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EIV: Electronic Identity Verification Transforming the Rental Space

For the past few years, technology has truly revolutionized the real estate sector in many, many ways. Property technology (or PropTech) has innovated the way we source, manage, list, sell, rent, buy and furnish real estate. A lot has changed in a short time! The pandemic put pressure to have even more crucial processes go online - like online virtual tours and remote screening of tenants and roommates. Arguably a bit of a boring innovation, but one that has become crucial for PropTech is EIV or Electronic Identity Verification.

What is EIV?

Electronic identity verification (EIV) is a security measure used by most financial institutions to electronically confirm the identity of their clients. It was developed by credit bureaus for the purpose of developing a countermeasure against the threat of fraud and impersonation in the digital world. For this same reason, many property management companies and landlords have adopted the EIV process to confirm an applicant’s identity. EIV ensures that each applicant is who they say they are, and that their online identity is secure.

The process has been around for years in the financial industry - you've likely experienced it already either electronically filing your taxes or applying online for a mortgage or loan. 

How does EIV work?

EIV requires the applicant to answer what are known as ‘out-of-wallet’ questions related to their personal credit file (e.g. the name of the bank where the applicant has a loan or line of credit, or where he or she most recently applied for credit). Other questions may relate to personal information such as historical address history, or past telephone numbers. Out-of-wallet questions are different than common identity verification questions as they request private data that is not readily available from a person’s wallet. The information provided by the applicant is then verified by an approved Canadian credit bureau. Applicants do not have to answer every question correctly to successfully verify their identity.

Why is EIV important?

If you've ever known anyone to be the victim of identity theft, you likely can see exactly why this additional step is crucial in many digital applications. Whether the application is for a job, a rental apartment, or a loan - confirming ID is the first most important step by law.  Most ID theft is actually done via the application process - applying for a credit card, loan, or line of credit is how fraudsters rack up debt against your name. Proving it was a fraudulent application (and not really you) and going through the incredible amount of red tape is a very high price to pay for consumers to pay for a lack of security on the company's part.

It is best practice for any company accepting applications online to implement strict ID or EIV processes; without EIV, all these fraudsters need to know is your name, DOB, current address, and maybe your SSN/SIN to open debt under false pretenses.  

Once key institutions (finance/banking/tax/employment/social assistance) recognized how easy (without photo ID checks) it had become for online fraud, they developed EIV and these 'out-of-wallet' questions that only the person would know to mitigate the risk of going digital.

Also called "Know Your Customer" or KYC, these processes are in place to prevent fraud and comply with international data protection and money laundering prevention measures.

It may seem like a pain, or maybe even intrusive at first - but these processes are in place for your protection. 

Using an application that doesn't employ a rigorous ID verification process should raise a red flag.

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