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MNOs make customer verification technology available for third parties to reduce fraud

Jasper Hart
November 18, 2020

Technology is already ‘proven at scale’ in the US, says Mobile UK

The UK’s MNOs have partnered on a new product for businesses to help them strengthen their customers’ online safety and fight fraud.

The new product, called Number Verify, can make it easier for businesses to verify their customers using their services through their phones, according to Mobile UK, the industry body that represents the networks.

The UK operators already use the technology for customer verification purposes on their own apps and online transactions, but are now making it available to third parties through an API.

US carriers have already offered their variant of the technology to third parties. Mobile UK says this means the product is “proven at scale with billions of transactions secured on a monthly basis”.

The API is available for businesses to use through accredited partners Boku, and Prove. It is PSD2 Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) compliant, in line with European regulations about electronic payment security.

Mobile UK says the product is most relevant to businesses such as financial services, e-commerce and gig economy platforms, and social networks. It verifies customers through matching phone numbers used on a business’ app or website in a way that detects fraud and preserves a customer’s privacy if they are who they say they are.

“In a world of increasing digital transactions, the launch of Number Verify is an evolution in how customers can be protected against cybercrime and social engineering attacks,” said Mobile UK head of policy and communications Gareth Elliot.

“Working collaboratively, as an industry the four operators can offer service providers, and app developers, reach that covers 65 million mobile data connections, which is a powerful weapon in the fight against fraud.”

Vodafone Business director Anne Sheehan added: “The current COVID-19 situation means more and more of our customers are reaching for their mobile phone for online banking services. The introduction of the Number Verify service brings extra assurance to customers that their details remain secure while also removing friction from the user experience.   

“It also offers an additional step for banks and online payment platforms in their ongoing fight against fraud and cyber-crime.”

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