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Is NFC Suitable For Digital ID Verification?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the identity verification industry has been coming up with new ways to screen users online. They are employing different types of technologies to provide efficient identity verification solutions. Among these innovative technologies is near-field communication (NFC). Previously, NFC mobile technology has been revolutionizing the world in the field of short-range wireless communication and data transfer. Now, it’s about time that this technology is being utilized by online ID verification providers. So, let’s look at the walkthrough of verifying IDs online through the utility of NFC mobile technology.

Steps of NFC chip-based identity verification

The user must have an identity card that is compliant with the ICAO 9303 standard for machine-readable documents. The process begins when the user uploads a snapshot of their identity card. Then, the face recognition service compares the user’s photograph portrayed on the chip-based identity card with the person’s real-time image as captured by a camera. The data from the e-identity document is then extracted and cross-matched with the data encrypted in the NFC chip. For this, the user just has to tap their cell phone against the ID card. The user is authenticated if the data from both sources match.

The evolution of technology: Boon or bane?

As to the subject of technology, well it is a double-edged sword. There is no denying the fact that we have a wide range of life-changing apps at our disposal, but at the same time, you are subjected to misuse of the same technology. However, it should be acknowledged it is the one abusing the technology, not the technology itself, that is at fault. Making systems safe and secure is imperative to solutions that process personal information.

Also interesting: TU Delft Plans Digital ID Solution in the “Trustchain” [Video]

Smartphones are an ample illustration of how technology can be divisive. They have significantly amplified the automation of our regular tasks. However, they’ve also turned into a source of danger to individual privacy and security. This debate aside, it is an undeniable fact that one of the applications integrated into smartphones – NFC – has a lot of benefits and not any flaw when it comes to utilizing it for ID verification.

Is NFC Mobile Technology Suitable For Digital ID Verification - Man Holding Phone
Image: Jonas Leupe / Unsplash

Advantages of Using NFC for ID Verification

Availability – It must be emphasized that the technology used for identity verification is the most significant factor in the digital customer onboarding process. So, NFC mobile technology is easily available to the general public as there are more than 3.8 billion smartphone users around the globe. Moreover, in modern-day smartphones, the presence of NFC technology is granted.

Related story: RealSense ID – Intel Launches Facial Recognition Solution for Devices

Security – NFC-enabled identity cards are digitally signed and masterfully encrypted, thus mitigating any chance of electronic forgery. The authentication process carried out by online services used AI technology to validate the MRZ (machine-readable zone) section on the ID document. But, the NFC verification step adds an extra layer of security and ensures the legitimacy of the identity documents even if the MRZ section was somehow manipulated by a fraudster.

Usability – When it comes to convenience and user experience regarding chip-scanning, NFC technology effortlessly trumps this area too. For instance, let’s compare NFC scanning with QR scanning. For QR code scanning, a QR code must be readable, and the color tones used must be in black to be recognized correctly. However, in NFC chip scanning, you just have to touch the ID card with the smartphone momentarily, for the NFC reader to work its magic.


YouTube: Using Core NFC to scan and verify identity documents (Maxim Tsvetkov)

Photo credit: The photos (1 / 2) shown are symbolic and were taken by Jonas Leupe for In The Pocket.

This guest article has been submitted by Edward Grey. We appreciate all guest contributions but the opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of TechAcute.

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