Digital identity verification specialists Bitventure has partnered with TransUnion to allow South African businesses to deploy more comprehensive identity management and fraud prevention strategies without impacting on the customer experience.

Bitventure’s remote digital identity verification solutions enable organisations to verify and onboard customers by digitally matching an ID number to an ID photo retrieved from Home Affairs from any remote environment.

The companies say their objective is to help businesses make better-informed decisions in real-time when it comes to onboarding new customers through physical or digital channels.

Junior Biola, CEO of Bitventure, says social distancing has seen a growth in digital channels, and alongside this, a steep rise in identity theft, account fraud and other economic crimes. “In South Africa, economic crime rates are significantly higher than the global average as fraudsters take advantage of vulnerabilities in business’ risk management practices.”

He says effective risk and fraud mitigation begins with knowing the identity of new customers at the acquisition stage, making digital identity verification a critical first step to the process by preventing fraudulent activities and losses before they happen.

Lee Naik, regional president of TransUnion Africa, says the partnership will enhance capabilities of TransUnion’s fraud and identity management suite, IDVision with iovation, which unifies personal and digital identities by combining consumer records with global device intelligence. The enhancements enabled by Bitventure will allow TransUnion customers to overcome the historical tradeoff between security, convenience, and privacy, adds Naik.

He says more than 34 million SA consumers will shop online this year, and 68% of financial services firms report that their customers increasingly interact with them through digital channels instead of face-to-face. “Unfortunately, fraud is increasing and evolving exponentially. In the current economic climate, it’s important to not only deter fraudsters and combat economic crime, but ensure ‘friction-right’ customer experiences.”

Biola believes that by improving customer identity and credit management processes, local companies can achieve their objectives and grow their businesses during turbulent times.