account takeovers the best remedy for nearly all online risks is a robust verification process.

Customer liveness checks can help achieve this objective, along with some other key benefits below:

  • Ensure secure access to digital accounts for users
  • Remove the need for additional verification during customer onboarding
  • Instantly authenticate online transactions
  • Provide additional security to existing biometric systems


With that said, even some of the latest customer liveness verification tools can have some drawbacks and leave themselves open to potential fraud risks.

This is why mobile number verification is an extremely useful way to add an additional layer of authentication to your overall processes, cross referencing biometric data against external sources, like the databases we use and that are directly provided by governments and mobile networks.


The Drawbacks with Facial Recognition Software

I think we can all agree that facial recognition has been a bit of a game changer in terms of how we access private information via our mobile phones. Even so, when it comes to the most sensitive data such as banking information or health records, every additional measure should be taken to add further layers of security where possible too.

There are some issues which users can experience which can create vulnerabilities when using facial recognition software:


Additional friction – We all want to control every stage of our onboarding process to minimise friction and the chance of users dropping off during sign up. One of the drawbacks with facial recognition is that you are reliant on your customers to do this properly and not get distracted in the process, increasing the chances of them abandoning the process when compared to fully integrated mobile number checking.

User adoption – Facial recognition software is still a relatively new invention. The first iPhone to include facial recognition was the iPhone X released in 2017. Although this wasn’t the first device to include such functionality, it does show that it’s not been around forever and that a lot of your customers are likely using devices which don’t include the technology. Some users can also be sceptical when it comes to storing their facial details within their device.

Hacking vulnerabilities – Even though it is much more secure than its predecessors, facial recognition software can still be vulnerable to hacks and other cybercriminal activity. In 2019, it took hackers just 120 seconds to compromise Apple’s FaceID system. Even with ongoing developments, as facial recognition software becomes more popular, it also becomes more of a target for malicious activity.

Alternatively, elements of your customer’s mobile phone number data are almost impossible for criminals to manipulate, meaning that these problems can be mitigated when integrated within your existing customer liveness checks. The results can also be returned in real time, so that no additional friction is added to your customer onboarding process.


Why should I use Mobile Phone Number Data in my Customer Liveness Checks?

There are numerous reasons why mobile phone data is a reliable way of checking the identity of your customers, both during the onboarding process and on an ongoing basis when you suspect a fraud risk to your user’s accounts. These benefits include:

An extremely reliable data source – A mobile phone number is a much more consistent datapoint for verifying your customers, even when compared to biometric data. This is because when undertaking a real time check, our mobile phone number lookup API’s cross reference the information provided against external and reliable third-party databases.

These are provided by either network providers or directly from government agencies, depending on the location where you have requested your number check.

No additional friction – All our mobile phone number data checks are based on the customer’s phone number, already provided as part of the application process. Therefore, you don’t even need to ask your new customer to scan their face, meaning the entire verification process is seamless and happens in the background. The results of your check are also delivered in less than a second so you can move forward with confidence seamlessly.

Effective on all devices – Because we only need a mobile phone number, it’s easy to implement our customer verification tools for all your customers regardless of the mobile device they’re using. This is particularly beneficial if you operate in emerging markets or where internet connections can be slow.

Full global coverage – We can provide you with mobile phone number data in all the countries where it’s available, anywhere in the world.


Verify Protect for Customer Liveness Checking

Verify Protect is a market leading mobile number verification tool, used by global businesses who operate in heavily regulated industries and have an obligation to verify the identity of their customers. Our comprehensive and easy to integrate API’s, including live feeds from our Network Operator partners, links a person to a mobile helping our clients validate and authenticate their end users. We have also recently expanded our suite of Verify API products, including our specific customer onboarding, fraud prevention and data cleansing tools.

If you would like to find out more about how this can be integrated into your existing processes, please contact a member of our expert team to discuss your requirements.

Last updated on April 23, 2024


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