Complete guide to ID Verification

What is ID verification?

ID verification is the process of confirming an individual’s identity. It's a crucial step in customer onboarding for various sectors, including finance, travel, mobility, and online marketplaces. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of ID verification, focusing on services, apps, and APIs that make this process seamless and secure.

ID verification as a service

ID verification as a service is a cloud-based solution that allows businesses to integrate identity verification into their existing systems. This service is often provided by specialized ID verification companies that offer various solutions like document verification, biometric analysis, and data verification

Benefits of using ID verification as a service

  • Scalability — the ability to meet varying levels of demand faster than internal teams can scale.
  • Cost-effectiveness — ID verification as a service is typically AI-powered, so can provide lower-priced checks than manual teams.
  • Compliance with regulations — ID verification as a service companies should seek certifications that enable them to meet varying regulations. For example, Onfido is ETSI TS 119 461 certified. 

ID verification API

Whether building a solution in-house or leveraging off-the-shelf SDKs, businesses will need to connect to an ID verification API to effectively ingest and act on the results of identity verification. Onfido’s API is based on REST principles, using HTTP response codes and verbs, and token-based authentication to give businesses the tools they need to automate complex logic. Onfido’s API can generate SDK tokens, create applicants for identity verification checks, create and retrieve Onfido Studio workflow runs, and much more.

How to choose the right ID verification API

Choosing the right ID verification API for your business is a critical decision that can significantly impact your operations. There are several factors to consider, including reliability, speed, and security features. Below, we delve into each of these aspects to help you make an informed choice.


When it comes to ID verification, reliability is paramount – every moment you are unable to retrieve and act on verification results is a moment you are losing potential customers. You need an API that is both dependably available and reliably delivering accurate performance. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does the API have a high uptime, ensuring it's available when you need it?
  • Are there any backup systems in place to ensure continuous service?
  • What is the error rate, and how does the API handle errors?

It's advisable to look for APIs that offer at least 99.9% uptime and have robust error-handling mechanisms. Reading reviews and asking for recommendations can also provide insights into the API's reliability, as can checking a dedicated status page such as Onfido’s.


Speed is another crucial factor, especially for businesses that require real-time verification. Slow verification processes can lead to user frustration and abandoned transactions. Consider the following:

  • What is the average response time of the API?
  • Does the API support batch processing for bulk verifications?
  • Are there any rate limits, and if so, do they meet your business needs?

Choose an API that offers low-latency responses and can handle the volume of verifications you expect to conduct. If your business operates globally, also check if the API has multiple data centers to ensure fast response times worldwide.

Security features

Security should never be compromised, especially when dealing with sensitive personal information. Here's what to look for:

  • Does the API use strong encryption methods for data transmission?
  • Does the provider test their security in-house and externally through bug bounties?
  • Does the API provider comply with relevant regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA?

Ensure the API you choose uses industry-standard encryption protocols and offers secure authentication methods like API keys or OAuth. Compliance with data protection regulations is also a must to avoid legal complications. For example, Onfido is ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type 2 compliant.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose an ID verification API that aligns with your business needs and offers a secure, fast, and reliable service.

ID verification app

Mobile apps for ID verification are gaining traction for their convenience, user-friendly interfaces, and the ability to perform checks on the go. These apps, like Onfido’s Smart Capture, utilize the smartphone's camera and other built-in features to scan documents, capture biometric data, and provide real-time results. Below, we explore some of the popular features in ID verification apps and why they matter.

Document scanning

One of the primary features of ID verification apps is document verification. This feature allows users to capture images of identification documents like passports, driver's licenses, and social security cards. Here are some points to consider:

  • Does the app offer auto-capture capabilities to ensure high-quality scans?
  • Can it recognize and extract information from various types of documents?
  • Is the scanning process quick and straightforward?

Look for apps that offer intelligent document recognition and can automatically capture the document when it's in focus. This ensures that the scans are clear and readable, which is crucial for accurate verification.

Biometric capture

Face recognition adds an extra layer of security by matching the user's face with the photo on their identification document. This biometric verification is particularly useful for confirming that the person providing the ID is its legitimate owner. Consider the following:

  • Does the app offer liveness detection to prevent spoofing?
  • How accurate is the face matching algorithm?
  • Is the process quick and non-intrusive for the user?

Choose an app that offers advanced liveness detection features, such as requiring the user to blink or turn their heads, to ensure that the face being scanned is that of a live person. The face matching algorithm should also be highly accurate to prevent false positives or negatives.

Fast results

The ability to provide real-time results is a significant advantage, especially for businesses that require immediate verification. Here's what to look for:

  • How quickly does the app return verification results?
  • Does it offer a summary of the verification checks performed?
  • Can the results be integrated into your existing systems?

An ideal ID verification app should quickly provide results, complete with a summary of the checks performed and their outcomes. If you're using the app for business purposes, ensure that it can integrate with your existing systems for a seamless user experience.

By focusing on these key features, you can choose an ID verification app that not only meets your needs but also provides a secure, fast, and user-friendly experience.

Choosing the right ID verification service

The ID verification market is crowded with various companies offering a range of solutions, from APIs and apps to cloud-based services. While the core function remains the same—verifying identities—what sets these companies apart are the unique features they offer. Below, we delve into some of these top features that make certain companies stand out in the ID verification industry.

Global support

One of the key features to look for is the ability to support multiple types of identification documents around the world, so your business can seamlessly expand. 

  • Does the company offer a wide range of document support?
  • Can it handle documents in multiple languages?

Companies that offer multi-document support are generally more versatile and can cater to a broader audience, making them ideal choices for businesses with global operations.

Advanced biometric analysis

Biometric verification is becoming increasingly important in identity verification. This involves using facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, and sometimes even iris scanning.

  • Does the company offer advanced biometric features?
  • How secure and accurate are these biometric methods?

Companies that offer robust biometric analysis are generally considered more secure and are better at preventing fraud. Onfido Motion is a-next generation biometric liveness solution delivering seamless, secure, and inclusive customer verification. With a simple head-turn capture, businesses can automate customer onboarding and assess more customers, more quickly and efficiently while significantly reducing their fraud exposure.


Certifications that enable the ID verification provider to operate and be accepted by regulators are important for regulated industries like financial services, transportation, and gambling. When choosing a vendor it’s important to assess:

  • Does the company adhere to international compliance standards?
  • Do they offer features that help your business stay compliant?

User experience

The ease with which end-users can go through the verification process is also a significant factor. A complicated or time-consuming process can deter users.

  • Is the user interface intuitive?
  • Does the company offer a seamless verification experience across multiple platforms?

A focus on user experience often translates to higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.


As your business grows, your ID verification needs will also expand. The ability to scale is a crucial feature.

  • Can the service handle a growing number of verifications?
  • Is it easy to integrate additional features or services?

Companies that offer scalable solutions can adapt to your growing needs, providing long-term value.

By considering these top features, you can make an informed decision when choosing an ID verification company that aligns with your business needs and offers a secure, efficient, and compliant service.

Want to learn more about digital identity verification?

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What is an online ID verification service?

Simply put, Online ID verification services are web-based solutions that allow for the verification of identities over the internet. Once performed face-to-face, ID verification is now overwhelmingly conducted remotely — these services are used by regulated industries conducing KYC. 

Advantages of online ID verification

  • Accessibility — verification can be conducted at anytime, from anywhere. Potential customers do not need to travel to stores or branches to be verified.
  • Speed — verification can be completed online in seconds, and result in faster access to products and services.
  • Global reach — online ID verification services can accurately process thousands of global identity documents, something that’s not feasible for in-store staff. 

Verifiying ID: The final word

ID verification is an essential process for businesses that need to confirm the identity of their customers or users. With various services, apps, and APIs available, choosing the right solution can be overwhelming. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview to help you make an informed decision.

At Onfido, we provide scalable and agile identity verification solutions designed to meet the specific requirements of businesses in various industries all over the world. Our Real Identity Platform offers a suite of verification checks to meet your needs, which can be orchestrated in our no-code workflow builder, Onfido Studio

Ready to make ID verification simple?

The Real Identity Platform is trusted by over 1,100 businesses to verify their customers. Get in touch to learn more, or take our interactive tour to see it’s capabilities and try out our workflow builder.

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