Innovator Q&A: Using digital identity to create trust in marketplaces without human interaction with Megan Behrens of HyreCar

Megan Behrens, SVP of Operations & Product at HyreCar — a digital platform that helps car owners and dealers rent out their vehicles to ridesharing drivers — sees the user identity verification process as a way to build trust in the HyreCar community. Here she joins Mitek to discuss user confidence and how the ID verification process can help to mitigate risk and improve customer experience in the broader sharing economy.

Can you walk me through your strategy for implementing ID verification at HyreCar? Why did you start using it and how have you seen the process evolve?
Megan: We've always had an online identity verification process for our drivers. It required them to upload pictures of their drivers’ licenses and validate they had a rideshare account, in addition to a background check. The digital ID verification process was incredibly manual; sometimes it would take up to 2-4 business days to get the drivers verified. It was a painful process for them, but necessary for us. We decided to opt for an automated ID verification software to optimize the process, cut down turnaround time and mitigate risk. Since implementing ID verification, we’ve seen a huge reduction in time to validate our drivers and a reduction in fraud and identity theft for our owners and dealers.

We’re also focusing our identity verification process strategy for digital onboarding to create more trust on our platform. We have multiple types of users who we want to validate, so we conduct dual digital ID verification. This allows us to ensure our drivers are who they say they are, instead of fraudsters, and have good driving records. Then on the other side, we have car owners and dealers who are renting their cars to our drivers. We make sure the cars meet all state regulations, have the proper paperwork, and are in good condition to drive on the roads.
What are some concrete results you’ve seen from your ID verification process?
In the fiscal year, 2018, we saw roughly 400,000 rental days. After implementing our new ID verification process, we’re projected at roughly around 550,000 rental days for this year. It’s a huge improvement for the customer identification process that correlates directly to the reduction in response time. Now our drivers can get on the road quicker following identity fraud prevention.

Prior to implementing the ID verification software, about 34% of our users would submit the documentation, and then we’d have to request secondary documentation from them. We’ve eradicated that extra step by over 50%, without decreasing identity fraud prevention.

How do you see digital identity verification having an impact on the broader sharing economy?
In the sharing economy, everybody wants to have that extra security knowing a customer is in fact who they say they are — but they also want their customer verification experience to be as seamless as possible. Especially within the ridesharing space, because when we request a driver to come to our home and pick us up, we need to trust that the driver is who they say they are — and we can trust them. Identity verification is a great process for us as a community because it grows safety and trust, and it shows our users the platforms they’re utilizing are safe, even if they don't have a face-to-face interaction.

It was also important for us to see a reduction in turnaround time from when a user submits their ID document to prove who they are, to the time they actually get on the road and start driving to make income. But we need to mitigate our risk at the same time and not be affected by fraudsters. When you’re an online platform, you increase your risk for fraud and identity theft with online transactions, so adding an extra layer of security for our users helps us build that trust. I think the entire sharing economy can benefit from building trust.

What do you think the future of digital onboarding could look like?
I believe simplifying the onboarding process as much as possible for our users will drive the future of digital onboarding. This is especially true for the sharing economy because we have many verification steps in place. We want to continue to automate and optimize the onboarding process to really improve the experience for our users.  And in our digital onboarding process, we have moved beyond using traditional types of IDs, like licenses or passports, and are combining ID verification with biometrics to add that extra layer of trust. We’ll continue to make the digital onboarding process as fast as possible so our drivers can get on the road faster and our owners and dealers can increase rental days.


Woman with a HyreCar shirt smiling