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With nearly 111 million consumers using services like Airbnb, Uber and daily, the sharing economy is booming more than ever before. And if you consider the sensitivity of the information, goods, services, and funds being exchanged, it should go without saying that the secure identity authentication and verification of users accessing these platforms is critical. But as a new report from PYMNTS shows, many sharing economy platforms are still using surprisingly weak identity verification and authentication methods that put consumers’ digital identities and data at risk.

Identity Authentication Challenges for Sharing Economy Platforms

Based on their survey of 3,585 consumers in early 2019, PYMNTS made the following conclusions about the digital identity authentication and verification techniques being used by sharing economy platforms today:

  • Many sharing economy platforms seem to be sacrificing onboarding and login security for more seamless user experiences, putting users and their data at risk.
  • Many platforms also seem to be using outdated and vulnerable forms of identity authentication and verification (such as passwords) despite the fact that users prefer newer methods:
    • PYMNTS found that fingerprint scanning was the most popular method of authentication amongst users logging into sharing economy platforms. 76.4 percent of consumers who are asked to verify their identities by scanning their fingerprints when logging into existing sharing economy accounts report being “very” or “extremely” satisfied with their login process.
    • Only 9.2 percent of surveyed consumers say their sharing economy platforms authenticate them using fingerprint scanning.
  • The most common way sharing economy users say they are asked to authenticate their identities when logging into their accounts is through simple passwords (49.5 percent) and email addresses (35 percent).
  • This is problematic because not only are customer satisfaction rates lower when using password and email address authentication, but these methods also have known vulnerabilities considering that consumers’ personally identifiable information is easily accessible to fraudsters on social media and the dark web.

Based on PYMNTS’ data, it can be concluded that sharing economy platforms could solve these issues by employing the identity verification methods most preferred by their users (fingerprint scanning and personal questions) – but that would only be addressing one side of the experience vs. security coin. As numerous news articles show, fingerprint biometrics can be shockingly easy to hack and personal security questions have the same issues as passwords and email addresses – they’re notoriously simple to crack using information found or purchased on the dark web.

So what can sharing economy platforms do to both raise their users’ satisfaction levels and ensure that their data and identities are protected against fraud?

Identity Authentication Opportunities for Sharing Economy Platforms

Passive identity authentication, an emerging technology that is already in use at many of the world’s largest banks, healthcare companies, and technology enterprises, would allow sharing economy platforms to authenticate users frictionlessly through their mobile phones without any action necessary on the part of the user. When compared to fingerprint scanning or personal questions, passive authentication is even more seamless, and is substantially more secure as the only way a fraudster could crack this technology is if they were actually in possession of the target’s mobile device (which is not scalable).

Passive identity authentication, such as Payfone’s mobile authentication tools, would enable sharing economies to leverage the same level of security used by large banks while also extending the best possible experience to their userbase.

For more information on Payfone’s suite of passive authentication solutions, contact us here.

The rise of mobile technology and automated platforms has led to more advanced self-servicing and convenience for consumers. Ironically, many of those same technologies also lead to more call center interactions and human intervention when customers are unable to complete transactions on their own, which causes frustration (long call wait times, annoying security questions to verify identity, and then having to re-verify your identity each time you are transferred to another part of the call center), as well as higher expenses and a decline in customer satisfaction.

Payfone CEO Rodger Desai recently joined a panel of industry experts from Infobip, Citi, and Amazon Web Services at Medici’s inaugural Inner Circle event to share insights about what companies can do to differentiate themselves with safer, faster and easier customer experiences and stay relevant in the digital age.

See highlights from the discussion >

Growing instances of fraud in digital channels (“year-over-year online fraud losses are up 10% or more for 60% of FI risk executives surveyed” – Aite Group research, 2019) are forcing enterprises to design their customer experiences around preventing fraud rather than creating great customer experiences with fast and easy interactions. The fear of fraud overtaking the desire to deliver great user experiences creates a “Trust Gap” whereby most companies can only “pass” ~40% of customers during digital interactions (such as logging in to online or mobile accounts or calling into a call center) without subjecting them to cumbersome identity authentication processes such as security questions and SMS passcodes. The Trust Gap describes the discrepancy between the ~60% of interactions that brands typically treat with suspicion despite the fact that only 2-3% of transactions actually deserve further inspection.

Research indicates that many enterprises are actively working to overcome the Trust Gap to be able to extend the best possible user experiences to customers without sacrificing security. According to Aite Group, 86% of merchants surveyed and 88% of FI respondents indicated that improving the CX is the #1 key factor driving their investments in anti-fraud technology.

How can companies use the Trust Gap to their benefit to get a leg-up on the competition? Head to Forbes to read what our CEO, Rodger Desai, says about how trust will be the KPI that reshuffles the Fortune 500, and what enterprises can do to start capitalizing on this trend.

Read the full article on Forbes >

Our clients are able to extend great digital experiences to their customers who have high Trust Scores – but what about those consumers who have Trust Scores below 300, which may be an indicator of unusual behavior, synthetic identity fraud, or SIM swap and other attacks?

Adaptive Orchestration is a real-time measure of identity confidence for those consumers who cannot be immediately passed because their Trust Score is too low, or whose use case requires multi-factor authentication, thus requiring further investigation. With Adaptive Orchestration, additional methods such as ‘take a selfie’ can be used to inform the Trust Score in real time. This process may be used to further verify consumers with Trust Scores between 300-630 who may be legitimate but are showing unusual behavior.

The image above shows one example of how adaptive orchestration allows a consumer to take a selfie in real time and have it instantly matched with their US passport on file.

After a successful step-up authentication that passes the customer via Adaptive Orchestration, the Trust Score immediately adjusts to a level of 630 or above, and will persist to avoid the need to step-up the same customer in the future if no new indicators of unusual behavior are evident. All of this is seamlessly orchestrated across all channels via the Payfone Trust Platform.

To learn more about Adaptive Orchestration, contact us.

No industry is safe from the Amazon Effect or the Uber phenomenon or the WhatsApp moment, especially Financial Services. With consumer expectations higher than ever, brands are having to revolutionize the way they communicate with their customers. We are in the new age of omni-channel, omni-present communication that must respect the intelligence of customers and address their preferences. With technology like AI-powered chatbots leveling the playing field, companies must “meet” customers wherever and whenever they choose, without compromising on richness of context or trust and security. As FinTechs increasingly move away from disruption and focus on mutually beneficial collaboration with financial institutions, there’s a need for a platform-based approach to ensure that the end-customer’s experience is curated rather than confusing.

Make sure you have a platform that will grow with your company and orchestrate content in a plug-and-play fashion across all customer touchpoints and channels. Contact us to learn more.

It is now possible. Payfone assigns a real time personalized Trust Score to every consumer.

Listen to (or read about) a just released podcast with Tearsheet and Rodger Desai, CEO of Payfone to hear how using telecom and other signals, Payfone yields up to 73% higher verification rates, which turn into high consumer pass rates and enrollments.

Tearsheet’s Zack Miller breaks it down for you in a new podcast. Rodger discusses some of the top challenges businesses are facing today and how they are solving them with advanced digital identity authentication. He also shares insights on how to measure digital identity ROI, and a new report published by Aite Group about why diversified signals are key to higher identity verification rates.

Listen to the new Tearsheet podcast here.

Mobile Network Operator (MNO) data has long been thought of by many in the identity authentication industry as a vital source of signals for enterprises to prevent fraud and create better customer experiences. New research published by global research and advisory firm Aite Group indicates that stronger identity verification requires diversified signals.

The analysis was based on a data study completed in Q1 2019 for a leading U.S. financial institution to understand Payfone’s ability to detect fraud and improve the customer experience both with and without access to MNO data. From most businesses’ perspective, the ability to provide high verification rates is often of greater value than fraud detection, given the benefits of reduced customer friction and lower operational expense (with fewer customers having to engage with the contact center or manual review teams), which drive customer satisfaction and higher Net Promoter Scores.

The results of Aite’s report are a compelling validation of Payfone’s value proposition. The verify rate, which consists of the proportion of records in which the name and address are successfully matched with the phone number, was 64.2% using MNO data alone. When Payfone’s full network of authoritative verification partners was used, excluding MNO data, this produced a verify rate of 83.2%. The verify rate for Payfone’s collective sources, including MNO information, was 85.1%, which indicates there is only a slight improvement (1.9%) in account verification rates when direct carrier information is added to the equation.

payfone, identity verification, aite group, identity authentication, digital trust

Even more compelling, when the verify rates are extrapolated to reflect the total line type distribution in the U.S., the verify rate improvement across all line types increases by 73%. This improvement makes intuitive sense, given the broader population of verification partners that Payfone has access to, versus the sample data, which was heavily skewed to mobile.

“The goal of the study was to understand the solution’s ability to provide accurate identity verification while increasing fraud detection,” said Julie Conroy, Research Director for Aite Group’s Fraud & AML practice. “From most businesses’ perspective, the ability to provide high verification rates is often of greater value than fraud detection, given the benefits of reduced customer friction and lower operational expense (with fewer customers having to engage with the contact center or manual review teams), which drive customer satisfaction and higher Net Promoter Scores. The results of this analysis are a compelling validation of Payfone’s value proposition to assess the risk of the phone and its owner, providing FIs, merchants, and other firms with reliance on digital and/or contact center channels with a unique view into the risk associated with their customers, and an ability to remove unnecessary points of friction.”

To download the full report, click here.

Educate yourself with more Did You Know? insights here.

Consumers love the convenience of digital, but businesses do not make it easy. Sadly, that’s because businesses cannot tell the difference between their customers and fraudsters. There is a podcast now available that you should seriously consider listening to.

Cameron D’Ambrosi from One World Identity interviews Rodger Desai, Founder and CEO of Payfone, the leader in digital identity authentication. Rodger’s vision has built an identity authentication business that consistently outperforms the competition in what really matters – pass rates and identifying the fraudsters. Find out how to increase pass rates (translation – greenlight more consumers and improve enrollments) and increase approval rates, customer satisfaction and CX without those annoying questions such as how many stop signs are in this picture.

This may be one of the best podcasts in years dealing specifically with the issues facing CEOs, CMOs, Chief Digital Officers, Chief Risk Officers, CISOs and anyone who is trying to figure out how to juggle convenience, security, and privacy.

Listen to the new podcast here.

It’s no secret that frictionless and trusted digital experiences are driving the reshuffling of the Fortune 500. In the face of intensifying competition to build the next generation of UX, instant gratification built on uninterrupted online experiences will have a dramatic impact on any type of service adoption, and will drive dramatic growth in sales across nearly all industries, spanning from financial services to healthcare to retail to insurance to high-tech.

But how can these new make-or-break standards be quantified? And how can brands see if they measure up?

3 Key KPIs to Measure Digital Trust

  • Pass Rate: Pass rate is the percentage of your customers that can be greenlighted or ‘passed’ during a digital interaction (ex: login, signup, call center call) without introducing friction via step-up authentication. Enterprises typically hover around 40% pass rate. Passive authentication technology such as Payfone’s can bring this metric to >90%.
  • Latency/Interaction Duration: Latency is the length of time it takes to verify a customer’s identity and to allow them to complete an interaction. Traditional identity authentication processes such as passwords, SMS OTP and security questions typically add unnecessary lag to interactions, causing customers to abandon. Passive authentication can bring latency down to just milliseconds. To put the importance of speed into perspective, Google research found that 40% of consumers will leave a webpage that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • Customer Satisfaction: A measure of how happy your customers are and how willing they would be to return or to recommend your brand to others. Typically quantified as NPS or CSAT scores. Pass rate and latency have a direct effect on this metric. Citing the same Google study as above, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website are less likely to purchase from the same site again.

Taking these three KPIs into consideration, how does your company score when it comes to Digital Trust?

To learn how you can improve these KPIs for your business, contact us.

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Did you KNOW…

SIM swap fraud is one of the fastest-growing and most devastating fraud vectors plaguing companies and consumers today. From cryptocurrency exchanges to social media networks, all digital service providers that require users to log in are at risk of making headlines for falling victim to these increasingly common attacks if they do not have advanced preventative technology in place.




First, scammers trick victims into divulging personal information about themselves and then socially engineer customer service representatives in order to take over a victim’s phone number by having them transfer the number to a SIM card in their possession. Once they’ve done this successfully, the fraudster has full control over the unsuspecting victim’s phone number, allowing them full access to their accounts. 

While victims are at risk of having their cryptocurrency accounts drained or having their social media handles taken hostage, the harm to the service providers who failed to protect their users against these kinds of attacks ranges from major reputational damage to liability for lost funds to the risk of losing users to more secure competitors.




Many proactive service providers are taking it upon themselves to secure their businesses with preventative technology, like Payfone’s Trust Score, to protect their customers against SIM swap fraud.

Payfone’s patented Trust Score provides a real-time check that allows service providers to see, at the time of a transaction, if a SIM swap has taken place. Here is a real-life example of how the Trust Score is being used today by a leading cryptocurrency exchange:

1) Fraudster steals cryptocurrency exchange username/password of victim through email phishing or similar method.
2) Fraudster takes over victim’s phone number by social engineering a customer service representative.
3) Typically at this point, the fraudster would then be able to log into the cryptocurrency exchange with the stolen credentials, and since they would have taken over the phone number as well, they would be able to receive any 2FA SMS one-time passcodes right to their own phone. However, with Payfone enabled, the cryptocurrency exchange would be able to call the Payfone Trust Score before sending an SMS OTP to see if a SIM swap has occurred on that account.
4) If a SIM swap has occurred, the cryptocurrency exchange routes the user to further inspection before granting them access to the account.
5) In almost all cases where accounts were locked due to insight from the Payfone Trust Score, victims confirmed that their accounts had, in fact, been taken over. Because accounts were locked before any damage could be done, the cryptocurrency exchange was able to safeguard the victims’ cryptocoins.

Note: There were some cases where accounts were locked despite no actual fraud having taken place. This was due to the fact that not all SIM swaps are nefarious. SIM swaps often occur for legitimate reasons–perhaps you dropped your phone in the toilet and wanted to activate an old phone you had in a drawer. However, all SIM swaps should be subject to additional scrutiny as a safety measure.


The overall result was that the cryptocurrency exchange reported zero SIM swap attacks since implementing Payfone’s Trust Score.


“We’re experts in mobile identity. We predicted that as chip cards rolled out in the U.S., fraudsters would attack two-factor solutions that secure banking, fintech and bitcoin services,” said Rodger Desai, Chief Executive Officer, Payfone. “Payfone’s patented Trust Score thwarts these types of attacks before they can do harm by detecting suspicious SIM swaps as soon as they occur.”

The Trust Score has an additional benefit of creating a more seamless experience for legitimate users. One of the main complaints that consumers have about accessing online services is that proving their identities through passwords, knowledge-based authentication and SMS one-time passcodes is cumbersome and time-consuming. Payfone overcomes this tradeoff by using advanced analytics to make logging into online accounts as easy for good users and impossible for scammers.

“Consumers expect digital services to be effortless and secure. Yet security can often be cumbersome,” said David Birch, Global Ambassador, Consult Hyperion. “With new, cutting edge attacks such as SIM swaps, businesses need more and better security, which could mean more friction and therefore fewer customers. Payfone’s technologies deliver the security without the friction.”


Interested in learning how Payfone can stop SIM swap fraudsters from damaging your company? Contact us here to set up a free consultation.


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