Q&A: Digital identity verification

All of your ID verification questions answered

There are times when your business will need to verify the identity of an electronic signer in order to make the process more secure and meet certain regulatory or compliance requirements. Identity verification is having to evolve in line with technology developments and to stay ahead of online threats, as they grow in sophistication.

With social distancing orders in place, the pandemic has changed the way we interact with businesses and it has accelerated an already growing trend away from face-to-face interactions. Digital ID Verification is becoming a must in value creation for individuals and institutions around the world along with minimising risks when transacting remotely. 

Let’s jump straight into our Q&A with answers by DocuSign Product Marketing Director, Liliya Apostolova:

Q: What is digital verification?

Digital ID verification is a digital, mobile-friendly way to verify a signer’s identity using a government-issued photo ID. ID Verification is part of the DocuSign Identify family of products, which includes phone, access code, SMS and knowledge-based authentication options, and ID verification, for faster, easier and more secure completion of agreements.

Q: Is ID verification using DVLA or other government sites to verify the ID?

ID Verification does not check any government sites as many of these require privileged access. We are digitising the process which a rep would do today –  looking at the ID to verify the document. DocuSign is facilitating this transaction digitally and carrying out several additional security checks to detect if it’s a valid ID and matching names on the ID against the one on the DocuSign envelope.

Q: Are all EU countries included on the list of acceptable ID docs?

We support many EU countries. We are constantly expanding the list of countries covered by DocuSign ID Verification. Additionally, even if an ID type is not supported, senders can conduct a manual review of the IDs.

Q: Can you ask for more than one type of ID?

ID Verification supports many types of government photo IDs such as passport, driver’s licenses and identity cards along with eID programmes in Europe. We are working on adding the ability to add several IDs at the same time in the near future.

Q: What happens to your personal data – where is it stored, for how long etc?

We don't store IDs unless you explicitly configure ID Verification through the ID Evidence feature. By default, ID Verification only stores information related to the status of the verification itself. Nevertheless, you can configure ID Evidence to store additional personally identifiable information, such as data extracted from the ID or even ID copies. From a GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) perspective, you are the "data controller," and DocuSign operates as the "data processor" on your behalf.

Watch the on-demand webinar: Authenticate Signers’ ID Digitally For Faster And More Secure Agreements

Q: How can we ensure that a photograph of a signature is not being used fraudulently?

The display of the signature (whether it’s been drawn, photographed or pre-built signature chosen) doesn’t really matter - it is the digital body of evidence that we are collecting behind the scenes which is important – name, email address, IP address, timestamp which are stored in our secure container called the Certificate of Completion. By using ID Verification, you will increase your level of signer assurance to prove the person is who they say they are and be able to capture all these details of the ID transaction with ID Evidence as extra evidence to that provided in the Certificate of Completion.

Q: What is shown in the 'Certificate of Completion'?

This resource provides complete details of the envelope events and the executed Consumer Disclosure. The Signer Events section provides details about each signer on the document, including the signer's IP address and other identifying information, signature image, and key event timestamps.

Additionally, senders have access to ID Evidence, an additional file along with the Certificate of Completion which provide more details on the ID collected. This feature is completely configurable by each ID Verification customer to select the level of ID information that you want to collect including a copy of the ID for your records.

Q: For cross border transactions executed through digital contracts, how can you ensure the ID document is not stolen/ ID document is not fake?

ID Verification helps an organisation verify a signer’s photo ID or European eID. By enabling a signer’s ID to be verified anytime and practically anywhere with the signer’s mobile device, ID Verification’s goal is to increase convenience for the signer.  And, for the organisation, to reduce cost and risk associated with human checking of physical IDs.

ID Verification relies on machine learning algorithms and checks the following* to determine if an ID is real:

  • Visible patterns: higher resolution allowing for more reliable results
  • Visible spectrum: check that the security features are in the correct location and have high print quality consistent with the official issuer
  • Microprint
  • Color patterns
  • UV spectrum (hardware specific)
  • IR spectrum (hardware specific)
  • Redundant data sources: perform crosscheck to ensure information from all data sources match
  • Check the information is formatted correctly based on issuer standard
  • ie. 07/01/2012 vs 01/07/2012 vs July 01, 2012
  • ie. Male vs M
  • 1D / 2D barcode
  • Check if formatted correctly
  • Document expiration
  • Image tampering

Although we believe ID Verification is more reliable than human detection of fake IDs, no system of its kind can be 100% accurate. When in doubt, ID Verification will reject the ID, requiring the signer to use an alternative method instead and will also enable senders to manually verify IDs that failed verification and upon review access the DocuSign envelope.

*Note: The above list depends on the ID type and service used.

Q: Most institutions require 1st and 2nd ID for Know your Customer processes with 2nd ID being address confirmation – do you have any plans to implement this as well?

Yes, we plan to support submitting more than one ID in the near future. At the moment, a client can achieve this via the attachment tag where a signer could attach a utility bill.

Watch the on-demand webinar: Authenticate Signers’ ID Digitally For Faster And More Secure Agreements

Q: If a contract requires a handwritten signature, is DocuSign still usable?

If the equivalent of a handwritten signature is needed, DocuSign provides the option to issue a Qualified Electronic Signature (QES). ID Verification does not currently support this level of signature however DocuSign offers other products to meet the QES requirement

Watch the on-demand webinar: Authenticate Signers’ ID Digitally For Faster And More Secure Agreements

Q: Can this process accommodate the use of photo ID and utility bill to be certified?

DocuSign ID Verification can certainly verify and digitally collect the photo ID. The verification is restricted to ID’s alone. You can allow your signer to attach in a utility bill to an envelope as an attachment/upload as additional identification which will be saved to the completed document, however this will not be verified - the sender will simply just receive this back and will need to carry out their checks on the utility bill document.

Q: If DocuSign ID Verification fails, can it be changed to a manual verification check?

Yes, with DocuSign ID Verification latest feature for manual review, if the document fails it can be routed back to the sender to manually approve.

Q: Does DocuSign comply with eIDAS?

DocuSign eSignature fully complies with the EU eIDAS Regulation. We automatically generate and store a robust audit trail for every agreement. Get answers to all of your eIDAS regulation questions in our dedicated blog post

Identity Verification infographic


Daisy O'Malley Glynn
Marketing Communications Specialist