facial recognition

How Passive Liveness Enhances the Digital Onboarding Experience

Verifying the identity of new customers is essential to compliance, regulation and keeping customer and business data safe. Confirming someone’s identity is important across all industries, but particularly essential in the banking and finance sectors. As financial institutions increasingly shift to digital and remote onboarding, the demands of these growing channels must be supported by identity verification technology.

One area that has enormous potential is liveness testing, a security and identity management approach that can be used alongside other verification methods for clients to prove they are who they say they are. In this post, we’ll explore some of the questions you might have about passive liveness, and how it can protect your clients and your business.

What is Liveness Testing?
Liveness testing is a type of identity verification technology that:

  • Uses a live capture of a person’s face
  • Checks that the person in the video capture is a real person physically in front of the camera at that moment in time
  • Can identify if someone is trying to spoof or fake identity verification by using a pre-recorded video or a capture of a different person

In short, liveness testing is an effective facial recognition technology which confirms that a person in front of the camera during onboarding is real, and not an attempt by a hacker or criminal to fool the system.

Liveness testing, also known as facial liveness, is a key authentication step in the identity verification process that determines if the face being presented during onboarding is live. This check protects against fraudsters who may try to trick the system by using a digital or physical representation of another individual (e.g., a photo or a video).


Why Is Liveness Detection So Important for Banks and Financial Institutions?
Financial institutions must meet strict compliance when clients want to open new accounts and take advantage of financial services. Two of the most important are Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money laundering (AML). Both of these regulations require that banks identify a person is who they say they are when they are opening an account and using certain services.

What Are the Different Types of Liveness Testing?
There are two main types of liveness testing: active and passive.

Active Liveness Testing
Active liveness testing and detection uses facial recognition software to detect movements and changes in a person’s expressions. Active liveness typically requires the person to complete some sort of action when instructed to do so, for example blinking or smiling. Active liveness uses indicators like eye movement, facial gestures and lip movement.

Passive Liveness Testing
Passive liveness testing and detection also uses facial recognition software but does not require the person to complete a preset action. Instead, passive liveness testing uses sophisticated techniques like micro-movement detection, variations in light exposure, subtle changes in the skin, depth measurement and other methods to verify liveness.

Are There Advantages to Either Passive Liveness or Active Liveness Testing?
We recommend passive liveness testing for several reasons:

  • An easier user experience  — The user doesn’t need to perform any specific actions. This reduces friction in the onboarding process and makes it more likely that the user will complete it.
  • A more secure liveness testing process — Passive liveness testing uses a wide variety and combination of factors to detect if the person is real. It is very difficult for a bad actor to spoof or fake all of these different methods and techniques, resulting in more secure identity verification.
  • A faster liveness testing process — Passive liveness testing tends to be faster than active testing.

How Does Liveness Testing Affect Mobile Banking Applications?
Customers are increasingly using mobile applications to access financial services, a trend that’s been accelerated by the health crisis. One example of that is represented by a well-known telecommunication company that decided to launch an entirely digital bank in various African countries. Many African mobile phone operators are adapting their plans to make banking more accessible. Fortunately, mobile banking apps are an ideal use case for digital onboarding, where passive liveness detection can be implemented as part of the identity verification process.

By confirming that the person submitting the information is a real person and by conducting facial matching and document verification, HID liveness testing confirms that the person providing the information is present, is the true owner of the documentation and that the documentation is authentic.


HID Global Offers Passive Liveness Testing as Part of Its Identity Verification Service
The versatile SaaS Identity Verification Solution helps ensure user-friendly and secure digital identity verification for onboarding in less than a minute. The solution can be customized in minutes and integrated in days.

Ready to learn more? Read our eBook, How to Select the Right Identity Verification Solution Provider.

To better understand the differences between SaaS, web or SDK/API solutions — and what HID Identity Verification can do for you —  view our comparison chart. 

Kenneth Williams is the HID Global sales lead for Sub-Saharan Africa in the IAM Consumer Authentication area. He has vast experience working with network and security executives to deliver business agility while mitigating risk. He is also an expert in understanding and identifying total customer satisfaction principles and requirements.