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Best Practices for Improved Accuracy in Electronic Identity Verification in Argentina and Brazil

I spent the past week visiting data partners in South America. It was a good week of sharing information about the needs of the market such as 2+2 Compliance checking and KYB (Know Your Business). Trips like this always provide us with additional learnings about how solutions work best and what are the best practices for getting the best match rates in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Columbia. In this posting I will cover a few things learned regarding Brazil and Argentina.

I started the trip in Brazil. While meeting with one of our key data providers we discussed The Maria Problem and how it can skew results. I wrote about the Maria Problem in the past when discussing Portuguese Identity Verification. It was not a surprise to learn that the same problem exists in Brazil given their cultural and language ties. The problem simply stated is that most women in Brazil have a first name as Maria. Many women don’t use the Maria in most applications and forms rather they use their second name to differentiate themselves. Most Brazilian (and Latin American) names consist of four names. A surname, a second surname a maternal name and a paternal name. In most data entry responses you will find that a second surname along with either the paternal and/or maternal name are used in combination. Doing a matching exercise on this type of information will yield varied results which is why it is either important to know how to tune your rules to compare on the combinations of first and second surname to try and achieve a match. Our local provider knows this problem and his systems are coding to address this as data passes through his system.

Argentina was the next stop on the trip. A new learning there relates more to data hygiene to produce a better match. In particular to Buenos Aries (the largest city in the country) the zip code in the past was a four digit number. Recently they have added and additional four digit alpha code onto the four digits to make the information more accurate due to the growth and density of the city. Most government databases now use the eight digit code versus the four digit code so, when na address is used as part of a identity check, it is likely that it wont validate against a government database without the address having gone through a hygiene process that enriches the additional four digit alpha code. Our local provider does this as part of their standard data normalization process and this yields a better match result.

In both countries a great deal of time was spent making sure that our data providers could provide a 2+2 check at a high impact match rate. While data hygiene is part of this equation having good data sources that are Government, Credit or Commercial is also important. The most important is to know how your input data will be best compared with the data sources. Simple things like the above will significantly impact the results of your electronic identity check.

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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