NFC Technology to Rescue the Digital ID Verification Industry | Hacker Noon

Emily Daniel Hacker Noon profile picture

@emily-danielEmily Daniel

Emily is a tech writer, with expertise in entrepreneurship, & innovative technology algorithms.

The importance of identity verification is illustrated by the fact that by 2025, its global market value is expected to reach USD 14.8 billion. Its current value lies around USD 7.6 billion. This means the market will experience a CAGR growth of 15.6%. 

Moreover, the identity verification world has experienced a paradigm shift since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current scenario has given rise to new methods and technologies to conduct the user onboarding process. Understandably, not all the third-party solutions and their provided services were up to the mark, and fit the current landscape. However, few services like the NFC-based digital ID verification have acquired the attention of many businesses looking to verify their customers online. 

It is not to say that digital identity services have invented a new technology. Because NFC has been here for quite a few years and already assists us in many ways. With that said it should be noted that its application to undertake the digital customer onboarding process has addressed an important need of the current world situation.

What’s Under the Hood of NFC Technology?

Near-field communication, as the name suggests, is used for communicating within a short-range. The range of NFC communication is around 10 cm however there are ways to extend its range up to 20 cm. It can be used in two ways. In one-way communication, only one device reads and writes on the other. On the other hand, two-way communication requires two NFC-enabled devices that can perform read and write operations on each other. 

Isn’t the Digital IDV Process Already Secure Enough?

NFC is a revolutionary technology that has streamlined our routine tasks. However, one begs the question as to why it is being used in digital identity verification? Well, remote customer onboarding is not a novel practice but more and more organizations are resorting to it because of the social distancing rules put forward by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, AI-based document authentication and biometric verification processes were undertaken in e-KYC. Now, NFC chip-based authentication is added as an additional verification check that makes the whole process even more secure. 

Why Use NFC Specifically?

The nature of identity cards across the globe is changing for the better. The number of countries around the world currently having NFC chip-enabled identity cards is close to 150. These chips are digitally signed and intricately encrypted so that they cannot be forged or manipulated.

Moreover, the customer’s device is crucial to the digital onboarding process. It is pertinent that the technology used is easily accessible and available to the customer. It is being reported that there are approximately 2 billion NFC-enabled devices in the world right now. So, one can easily connect the dots on why chip-based ID cards are being used and why NFC-enabled smartphones are utilized to scan them.

The Walkthrough of NFC-Based ID Verification

It would not be wrong to say that chip-based identity verification is the most secure process in the digital IDV industry. The end-user just needs a mobile phone with a decent camera along with NFC technology in the particular device. Moreover, to use this service, the end-user must be in possession of an NFC-enabled identity card. These cards follow an international standard which is ICAO 9303. Moving on, let’s go through the process of the NFC-based identity authentication process.

Firstly, the user is required to take a picture or upload an existing one of an NFC-enabled identity document.

Then, the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) printed on the e-ID card is scanned for validity. 

Following this, through real-time facial recognition, the picture of the user on the biometric document is matched with the person in front of the camera.

Moreover, the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology extracts the data from the document.

Then, the ID card is tapped against the smartphone and the NFC technology scans the chip incorporated on the e-ID card. 

In the end, the information extracted by OCR is matched with the data extracted by the smartphone’s NFC technology.

The Final Verdict

As the case for NFC-based ID authentication is established, it is high time that businesses adapted to the changing trends and technologies. Even the businesses that are already utilizing state-of-the-art technologies for digital customer onboarding, should also upgrade their system. The future of identity cards is NFC-based and it will remain so until a new and more secure solution is found. Therefore, we need to employ the most advanced and secure process available at hand that is the NFC chip-based ID verification.

Emily Daniel Hacker Noon profile picture
by Emily Daniel @emily-daniel. Emily is a tech writer, with expertise in entrepreneurship, & innovative technology algorithms.Read my stories


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