Identity Proofing vs Identity Verification: What is the difference and why does it matter?

Pablo Nebreda

Pablo Nebreda

As our lives become increasingly digital, the need to verify and authenticate people’s identities becomes crucial. It is especially relevant in the realm of digital onboarding, where companies seek to provide a seamless and secure experience for their customers. However, two key terms in this process are often confused: identity proofing and identity verification. In this article, we will delve into the difference between the two concepts and their importance in the procurement of remote identity verification solutions.

Identity Proofing

What is identity proofing? Identity proofing, or “identity verification”, refers to the process of making sure that a person who claims to be who they are, really is. Simply put, it seeks to validate someone’s identity before allowing access to certain resources or services. In this process, personal data and evidence of identity is collected and analysed to assess the authenticity of the person.

How does identity proofing work? Identity proofing involves several stages, which may vary depending on the solution used. In general, the process includes the collection of personal data, such as name, date of birth and address, as well as the verification of identity documents or biometric information. In addition, third-party databases may be used to corroborate the information provided by the individual.

Identity Verification

What is identity verification? Identity verification focuses on confirming the authenticity of a person’s identity. It is the process of verifying that the information and documents provided during identity proofing are true and belong to the person submitting them. Verification is an additional step to proofing and seeks to ensure that false or stolen identities have not been used.

How does identity verification work? Identity verification uses different methods to confirm the veracity of the information collected during the identity proofing process. These methods can include comparing photographs on identity documents, validating biometric data (such as facial recognition or fingerprints) or even verifying addresses and telephone numbers.

Why does this difference matter?

  • Security: Misidentification or impersonation are significant risks in the digital world. Differentiating between identity proofing and identity verification is key to ensuring thorough and accurate verification of users’ identities.
  • Compliance: Depending on the industry and country, companies may be subject to specific regulations in terms of KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering). The distinction between proofing and verification can help ensure proper compliance.
  • Customer experience: A proper balance between proofing and verification is essential for a smooth user experience. Too many obstacles or unnecessary requirements can lead to frustration and demotivate potential customers.


In summary, identity proofing and identity verification are two essential components in the remote identity verification process. Proofing focuses on the collection and analysis of data and information to validate a person’s identity, while verification focuses on confirming the authenticity of the documents and information provided. Understanding the difference between the two concepts is critical for businesses looking to implement identity verification solutions and provide a secure experience for their customers. Remember that the key is to find the right balance between security, compliance and customer experience.

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