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How Gradual Verification Reduces Sign Up Abandonment

By Alain Meier on August 8, 2017

Reduced conversions with identity verification

If you’re currently running identity verification on your users, you are probably leaving money on the table. Any person who begins the sign up process and leaves before becoming a user is lost revenue. In any relationship between a business and a customer, sign up abandonment can be thought of in the following terms:

If the perceived benefit that your customer will get from your product is less than the effort required to sign up, then they will abandon you.

The traditional method of identity verification whereby a company asks for, at a minimum, a customer’s name, date of birth and address - and frequently also their Social Security Number - is onerous and time consuming for users and raises the cost of sign up considerably.

Companies with strict regulatory or anti-fraud requirements are at a disadvantage to other web-facing companies because of the inherent need to increase the required effort to sign up in order to be compliant. They have two levers they can pull: either increase perceived value or reduce effort required to sign up.


How do I reverse ID verification abandonment?

One method of decreasing the effort required to sign up is to reduce the number of form fields required for the user to fill out. But how can you decrease the number of fields collected if they are usually required to run identity verification? Instead of collecting all of the required information at once, Cognito allows you to gradually collect additional customer information as you see fit and pull back the rest of the data that your business needs to onboard the customer. For instance, if your sign up flow only collects name, phone and email, then Cognito can verify your customer’s identity with just a name and phone number.

If Cognito is unable to verify your customer with just a name and phone number, you can prompt the user for any one of: 1. date of birth, 2. full Social Security Number, 3. last 4 of Social Security Number, or 4. their address. In most cases, for no extra cost, Cognito can verify your customer using one or more of these additional data points.


Example gradual verification breakdown

Let’s take a look at a realistic gradual verification flow that starts with collecting just name and phone, followed by date of birth and last 4 of SSN. The table below outlines a realistic match rate at each stage of the gradual verification process.

Verified with Total % of customers verified
Name, Phone 75%
Name, Phone, Date of Birth 85%
Name, Phone, Date of Birth, Last 4 SSN 95%

The key point to remember is that by structuring your verification flow with gradual information collection, you minimize the friction required for the maximum number of users. Using this example, 75% of customers would never need to provide more than just their name and phone number in order to verify their identity.

Gradual verifications are a powerful way to both decrease the number of fields you collect from your users on sign up and increase the security of onboarding users by connecting them with their mobile phone number.

Get Started with CognitoFrictionless, modern identity verification.