By Legal Futures’ Associates Advantage Consulting 
Verify 365 , a legal sector identity verification company that protects law firms and their clients from online identity fraud, has launched a near-field communication (NFC) verification platform that enables consumers to validate NFC-compatible identity documents with both iOS and Android devices.
In March 2021, Her Majesty’s Land Registry  (HMLR) published its first digital identity standard practice guide 81 (PG81), which recommends the use of biometrics to provide certainty. The framework is intended to set guidelines to verify individuals’ digital identity for conveyancing transactions. While PG81 is not a mandatory standard, it can potentially provide conveyancers with Safe Harbour. In other words, if conveyancers prove they have used biometrics and followed the new guidelines in verifying their clients, the HM Land Registry will not seek legal action against them even if the clients are found guilty of identity fraud.
Currently, Verify 365 is the only digital identity verification platform in the UK to meet the new standards, offering biometric NFC-based digital verification on all devices that support NFC-chip reading, including most Android and iOS devices. The new app speeds up the verification process, it’s user friendly and makes it more secure than photo-based verification.
Practice Guide 81: An Overview
In the introductory section of the PG81, HMLR clarified the establishment of the new digital identity guidelines comes from the “widespread demand across the conveyancing market for more resilient, straightforward and convenient identity verification solutions.” These new technology solutions should use biometric and cryptographic technology, according to the document, in order to “give clarity and certainty to the conveyancer that they have discharged their duty on identity verification in connection with land registration applications.” The guide then proceeds to define the “digital identity standard” in accordance with the UK government’s Good Practice Guide GPG45.
There are four requirements for the new HMLR standards, referring respectively to obtaining evidence about the represented person, checking the evidence is genuine, matching the evidence to the identity via biometrics, and obtaining information to ensure the transferor, borrower or lessor is the same person or entity as the owner.
According to Rudi Kesic , Verify 365 CEO and founder, Verify 365 is a frontrunner in providing new, compliant and secure verification services for the legal sector. “As soon as the latest HMLR guidelines were released, our team prioritised adding an NFC functionality that could verify ePassports and NFC-enabled IDs. With this new digital verification platform, lawyers can verify a person’s identity document in a matter of seconds. Not only does this make our mobile verification flows more convenient, but NFC verification is also a much more secure method of data validation.”
Reading the data directly from ePassport’s chip provides the highest security and the ability to check whether someone has tampered with the document. Online verification can be taken to a new level as most passports today are already equipped with the chip, and the chips are being added to all other ID documents across the globe.
Staying one step ahead
The new NFC verification app is the first of its kind, but other identity verification providers are expected to follow suit eventually. Rudi Kesic added, “The future of the legal sector is digital and to be effective Verify 365 is evolving at a faster pace than the regulatory environment and the competition. Using an app on their smartphone, a user simply scans the chip of their ID document using the phone’s contactless reader, takes a selfie or video, and the platform then uses complex AI-driven biometric analysis to verify that person. This is a major development for the legal sector. Verify 365 has proved, for the first time, that a remote, automated, HMLR-compliant, biometric ID verification service can deliver the highest possible levels of security.”
What is Open Banking? How does it work?
In addition to the latest NFC-chip reader verification technology, Verify 365 also provide anti-money laundering verifications through the Open Banking platform. Verify 365 can verify person’s source of funds securely and easily through an FCA-regulated platform which extracts individual or company transactions and balance data from multiple accounts, using bank-side authentication and consent processes.
“A thorough anti-money laundering source of funds check is critical to cover AML-requirements and reduce money laundering fraud risks. Providing paper statements to lawyers can lead to long turnaround times. With Verify 365, bank account transaction data is guaranteed to be authentic and complete and it’s instantly available to lawyers, analysed and verified without the need to provide additional bank statements.
“I believe that thousands of law firms will be switching to our Verify 365 platform over the next few months,” added Rudi Kesic. “With our new solution, consumers can complete the process from the comfort of their own homes or offices. The benefits to the consumer are enormous – great convenience, a simple user experience, and trust in the security of the service.”