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

Portugese Flag

Portugal: A Population of Global Explorers and Diasporas

Vasco da Gama Bridge

Vasco da Gama Bridge

I am sitting in a nondescript office in the harbor sector of the city of Lisbon looking out at the beautiful Vasco da Gama Bridge. This bridge is the longest bridge in Europe spanning over 12 kilometers across the Tagus River in Lisbon. While this bridge is a modern wonder, the discussion taking p
lace inside the office is also a bit of a wonder in the world of global identity verification.

I am reviewing the results of a test file with our Portuguese Data expert. We had originally processed his file and achieved somewhat lower results than desired. The timing of the file processing and my trip to Portugal allowed for me to sit down directly with him and a colleague to review the results and better understand why the results were so low.

One of the first things we discovered about the data is that a percentage of the data was made up of foreign names meaning non-Portuguese in origin. As a result, these people were likely not citizens of the country but might still be residents. Portugal is unique in Europe because it has a large and growing population of ex-pats who retire there from the United Kingdom and France. The way our expert described it is that Portugal was a country where “many people are passing through”. Some stay for a little time and some stay forever. Given the temperatures, the beauty of its beaches and the great cost of living I completely understand this.

So while we could not accurately validate those people with our Portuguese Identity Verification we were able to architect within our system to run those people who did not validate in Portugal through our UK and then French Identity Verification providers all within the same system. This “waterfall” approach allowed for us to gain some immediate lift in the results and better validate the ex-pats that had settled in the region.

The next data validation challenge that was unique to Portugal (and likely unique to Brazil) was what I dubbed “The Maria Effect”. A large number of the women in Portugal are named Maria. This is a statement made by a guy who has spent more than 20 years working with consumer data in Portugal so I am going to choose to believe this statement of fact. Many of the Marias have secondary first or middle names which create differentiators (example: Maria-Theresa). Additionally the last name of her family and/or the last name of her husband might be used when completing some types of documentation thus Maria becomes possibly Maria Theresa de Salvo Carlos de Herrera. This a complete legitimate full name. At 32 characters this name likely would not even fit into most online data entry fields but that is the smaller of the concerns. Maria may also express her name as any combination of the above depending on how she choosing to distinctly represent herself. So she might be Theresa de Salvo or Theresa de Herrera or Theresa Carlos de Herrera. In all of these examples Maria may be substituted for Theresa creating a database of Marias that may or may not link back to a known identity in Portuguese data systems. This is where customized and localized fuzzy matching and rules logic are needed to ensure the best possible match result when attempting a identity verification for this country.

The next example of local data uniqueness is the “da Effect”. Many last names in Portugal have a preposition of da or de associated with them. Names can thus be represented in systems as Vasco da Gama or Vasco Gama. In both cases they are the same person. Many identity verification systems may choose to work with a hard 1:1 match and thus this would not generate a match on this particular name. Other systems may elect to drop the da/de as extraneous characters and not recognize them as part of the last name thus corrupting the name and likely generating a poor response.

After reviewing all of these examples we were able to ensure that we tuned our inputs to properly parse data going into our platform for Portuguese nuances. This allowed for us to create a better result and improve the overall match rates. This in turn helps satisfy our customer’s needs which at the end of the day was the goal of the conversation.

The above is a great view on how hyper-local knowledge and skills will produce quantifiably better results for global eKYC and identity resolution efforts. Whether it is mobile customer onboarding at BBVA or HSBC; or fraud risk analysis at Kreditech of fulfillment of European 4th Money Laundering Initiative compliance regulations between customer transactions. At GDC we enjoy learning these nuances from our local partners and much like the vision of da Gama we seek to spread this knowledge throughout the world.

blog0804

An Update on What We’re Doing at GDC (Hint: lots of global electronic identity verification)

Dear Friends,

You will notice some recent changes to the GDC website, and more are on the way. Let me explain what’s going on.

Two years ago we saw an opportunity to extend the Global Data Consortium model to electronic identity verification. This is where companies use independent reference data to instantly verify the identities of their customers. Think of opening an online bank account. Your bank is required to verify that you are who you say are before you can start moving money around. They want to do this as quickly as possible as you go through the registration process, otherwise you might lose interest and move on. Yes, we live in an instant gratification world!

We had a hypothesis that GDC could take the model we proved with global address hygiene- negotiating over 50 partnerships worldwide and building the technology to access all this distributed data in real-time – and apply it to identity information. And in true agile startup fashion, we started a customer discovery process to validate our assumptions. In talking with dozens of people across a range of industries, this is what we heard:

1. It’s not just banks! FinTech, eCommerce marketplaces, the sharing economy, social networks (I could go on) all want faster ways to verify identities as they move into new country markets.

2. All these companies are generally unhappy with the options available for global electronic identity verification today. This leaves them using document authentication services, which are too slow, create friction with customers, and cost too much.

3. They want a solution that gives them one point of access to as many countries as possible. (Many had tried building a similar technology in-house but failed. It was too hard!)

The feedback was enough for GDC to build a simple solution and put it quickly into beta mode. With just seven countries to offer, we found several early-adopters and two key strategic partners. They each used the product hard and gave us tons of critical feedback. We iterated, working out the kinks and proving out the technology and the economics one step at a time.

GDC is now over a year past that beta launch, and it’s time to show the world what we have to offer. I couldn’t be more excited.

We have already expanded the platform from seven to 19 countries, integrating services from over 45 data partners along the way. And we are only accelerating from here, gearing up to pass 50 countries (135 data partner integrations) by the end of next year. We are serious about becoming the one point for the market to access global electronic identity verification services.

So checkout our revised website. In the coming weeks we are adding more content to describe our services in each country, and we will be adding new countries.

www.globaldataconsortium.com

If you need help with global electronic identity verification, reach out to me and let’s talk about what GDC can do for you.

Also, if you are a data provider in a country we don’t yet offer, we would love to learn more about your services and consider adding you to the GDC platform as a Consortium partner.

Best,

Bill

bill@globaldataconsortium.com

blog_icon_0317

Having Your Cake and Eating It, Too: Accessing the World’s Best Identity Data through One Source

Next week I’ll be at MRC Vegas, the big annual meeting for Merchant Risk Council. It’s a trade group for eCommerce payment and risk professionals, and everyone will be talking about how to grow their international business while minimizing the impact of fraud.

Fraud prevention and global identity verification data go hand-in-hand. But that debate has long been defined by this “either-or” mindset. EITHER you choose the best data to power your fraud prevention efforts (but you have to find all these specialized providers, do the hard work of integration, spend a bunch of money, etc.) OR you choose a single point of access that rolls a bunch of data together and gives you a single vendor to manage (but you get poorer data and it’s not updated very often).

“Either-or” has been the only option for a long time. But now there’s the option to have the best data from many different sources AND access it through one system. You can have your cake and eat it, too.

More on that in a moment.

Talk With a Global Identity Data Expert at MRC Vegas 2015

First things first. It’s easier than ever to integrate with local sources for identity information and to use it to improve your fraud mitigation efforts. If this subject interests you, and you’re going to be in Vegas next week for the conference, let’s talk.

Shoot a quick note to bill@globaldataconsortium.com or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Now, here are some of my thoughts on ways every eCommerce business should be considering locally-sourced identity data to help with fraud.

Fear of Fraud is Slowing Your Growth

Fraud is no small problem for eCommerce. Cross-border trade represents all this growth potential. Countries like Mexico, Brazil and Turkey and regions like Eastern Europe have this tremendous appetite for online buying (each fueled by an exploding middle-class with newfound disposable income). But shipping across borders presents real risks that start with this very fundamental question…

Is that person trying to buy your merchandise really a customer, or is he a thief?

The growth opportunity is exciting, but when you don’t see the actual credit card (CNP or Card Not Present) the problem of fraud is very real.

There are a lot of tools out there to help merchants figure out this question. Silicon Valley seems to launch bigger-better-faster fraud prevention startups every day. But it all must start with determining whether that customer on the other end of a computer (or, as is more often the case, tablet or smartphone) is a legitimate person or not.

Solving the problem of fraud in cross-border eCommerce starts with identity verification.

The Best Sources for Identity Data are Local Providers

The best sources for identity data are local providers, experts in their own markets who know the nuances of their home countries better than anyone else and who are committed to keeping data constantly up-to-date.

Take Mexico, for example, where the combination of paternal and maternal last names are used in the performance of an identity check. And where there are multiple identity numbers in use (RFC, IMSS and CURP). The Global Data Consortium partners in Mexico supply 361 million unique records that provide identity verification (some combination of name, national identity number, address, date of birth and more) for 110 million individuals.

It’s an enormous amount of identity data, maintained by businesses that use it for identity verification purposes within Mexico, and that invest in it by adding new data and continuously refreshing what they have.

Mexico is only one example to highlight these points: Local sources have more complete data to share, they update it more frequently and they bring to bear their local expertise to help you understand important nuances like the differences in RFC versus IMSS versus CURP.

The Problem with Accessing Local Data

The problem with accessing local data is that jurisdictional issues around privacy laws mean each country tends to put strict controls over who can do what with identity data. So the best sources are almost never global services where the data is shipped across borders and aggregated onto a big server. Most governments don’t like this data leaving their countries.

So what you want to do integrate with the in-country data of local providers via the cloud where an API call accesses the data on the local source’s servers. This gives end users exposure to more data because governments and IP owners feel more comfortable when the data never leaves the country of origin.

Of course this sort of cloud-based integration isn’t easy to do. For most eCommerce businesses, there are simply too many complexities based on communicating in different languages, surmounting legal issues, development costs to build and maintain access to various systems, and all sorts of payment headaches.

And so the “either-or” mindset kicks in. Many of the eCommerce companies decide instead to rely on aggregators of global identity data, services that bring together a lot of information but require their clients to sacrifice quality for convenience. They provide one point of access for a lot of data, but they fall far short of the standards set by in-country local sources.

Going Beyond the “Either-Or” Mindset

So here’s the question I’m testing next week at MRC Vegas…

What if you could have both?

What if you could have the best available local identity data and get it through one point of access?

That’s what we’ve done with our Worldview system. It provides:

API Management. With one point of integration –to Worldview – you get full access to the world’s best local identity providers without the development costs or headaches.

Legal + Compliance. GDC complies with the EU-US Safe Harbor Framework to protect personal data. We vet our data partners through rigorous legal and compliance checks so you don’t have to.

One Language. There are 6,500 spoken languages in the world. GDC talks with identity data partners in many of them. But you only need to know one to access their data through Worldview.

One Place to Pay. Vendor management is complex when dealing across languages, borders and currencies. GDC simplifies that for you: one payment in one currency when using Worldview.

When you go global, going local can help you reduce fraud and improve your view on who your real customers are. Get a local view on your global transactions. Try Worldview.

Is this important to your business? If so, let’s connect next week in Vegas.

blog_icon_amazon

Amazon Skates Where the Indian eCommerce Puck Is Going

What better time to trot out old hockey metaphors than the opening weeks of the NHL season? And while I’m no particular fanatic of the sport, I’ve always found much wisdom in Wayne (“The Great One”) Gretzky’s famous quip to an interviewer asking what made him an extraordinary player. “I skate where the puck’s going,” he said, “not where it’s been.”

Sage advice, no doubt, but it’s so often hard for managers of business to follow it. We are so mired in the day-to-day efforts to keep our machines churning that it seems impossible to poke our heads up and try to peer into the future; to do that vision thing where we imagine where that puck might be going and prepare for it.

But good businesses know to make time for it. The best ones marshal serious resources for it.

Take Amazon as a case in point. Its shares took a tumble in October when the company announced a loss in 2014’s second quarter. Why? Despite growing revenue, the juggernaut was accelerating its investments in further growth even faster. It was skating fast to where Jeff Bezos and crew think that puck is going.

That includes a recently announced investment of US$2 billion in India.

The Economic Times of India announced that Amazon is expanding its year-old pilot partnership with India Post, the country’s mail service, to get the postman to both deliver your Amazon package and collect your payment. (You can find the article here. ) Cash on delivery seems such an outdated concept to those of us most familiar with eCommerce practices in markets like the U.S. and the E.U. where consumers have long been comfortable offering their credit cards to pay for goods before they’re shipped.

But for many eCommerce related businesses, this is where the puck is. To get where it’s going, they’re going to have to spend time thinking how the future of the industry might look different than it does today and begin investing strategically.

While mature eCommerce markets will see growth rates begin to fall into single digits, developing markets (not just India, but think also: Russia, China, Brazil, Argentina and so many more) are poised for staggering expansion. That’s where the puck is going.

According to The Economic Times article, more than two-thirds of Indian eCommerce transactions occur on a cash-for-delivery basis. That means if you want to stake a claim on that growth, you have to adapt yourself to the eCommerce realities of these countries. The eCommerce winners in India will undoubtedly adapt to a culture that won’t pay etailers upfront with credit cards. They’re much more likely to pay the postman when the package gets delivered.

But change is hard. When you’re used to getting paid in advance, waiting for delivery (and all the uncertainty that comes with it) is no easy transition to accept. Kudos to Amazon for investing in the future of this enormous market.

Applying this lesson to GDC’s own universe, there’s no doubt that industry players of all sorts – retailers, fulfillment specialists, logistics companies, data services, alternative payment providers, etc. – must prepare themselves to ship goods (or their clients’ ) across borders. That’s where the growth will be… that’s where the puck is going.

How are you preparing yourself for the challenges that come attached to these growth opportunities?

By way of shameless plugs, GDC would love to help you think about using our network of the world’s best data providers to get you there. Call us to talk about it.

For eCommerce companies interested in cross-border trade, the Global Data Consortium’s Worldview platform gives you one place to access the world’s best data for Delivery, Identity and Payment.

blog_icon_alibaba

Alibaba Looking to Make Cross Border Commerce between China and US a Two Way Street

I recently read and listened to an interview from Jack Ma (see below) that made it clear to me that he as a vision for Alibaba that goes well beyond simply enabling business to business or business to consumer trade in China. He intends to take on both the established e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Rakuten and eBay and also the brick and mortar players such as Wal-Mart.

Mr. Ma is pushing initiatives that will initially introduce US vendors to Chinese buyers of food products such as cherries, nuts and seafood. As his company learns from this experiment I expect that he will expand into other items to feed the Chinese consumers demands for products and services. In addition to US products, Ma also states his interest in bringing Russia to China, and Brazil to China, among others.

To enable and enhance these activities Alibaba has built an internal distribution logistics network and acquired mapping and location based services providers in China, thus locking up the best Delivery data information. Recently the company introduced a cross border Payment system that manages currency and disparate payment systems. This point of differentiation is a huge moat for those vendors who solely rely on the classic payment vehicles of Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Paypal.

Each of these moves makes the Alibaba platform a strong platform for vendors seeking entry into China commerce, to onboard, learn and transact. Further, Alibaba then learns more and more about the products and customers to figure out how to better enhance the services it provides to the market.

If you are an e-commerce vendor and you are not selling in China yet, consider the options and the opportunity. Using the GDC Worldview platform you can Validate a delivery address in China and over 200 other countries. Additionally you can Verify the Identity of a buyer before you ship product, thus reducing the risk of fraud. Improve Delivery, Reduce Fraud, Drive Revenue in Global Commerce. That is what we help you do at GDC.

Have a look and See the World more clearly.

 

http://online.wsj.com/articles/alibabas-plan-to-help-u-s-exporters-1414962623

blog_icon_1

Amazon Makes the Push into Alibaba’s Backyard

Amazon announced this past week that it would open a logistics warehouse in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone that will allow it to expand the import and export of goods in China. Clearly this is a move to sharpen the competitive nature of things against its primary rival in Asia, Alibaba Group.

Amazon is moving quickly to become a player in the Chinese Cross Border Payment market. Further Amazon is increasing its ability to Deliver packages in China. Amazon current delivers to around 3,000 cities and counties in China.

Delivery, Identity and Payment are the three key underpinnings of global ecommerce transactions growth. Amazon is showing that it is capable of managing two of the three aspects via its platform in China.

Alibaba and others should be looking over their shoulder. Amazon is competing on all fronts and winning new customers in new markets.

Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-coming-to-shanghais-free-trade-zone-2014-08-20

blog_icon_2

Mobile Money Interoperability: A Step on the Path of Global Cross Border Commerce Growth

Recently, I came across an article that describes how three of the mobile money platforms in Tanzania have signed a partnership that will allow for inter-network transfers.  This type of cross platform connection will allow for diaspora networks to more easily conduct transfers between family members. Furthermore, this will allow for increased business trade around the country.

The bigger picture is the expansion of interoperability across the borders of other African nations and further, globally. This would enable a growth in global payments and, in parallel, growth in cross border commerce.

Years ago, family members who moved abroad engaged in transactions with other family members in two ways. Funds were sent home primarily via Western Union or via informal money transfer networks. Physical commerce transactions occurred via trips home where family members would transport items back in order to sell and distribute to family members.

In today’s economy, mobile money interoperability would allow for family members to send money electronically regardless of platforms and also allow for the purchase/delivery of physical items on local e-commerce sites. This advancement will greatly enhance the level of cross border trade via e-commerce in those countries.

Global connectivity really only works when platforms are open and interoperable versus closed systems. Tanzania is a first step towards what I hope is greater connectivity and more enriched lives.

Link to original article >>

http://www.mobileworldlive.com/operators-sign-first-interoperability-agreement-mobile-money-africa

blog_icon_1

Insufficient Identity Verification Troubling Mobile Payment Development in Nigeria

Helix Institute of Digital Finance has recently published a report on mobile payment in Nigeria. Based on interviews with mobile payment agents, the research points out that aside from regulatory uncertainty — which led mobile payment providers in the country to speculate about the rules instead of fully engaging in expanding business — insufficient identity verification is a main problem that hindered the development of mobile money in the country.

According to the report, most of the mobile payment customers in Nigeria still remain at the lowest identity registration level, which requires only a name and a phone number to activate, but limits the amount per spending to as low as 18.5 USD. This results in the frequent need to divide the bill in order to complete a transaction, giving the agents more commission at the customers’ cost. On the other hand, the information gathered in low-tier, sim-card based registrations is often not properly checked in an identity verification system, leaving the security of transactions at risk. Overall, the current insufficiency in identity verification is bringing down the quality of mobile payment service in Nigeria, and preventing broader business development.

In order to tackle this problem, efforts from various directions are called for. Agents — who are the first point of contact for end users and are carrying the brand for providers — need training and permission to initiate higher levels of identity registration. This requires combined work from both the providers and regulators. Efforts also need to be made to motivate customers to go for higher tiers of identity verification and increase their spending limit. On this point, marketing campaigns on both electronic media and point of sale should be utilized to give people more exposure to mobile money, as the general awareness among Nigerian public still remains at a low level.

To read the full report, please go to: http://www.helix-institute.com/data-and-insights/agent-network-accelerator-survey-nigeria-country-report-2014