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6 Tips to Maximize Identity Verification UX

By Alain Meier on August 16, 2017

Users love reduced friction

We’ve helped hundreds of companies optimize their ID verification flows to ensure the best possible user experience. As part of this work, we’ve learned what works - and doesn’t - when onboarding customers and we’ve compiled a list of actionable tips to help keep your users happy.


1. Use text inputs, not dropdowns for date of birth

Despite what you may expect, on average users fill out 3 separate text inputs asking for the day, month and year of their birth faster than they can fill out 3 dropdowns. When coupled with strong data validations, text input date of birth entry increases conversion rates.

2. Autofill state and city information

Use a service like Zippopotamus or SmartyStreets to autofill a user’s state and city information using their entered postal code. Not only will it reduce potential typos but it will also speed up their experience if you collect addresses from your customers.

3. Use gradual verification

We have already covered this extensively in our post about how gradual verification reduces sign up abandonment, but in summary: by using our product, Cognito, you can reduce the number of fields you need to collect on signup making it a lower friction experience.

4. Collect last 4, not full 9 SSN

If your identity verification provider supports it, opt for collecting only the last 4 digits of your user’s SSN and not the full 9 digits. This change can increase conversion rates on the order of 5% depending on the application.

5. Have a fallback flow

A small percentage of your customers will fail electronic ID verification - some of them will be fraudulent, but some will also likely be legitimate. This is why it’s important to still maintain some kind of fallback flow in the event that a user doesn’t pass electronic ID verification such as collecting their physical identification documents like passport or driver’s license.

Though Cognito has support for nickname comparison, not all ID verification providers do. If your user’s first name is Richard and they enter Rich, that can cause unnecessary failures and frustration. Test your ID verification provider to see how they handle nicknames and be clear with your users that they should enter their legal name and not a nickname if nicknames aren’t supported.


If you adhere to as many of these tips as possible when verifying your customers, you should see ID verification conversion rates improve considerably. We’re always happy to give you an individual consultation so do not hesitate to reach out.

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