U.S. Big Banks Launch ’Authentify’ ID Verification Service

April 8, 2022
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Early Warning, owned by seven large U.S. banks, has rolled out Authentify, a new identity verification service for consumers and businesses.

Early Warning, owned by seven large U.S. banks, has rolled out Authentify, a new identity verification service for consumers and businesses.

Authentify enables consumers to verify themselves on participating businesses' websites or apps through their online or mobile banking app.

When using participating businesses’ websites or apps, consumers can choose to be redirected to log into their online or mobile banking service and share their bank-trusted data with that company.

"A trusted identity is the key to safe, online transactions," said Al Ko, CEO at Early Warning.

"Authentify gives companies and consumers the ability to leverage bank-trusted data to help provide even greater levels of identity assurance. Businesses are able to enhance their customers' experience, while helping reduce friction, abandonment rates and operational costs."

Early Warning is the network operator of Zelle, one of the largest P2P payments providers in the U.S., and is co-owned by Bank of America, Truist, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

The company claims Authentify offers businesses greater confidence in their online interactions with individuals and streamlines the identity verification process, hence, creating benefits for all stakeholders.

Businesses using Authentify may reduce abandonment and fraud rates, while financial institutions can provide added value to their customers for services outside the banking experience.

Additionally, Authentify can improve the customer experience by reducing friction and enabling consumers to enrol, verify transactions, and initiate online and mobile payments more seamlessly from their bank.

The service could potentially be used by Early Warning members banks, including through Zelle, to support payments from consumers to merchants and businesses, but the company told VIXIO they "do not currently offer Authentify with a payments business."

"While Authentify is built into your financial institution’s app and online banking experience, it functions separately from Zelle and does not interface with this payment network," they explained.

Reflecting on growing concerns around privacy, the release stresses that banking credentials are never shared with Authentify or other companies.

According to the release, DocuSign has been the first to sign up for the Authentify identity verification service.

Customers of DocuSign's identity framework for eSignature will now have the option to use Authentify to verify their identities by simply logging into their financial institution.

The idea of leveraging cross-sectoral experience to verify identity, however, is not new.

For instance, Prove (formerly Payfone) has built a similar B2B2C platform that helps businesses identify and verify people using data from mobile phones.

Prove’s Phone-Centric Identity solution is used by various financial institutions, banks, payments processors as well as crypto firms. Its current clientele includes Mastercard, Paypal, Citi and Binance.

Early Warning first partnered with Prove in 2013 to combine device and customer-identity authentication with transaction data to help improve security, and even made a strategic investment in the company at this time.

In 2015, Early Warning Services acquired a company named Authentify that featured services different to those used in its recent Authentify identity verification launch.

Although that previous business was sold in June 2020 to Prove and then rebranded, Early Warning bought the naming rights to Authentify for this new identity verification service that launched on April 4, the company told VIXIO.

Editor's note: the original version of the article quoted Early Warning as saying that the company has "no intent to offer" Authentify with a payments business. Following publication, the firm modified the comment to state they do not "currently" offer the service with payments.

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