Beyond the Numbers: Why Document Verification Metrics Can Be Misleading

3 min readFeb 27, 2024

When organizations evaluate identity document verification partners, performance metrics tell only part of the story.

Those numbers can be misleading if they’re based on ideal results in perfect test conditions. Real-world situations vary significantly across different countries and industries.

Multiple factors can affect document verification performance, including image-capture conditions, customer risk profiles and regional variations in available data. Document verification partners also use different testing methodologies and standards, which makes it difficult to compare metrics.

Real-world performance, though, can give organizations the insight they need. Companies that understand the underlying factors influencing document verification results can position themselves to find the partner that matches their needs in any market.

How External Factors Affect Document Verification Performance

It’s understandable to want document verification with high performance rates, but numbers that seem too good to be true often are.

A claim of perfect true acceptance rates, for example, likely indicates testing only in ideal conditions. False positives and negatives are bound to happen, no matter how advanced the technology.

For instance, poor document image capture can significantly affect performance, so a guided user journey can be critical to document verification success. Capture conditions such as lighting, angle and focus affect image quality and, by extension, the number of legitimate customers a company onboards.

Customer risk profiles also play important roles in efficient identity document verification. While high-risk customers may require more stringent verification checks, those that present a low risk likely need only basic identity verification. Organizations can avoid unnecessary friction while reducing fraud risk by tailoring verification workflows according to customer profiles.

Document verification is only as powerful as its supported types, so low global coverage can hinder reliability and accuracy. A partner that verifies a range of document types — such as passports, driver’s licenses and country-specific work visas — can ensure robust verification that helps companies onboard the right customers while keeping bad actors at bay.

Tips to Assess Identity Document Verification Options

Document verification can be a vital part of customer onboarding. But businesses can gain more clarity by going beyond the numbers.

Organizations can ask for demonstrations that simulate everyday circumstances. Those demos can help businesses understand how a document verification option performs under various scenarios, such as with different lighting conditions and document types.

There are various other elements that go into selecting a document verification partner. Those include target audience, typical image-capture conditions, types of smartphones customers most often use in specific markets, the environment in which customers are most likely to take photos and the most common types of identity documents in an organization’s customer base.

Organizations that see document verification capabilities in action and evaluate them in real-world scenarios can make informed decisions about the partner that meets specific business requirements.

Leverage a Global Identity Platform

Optimized identity verification workflows and onboarding costs are crucial in an environment where businesses often feel economic pressure. Trulioo takes a collaborative approach with companies to learn their business needs and how they balance acquisition cost and lifetime value.

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