Nov 21, 2023
5 min read

The Future of Verification is Here: Doc-Free Methods and Their Benefits

Learn about different types of non-document verification methods and their benefits

Even with flawless UX and fast internet, document verification can be a time-consuming process resulting in customer drop-offs. But what if we told you that businesses can now onboard users in 45+ countries in milliseconds, with no need to upload or scan IDs?

Let’s compare documentary vs non-documentary verification, dive deeper into what document-free verification is, and explore its many benefits.

Document verification: The traditional method

Document verification is the process of confirming the authenticity and accuracy of documents, such as passports, IDs, driving licenses, or financial records. Usually, the process involves reviewing, cross-referencing and comparing information on the physical documents themselves, or on scanned copies of them. This verification process is commonly used in various fields, including financial institutions, insurance, real estate services, etc.

More advanced document verification includes several security feature checks, such optical character recognition (OCR), pattern recognition, and MRZ decryption.

Challenges with the traditional document verification method:

  • The need for manual checks. Verification of physical documents still may involve manual work, which can be time-consuming and inefficient. This can lead to delays in service and increased operational costs for organizations. Furthermore, physical documents can be forged or altered, making it challenging to rely solely on the visual inspection of documents.
  • The inconvenience of uploading documents. Document verification can be a big obstacle when a new user needs to urgently access a service. Sometimes, documents simply aren’t at hand. 

For these reasons, the world is moving towards document-free verification. 

Document-free verification

Document-free verification confirms identity quickly without relying on physical documents.

Methods of non-documentary identity verification include:

  • Digital identity on blockchain, which many EU, MENA and CIS governments have provided as national digital IDs
  • Credit bureau checks
  • ID verification across databases through a certified third-party identity provider (Non-Doc Verification)
  • Verification through Qualified Electronic Signatures
  • Identity, Address and Age Verification through reliable database checks (Global Database Verification)

Global Database Verification 

Global Database Verification is one of the best doc-free verification products for businesses seeking a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective solution for customer onboarding.   

Global Database Verification includes only three simple steps:

  1. The user provides a set of relevant personal data attributes to be verified, such as Full Name, National ID Number, Date of Birth, Address
  2. Sumsub cross-matches the info against all applicable sources in the user onboarding country
  3. Once the data is verified, Sumsub sends match results about each individual data attribute to the customer and the user is redirected back to the customer portal.

An additional biometric check could also be carried out for further authentication.

The products and solutions within Global Database Verification also include: 

  • Identity Verification, which verifies user ID document and personal data authenticity by matching them against recognized and secure sources
  • Age Verification, which verifies user date of birth and personal information, ensuring they meet specific requirements regarding age restricted content and services
  • Address Verification, which ensures the legitimacy of current customer residence information by cross-referencing with trusted global sources

Altogether, this allows you to get the following benefits:

  • A document-free verification solution for a wide range of both regulated and non-regulated industries and organizations, with up to 5.5 billion users potentially verifiable 
  • User verification in a matter of seconds
  • +37% pass rate growth.

Document-free verification: The benefits

  • Enhanced security. Non-document verification methods are difficult to forge or manipulate, making it harder for individuals to impersonate others. By cross-referencing ID data with government databases, organizations can reduce the risk of fraud, such as synthetic identity theft or the use of fakeidentification documents.
  • Cost savings. Organizations can save on administrative costs associated with document handling and storage when using doc-free verification methods, especially when it comes to address verification.
  • Accuracy. Government databases are typically highly accurate and up-to-date sources of information.
  • Fast user onboarding. Non-document verification can be faster and more efficient for both business and users, as it eliminates the need for users to provide physical documents and reduces manual document review.
  • Scaling across global markets. GDV allows businesses to expand their global reach with confidence, efficiently scaling operations in new markets backed by reliable and diverse data sources.

Document-free verification: Primary vs. secondary 

Primary non-document verification confirms an individual’s identity without relying on traditional paper documents. This may involve the use of strong authentication measures, such as biometrics (fingerprint scans, facial recognition, etc.) or multi-factor authentication (combining something the user knows, like a password, with something the user has, like a smartphone for receiving a code). This process establishes the baseline identity of an individual before additional layers of verification may be applied, and is typically used by non-regulated entities. 

Secondary non-document verification adds additional layers to the primary verification process, including further checks against databases, behavioral analytics, and more. 

Document-free verification and compliance

Document-free methods of identity verification can be Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliant, but it depends on the region. Businesses must therefore ensure that their document-free verification methods comply with AML regulations in the jurisdictions where they operate and be aware of regulatory changes.

Users can guarantee 100% compliance when they combine GDV, Non-Doc Verification, and Know Your Customer, or additional verification methods (keeping in mind that it will also depend on the country, industry and specific cases).

So let’s check out the jurisdictions where Sumsub can help: 

The United States

Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), the main Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation in the US, describes which information needs to be collected about customers in “Customer Identification Program: minimum requirements” (CIP). 

The BSA also states that both documentary and non-documentary verification methods (as well as their combinations) are acceptable so long as
(i) the chosen procedures ‘’enable to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of each customer”; and,
(ii) in case a non-documentary solution is elected, the firm applies additional procedures to address the risks where “the customer opens the account without appearing in person”.

Check this article to learn about detailed requirements of CIP.

US AML regulations could be compatible with non-documentary customer identification methods, however the AML-obligated entities performing it must be assured it knows the true identity of its customer. To ensure this, they can use additional KYC mechanisms, such as biometric checks. 

The UK

In the UK, document-free verification methods are approved by regulations and can be utilized by businesses.

Sumsub offers Non-Doc Verification in the country, which can be used for multiple use cases, including ID, address, phone number, and age verification. 

Sumsub’s Non-Doc Verification can be conducted in three stages:

  • The user selects their bank and is instantly redirected to the bank’s login page 
  • The user logs into their bank account and consents to share the required data
  • Sumsub retrieves the verified data, confirms the customer’s identity automatically, and onboarding is complete.

Here are the benefits of Non-Doc Verification in the UK: 

  • It’s done in approximately 4.5 seconds
  • It relies on a banking app, so all that customers need is their bank account rather than a physical document.
  • Data transfers are fully protected using the TLS 1.3 encryption protocol.
  • It’s compliant with UK AML regulations, provided that additional security measures are incorporated. 

Other jurisdictions

Non-Doc Verification is currently available for onboarding users in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia, India, Nigeria and the Netherlands. Over 2 billion people have already been successfully onboarded with Sumsub through the Non-Doc method.

In addition, Sumsub GDV product allows you to potentially verify around 5.5 billion people worldwide—all done quickly and securely without uploading multiple documents. 


  • What are some non-document methods of verification?

    Non-document verification methods may include public databases or other 3rd party electronic ID verification services.

  • What are some examples of non-document verification?

    Sumsub’s Global Database Verification method (including Identity, Address and Age Verification) and Non-Doc Verification (checking ID numbers through certified ID providers, like banks in the UK) are the best examples of document-free verification methods. 

  • When can the non-doc method of customer information verification be used?

    The non-doc method of customer verification may be used in different industries, including fintech, crypto, e-commerce, iGaming, transportation, and insurance businesses. There are multiple use cases, including identity, age, and address verification.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

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