User Authentication: Weighing Up the Best Identity Verification Channels for Your Website or Mobile App

Given the rate at which human interactions are being redefined and reimagined, it is not easy to change the customer experience to meet the changing expectations of today’s consumers.

In view of this, new customer experiences / expectations have opened the door to new technologies and new engagement channels. Enterprises with growth awareness can use these channels to create unique engagement that can meet the needs of individual customers and increase value at different stages of the customer life cycle.

Unfortunately, Cybersecurity issues are becoming a daily struggle for enterprises. These new technologies have also brought a fresh wave of data leakage and cyber-attacks. In addition, with nearly 5 billion people using smartphones every day, service providers and application developers are confronted with great challenges in protecting user identities and personal data.

In this article, we will explore the best authentication methods and how companies can effectively implement them without sacrificing the user experience. Then, we will introduce four different verification channels: SMS verification, voice call verification, email verification and WhatsApp verification, and focused on how integrating these four methods can bring exceptional results to your customers and your companies.

So, how can enterprises reduce the chances of falling for scams while also protecting their users’ identities? There is no one-size-fits-all authentication method, but implementing a multifactor authentication is a wise choice to disrupt malicious attempts.

“Multi-factor authentication — Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that requires two or more independent ways to identify a user. Examples include codes generated from the user’s smartphone, Captcha tests, fingerprints, voice biometrics, or facial recognition.

MFA authentication methods and technologies increase the confidence of users by adding multiple layers of security. MFA may be a good defense against most account hacks, but it has its own pitfalls. People may lose their phones or SIM cards and not be able to generate an authentication code.”

Which user authentication channels should enterprises use? Can they rely on only one of them, or do they have to combine multiple into their solution?

By adopting the right combination of SMS, voice call, email and WhatsApp authentication channels, you can optimize costs, achieve excellent protection and provide the best potential experience for users. These methods complement each other and provide users with greater control over the identity authentication methods that suit them. More importantly, they are all seamlessly integrated into your back-end security process on a single Verify API.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at these channels individually!

SMS Identity Verification

This technology verifies the identity of the user by sending a verification code via a mobile text message (SMS). The user receives the code and enters it into a field on the page or mobile application, no matter where they try to login. When logging in through a mobile device, in some cases, the code is automatically extracted from the SMS – which means that the user does not even have to enter the code manually.

The Advantages of SMS Verification:

  • It is the most familiar among mobile users. SMS is straightforward to know, straightforward to use, and applicable for many mobile users in any part of the globe.
  • It’s universally accessible on mobile devices. Practically, all mobile devices are SMS-enabled; a great number of tablets, laptops, and even desktops send and receive SMS messages as well.
  • It has a remarkably high success rate. SMS identity verification is straightforward to understand with high success rates, providing a stronger overall experience for users.

Things to consider when using SMS Verification:

  • SMS messages could also be delayed. High-traffic periods and remote locations will delay SMS messages, and thus SMS-based codes.
  • Temporary codes can be intercepted. Though rare, bad actors may use social encouraging to intercept temporary codes from users and so reconfigure their credentials for unauthorized access to accounts.
  • It may be more pricey than other channels. SMS is often a more expensive identity verification method than Voice Verification Methods. Providing viable alternatives will thus boost cost savings.

Voice Verification

Through this channel, the user receives a verification code by responding to an incoming phone call. Text-to-speech software reads the code aloud to the user, who then types in the code manually on the login page of the app or website.

The advantages of Voice Verification:

  • It is ideal for users with special needs. SMS is also difficult for a few users. Hearing a code aloud can be a much better choice.
  • It can use a fixed phone line for verification. Users can set up landline phones for Voice Verification if they do not have access to a mobile phone.
  • It is an ideal backup verification method for SMS. For users who prefer SMS, Voice Verification is a great backup if they don’t have access to mobile or other compatible devices.
  • It is a perfect backup/alternative verification channel for SMS. For users preferring SMS, Voice Verification could be a nice backup if they do not have access to mobile or alternative compatible devices.

Things to consider when using Voice Verification:

  • It will be less recognized by most users. Given that this method isn’t used as commonly as SMS verification methods, it could be confusing to some first-time users.
  • It needs sharp retention. Users must recall the OTP code, or they risk needing the message repeated or may be forced to try again.

Email Verification

Through this channel, the user receives a verification code one-time passcodes (OTP) sent to email. Similar to SMS, the email channel does not require downloading an extra app, so onboarding will be quick and seamless.

Advantages of Email verification

  • Familiar data requirement — users are used to providing their email to a service for important account updates and password reset emails.
  • Easy onboarding — just like SMS verification, email verification does not require another app or any additional setup to configure.
  • Using email means that your users don’t have to give you additional personally identifiable information (PII) like a phone number.

Things to consider when using Email Verification:

Email verification remains the most non-secure of all the approaches because an email address is not tied to a specific device and it’s possible to compromise a large number of accounts once you have someone’s email password.

WhatsApp Verification

The WhatsApp channel has many of the same usability benefits as SMS with the bonus of being the most popular messaging service in over 100 countries. Adding WhatsApp for verification (one-time passcode — OTP) delivery can boost business overall verification conversion rate because it works with just a WiFi connection.

Things to consider when using WhatsApp

  • As a software channel, WhatsApp won’t charge for undelivered messages and isn’t exposed to fraud that exploits the telecom network.
  • Unlike the WhatsApp Business API, which you may use for customer support, Verify WhatsApp lets you start sending unthrottled OTPs right away.

Ycloud Supports All Four Channels on a Single Platform

At YCloud, we did not make any compromise between user experience, security, and privacy, our Verify solution offers a single API for all four of these verification methods — SMS, Voice, Email and WhatsApp. You will begin seeing verification success rates increase while users enjoy a streamlined experience, no matter their requirements and choices.

Stay tuned for more on this front from the YCloud Verify team (or get in touch for more information) and we can’t wait to see what you build and secure.

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