Colombia Identity Verification

Shared Visions – Identity Verification in Latin America

One of the best parts of my job at GDC is meeting founders of data services companies around the world. In many cases these founders have created unique identity focused solutions targeted for use within their local markets. Their customers are banks, insurance firms and in some cases the government. In some cases I will find entrepreneurs who have begun to look at expansion to other countries that are proximate to their home country. In every case when I sit down with founders and share our global mission they start off with a skeptical view but then quickly become very interested in how we have been able to achieve the progress made thus far. Most importantly they want to find a way to participate in making our global vision a reality. The most recent example of this was during a sourcing trip to Colombia.

Our goal was to meet with a number of possible data sources to help significantly improve our ability to provide Colombian identity verification within a 2+2 compliance framework. We spent three days meeting with various providers to get a sense of what was available and whether we could find local partners with the right alignment. One provider stood out from the rest because of the vision of the founder.

Daniel is one of Colombia’s pre-eminent tech entrepreneurs. He’s built a 100+ employee company that manages varying aspects of digital data and cyber security for the Colombian government. The data his company works with is the de-facto source data for Colombian consumer and business ID. This is Daniel’s third company and he is very clearly a knowledge base for all things identity in Colombia. He has a vision for growing a strong business throughout Latin America.

The conversation started on a familiar path. I spent time talking about GDC, what we do, how we do it and what we look for in data partners. Daniel spent time describing his business and what they were focused on in the market. He described how he helps to manage the core data provided by the government to deliver identity based services to the market. As I was listening I realized we had found a key source provider. At the end of his piece he directly states I’ve studied what you do and we would like to explore using your platform for your services in other countries. In that moment the conversation flipped from my focus on data sourcing to looking at his company as more of a bi-directional partnership which is the goal of the “Consortium” aspect of GDC. We saw value in Daniel’s ability to provide Colombian identity verification through his API and he saw value in our ability to provide identity verification for Mexico, Argentina and other countries through our API.

Our meeting ran over the 60 minutes we had mutually allotted for. We spoke of the challenges in the Colombian market, the need for identity verification to counteract fraud and the compliance requirements (4AML and GDPR) of banks and other financial service institutions that created a framework for identity verification in other countries.  We continued the communications via email and we will begin sharing technical details with each other after the holidays. Within a few months we will have his service up and running within our Worldview platform. We will continue to shape the offering utilizing feedback from our Latin American customers. This process will produce the best results and service for Colombia identity verification globally. Alongside our solutions for Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and over 40 additional countries we will continue to expand our coverage globally.

Whether it is Ricardo in Brazil, or Mariana in Argentina or Daniel in Colombia, the story is the same. Shared visions of how identity verification can help enable consumers and businesses transaction globally. Each provider brings their data and local expertise and together we help solve problems globally. Founders working together to achieve a common goal.

Shared Visions - Colombia Identity Verification

Shared Visions – Colombia           Identity Verification


The GDC Way on Data Partnerships

Quick note: GDC is expanding the country reach of our real-time global electronic identity verification platform. Today we have over 45 partnerships with best in-country providers of identity data, each integrated into our system. We are growing to 150+ as quickly as possible. In this post, I’m writing about our approach to building deep relationships with our data partners. If you are the owner or controller of data that can be used for electronic identity verification in your country, let’s talk. You’ll find a link at the bottom of this post with more information.

Off the Beaten Path

I was in South America not long ago on one of my frequent international jaunts, meeting with Global Data Consortium partners. We had been corresponding with one business for some time, and its data was particularly interesting to GDC customers. I won’t name the country this time (that would be a dead giveaway), but suffice it to say this trip involved prop planes and multiple “camioneta” buses. Off the beaten path would be an understatement.

But once at my destination, I spent a full day with the business owners. I met the management team, toured their offices, talked with local clients, and had dinner with the president in his home that evening. Here’s something he told me that really stuck in my mind:

No one has ever made the effort to travel to visit us before. Everyone wants access to our data, but they only want to talk through the phone or by email. That is not how we build partnerships in my country.

He thanked me. He was legitimately touched by the gesture of my in-person visit. Needless to say, he is now a GDC data partner, an important member of our Consortium.

The Trust Factor

We have lofty ambitions at the Global Data Consortium. Our goal is to be the one point of access for business that use global electronic identity verification, offering the most countries with the deepest coverage and most data elements possible.

The foundation for this is our data partner network, those businesses that collect and maintain identity information in their home countries. They are our Consortium members, and without integrating into their services, we could not meet our goals.

Here’s the great insight at GDC: the owners of companies we want to partner with are fiercely relationship driven. Many of the businesses are still run by their founders. They are proud of what they have spent their lives building, and they don’t want to work with just anyone. They want to work with organizations they know they can trust.

So we invest in the relationships. It’s the only way to build mutual trust.

How do we do it?

The GDC Way

GDC creates clear expectations with our data partners for what their services must be able to do for our customers. We ensure high quality by testing what they have. We help them with enabling technology if they need it.

But we also make the relationship a two-way street. Not only do partners provide us with access to their data, but we also let them use the full GDC platform so they can offer a wider set of products to their own customers. This opens up new revenue opportunities for them.

That’s all part of the GDC Way.

But most importantly – and this is the thing our cohorts don’t seem to get – we take the time to meet our partners face-to-face, in their offices and sometimes even in their homes. We break bread together. We make the extra effort to get to know them and to let them know us, too.

That Extra Ounce of Effort

Sir John Templeton, the legendary investor, famously said that it’s the final extra ounce of effort that counts the most. For GDC, this seemingly minor detail of meeting our partners in person is the extra ounce of effort. It counts so much when building a real-time electronic identity verification platform that relies on a broad network of global suppliers.

It’s part of the GDC Way and a big part of the reason companies with valuable data assets choose to partner with us…to become members of the Consortium.

We recently put up a new page on the Global Data Consortium website describing how we work with our data partners. Take a look at it. For potential data partners, feel free to contact me through the form there, or send me an email at


Why I’m Using “Intelligence As A Service” Instead of “Data As A Service”

A common theme in today’s global data verification market is “Data As A Service.” This term is meant to encompass the validation and verification of data elements such as address, phone and email. In today’s cloud services environment, this term is already outdated. Intelligence As A Service is a far smarter and more robust customer offering for address validation and identity verification.

With the advancement of robust cloud infrastructures, there is no longer a dependence on the antiquated models of importing raw data from varied sources, hosting it on local servers and building rules engines on top of the data based on general knowledge and limited global experience.

  • Did you know that in many countries the best data can only be accessed via online query?
  • Did you know that is some countries only local vendors are allowed to build services to query data?
  • Did you know that refresh cycles vary widely for the raw data vendors serve to users?

Now a customer can query the best data and have it corrected and verified by experts on a market by market basis. Further customers can also benefit from local users usage of local solutions which creates a much higher degree of confidence in results and corrections for local data. Local Market Intelligence is ALWAYS BETTER and it is now available in real time for users regardless of where one is on the globe.




H&M Enhances its Cross Border Commerce via E-Commerce

Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) announced recently, that it would accelerate the pace of its global expansion via its e-commerce channel. Specifically they are expanding into 10 new markets bringing the total number of country distinct e-stores it offers to 13.
Clearly the company is seeing the huge growth potential via its e-commerce channel & rightly so. European clothing sector growth via e-commerce is expected to grow as much as 17% this year alone. Sustained growth is also occurring in Latin America and parts of Asia.
The downside of this growth opportunity is the increased amount of Fraud & Mis-Delivery that will occur in tandem with expansion into new global markets. We identify Fraud as Card Not Present (CNP) transactions that result in charge backs to vendors based on denial of transactions by cardholders. Mis-Delivery is defined as the inability or delayed ability to deliver online purchase items to customers due to low quality or non-existent address validation.
To ensure the successful growth of its cross border commerce efforts, H&M will need to invest in globalized solutions for Identity Management & Address Validation. By properly tying these offerings into their e-commerce process, the number of CNP fraudulent transactions as well as incorrectly addressed transactions can be reduced. Further H&M’s manual review team can reduce the time it takes to review and make decisions on dubious transactions.
Strong international growth markets promise new customers and new revenues, but each new market brings a layer of complexity in making sure that customer expectations are met. Further a company that does not properly prepare itself for the increased costs associated with Fraud and Mis-Delivery may find its profits in the new markets disappear one click at a time.

Disputed: The Chargeback

Chargeback scams are inherently frustrating. You did everything right, product copy and images were correct, the order was fulfilled and shipped quickly, and your shipping carrier confirmed delivery. Now a customer is disputing the charge.

Charge Back Process

The chargeback process begins with a consumer contacts their card company to dispute a transaction. If the credit card company finds a potential error, funds are reversed from the merchant’s account and the retailer’s payment processor is notified.

Some transactions are disputed due to honest mistakes. Your customer may not recognize your name on their statement or may have been double billed. Others result from fraudsters looking to scam merchandise or other’s personal information.

To dispute the chargeback, a retailer will file documentation known as a Representment. The representment allows the merchant to present evidence disputing a chargeback. This evidence can include signed delivery receipts, proof the merchant verified address and billing information, and the correct customer CVV code.

Once evidence has been provided to the credit card company, the claim is reviewed. If the merchant can prove the chargeback is incorrect the card holder will be charged again. The card holder has the option to dispute the charge a second time. As a last resort, merchants can enter into arbitration.

Avoiding chargebacks

Strong internal policies can help mitigate the risk of fraudulent chargebacks. Address, identity and payment verification help ensure transactions are legitimate and goods arrive when and where they are expected. Signed delivery receipts document when orders arrived and who received them. Ultimately, reducing chargebacks will boost your bottom line and reduce your headaches.

Jumia, Africa’s Amazon

Raphael Afaedor and Tunde Kehinde, are building what may become the largest payment processor and logistics company in Nigeria. Their company, Jumia, is aiming to be Africa’s Amazon.

Jumia and rival, offer a range of products from t-shirts to TVs, delivered directly to the door of Nigerians. They accept payment on delivery and offer free returns. Trust can be an issue for any online merchant, especially one in a country known for online scams.

Kehinde has emphasized it’s important that Nigerians know about the benefits of secure online shopping. A direct sales team of nearly 200 works in Lagos and Port Harcourt introducing the Jumia marketplace to customers and addressing security concerns.

This holiday season, Jumia expects revenues to increase over 40%. The retailer is investing in its own fleet of motor vehicles for deliveries and mobile payments are also expected to become increasingly important, particularly for big ticket items.

Running an online retailer and delivering by motor bike, Jumia’s Harvard educated founders straddle two worlds. One where high tech e-commerce is changing the way customers shop and another where the informal economy is often more trusted. Nigerian’s who have lived or traveled abroad are open to online shopping. But many still worry that online retailers are little more than a scam.

The retailer that can overcome this challenge will tap a virtual gold mine. Accenture predicts that by 2020, consumer demand in Sub-Saharan Africa will be nearly $1 trillion per year. Already operating in Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Kenya, and South Africa, Jumia appears on course for the mother load.

What We’re Reading 3/10/14

This week we are reading about changes to identity verification in Australia, the impact of Amazon’s same-day shipping and seeing the face behind Bitcoin.


Australian Govt shifts ID verification system to

The Australian Attorney-General’s department has awarded contracts for the redevelopment of a national document verification platform. The online service allows government agencies to verify identity documents including passports, visas, drivers licenses and birth certificates in real-time Read the full story >>


Same-Day Delivery: The Antidote to Amazon-Multichannel Merchant

Amazon has fundamentally changed the way we shop and same-day delivery is changing consumers expectations again. For businesses able to keep pace, same-day delivery could be the antidote to Amazon. Read the full story >>


The Face Behind Bitcoin-Newsweek

The name Satoshi Nakamoto has been tied to Bitcoin since the paper first describing it. Numerous attempts to find the real Satoshi have ended at dead ends. Is the face behind Bitcoin really a 64 year old, Japanese-American, living in California? Read the full story >>

Advances in LATAM Cross Border Commerce Seeking to Extend Reach to Asia

Great article this week ( regarding the effort by LATAM’s open economics to create a trading bloc to not just firm their cross-border economic ties but to begin building commerce efforts with Asia. The alliance specifically takes the view that economic growth will occur by focusing outwardly versus inwardly for global trade and commerce growth. Pacifc Alliance The Pacific Alliance consists of Mexico, Columbia, Peru and Chile. This creates a market of almost 210 million people and a combined total of about 35% of GDP output for LATAM and the Caribbean. While the alliance is meant to reduce governmental barriers such as tariffs and regulations, it also will serve to create pricing and trade leverage for negotiations with Asian nations. Trade with Asia will enhance the dynamic export sectors on both ends of the Pacific. It is a natural outgrowth of existing population migration paths with large communities of Japanese, Koreans and Chinese establishing themselves throughout the LATAM community. More direct trade flows are also being stimulated by the growth of LATAM and by Asian e-commerce vendors beginning to focus on external growth—rather than a singular focus on internal growth. As vendors such as Rakuten, Alibaba and Mercado Libre extend their reach, there will be an enhanced need to strengthen their abilities to manage Identity of their prospective customers, validate the delivery location of the customer, and last, collect the payment in locally accepted payment vehicles. International customer data management is not one size fits all, but deployment of the right combination of technology can yield great results at a reasonable cost. Trade accords reduce the friction between global economies and technology solutions reduce the friction of managing customer transactions globally. Both have their challenges, but both also lead to growth and progress.

Alibaba’s play to control delivery in Chinese e-commerce market

Alibaba’s bid to acquire the outstanding shares of AutoNavi is one of the smartest moves to date in the competitive Chinese e-commerce market.


AutoNavi holds one of the few government issued licenses for mapping streets and addresses in China. This data is valuable for everything from delivery routing logistics to Identity verification to payment management. Alibaba’s CFO has stated, “Recent competition from large well-capitalized Chinese Internet companies has made the online-mapping market increasingly challenging.”
While this move is seen as bulwarking the defense against other Chinese companies, this is clearly a move that would impact competition with Amazon, eBay and other international e-commerce vendors seeking to further their access to the Chinese consumer markets.
Location-based services are a key and fundamental component of long-term success in international growth markets. As witnessed by the investments by other players such as Ozon and Rakuten, investment in delivery infrastructure is a key component to e-commerce growth strategies.
How the SMB e-commerce players address this shifting landscape and gain the same competitive access to this information in the high growth markets is a question that has yet to be fully answered. The one definitive statement that can be made is if this question isn’t answered, smaller players will be shut out of those markets or be forced to service them through the larger platforms with whom they currently compete against.

Lions go digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa

Great reading on the progression of the Internet on the African continent.