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Re-verifying users with facial biometrics

Introduction

Follow this guide to learn how to automate the re-verification of users by leveraging the facial biometrics you already hold for that user from when they were first verified with Onfido.

Instead of asking the user to send over their identity documents again, asking for Knowledge Based Questions, or getting on the phone with a user support team member, which is costly and time consuming for both your business and the user, all they would need to do would be to take a new selfie or record a new liveness video. Onfido will make sure the person is real and the same person as the one that originally signed up, quickly unblocking the user.

This feature is available for API and SDK customers, and works out of the box for customers currently using Facial Similarity Photo, Photo Fully Auto or Facial Similarity Video reports, without the need for any additional contracts or legal agreements. If you are currently using only e.g. Document report and would like to leverage facial biometrics for rechecking users, please contact your account manager.

Integration guidance

This flow should only be used for the re-verification of applicants who have already completed an initial verification with Onfido and have cleared a Document report.

This guide assumes you're using our API v3 for the backend calls, but it will also work with API v2. Please read our v2-v3 migration guide to understand the differences between API versions. If you're looking for quick-start guides for earlier versions of our API, please email our Client Support team.

The integration instructions will depend on whether you delete applicant data from Onfido, and whether you use our SDKs. See below for the integration steps for your configuration.

If Onfido stores applicant data

This is our recommended integration flow.

Re-verification of users should always be done using the same applicant object. If you store your users’ data with Onfido, each user in your system should have a one-to-one mapping to an applicant ID. You should use this same applicant ID during the re-verification process.

If you’re using one of the official Onfido SDKs:

  1. Find the applicant ID of the user you are re-verifying (do not create a new applicant object)
  2. Initiate the Onfido SDK and using the customization guide for your SDK type, remove the document capture screen to show only the selfie or liveness capture screen
  3. Wait for the live photo or live video to be uploaded by the SDK
  4. Create a check containing only a Facial Similarity report—you'll need to create a Facial Similarity Photo, Photo Fully Auto or Facial Similarity Video report depending on your configuration

If you’ve built your own selfie capture experience:

  1. Find the applicant ID of the user you are re-verifying (do not create a new applicant object)
  2. Present the user with a selfie capture screen leveraging the desktop or phone camera (we strongly advise against allowing users to upload selfies due to common availability of these online)
  3. Upload the image as a live photo to the applicant object
  4. Create a check containing only a Facial Similarity Photo or Photo Fully Auto report

The new report will compare the newly captured live photo or video against the original identity document associated with the applicant ID. Any Facial Similarity report will always compare to the latest uploaded identity document associated with the applicant ID.

If you regularly delete applicant data

This process is best for customers who regularly delete user data from Onfido and take ownership of data storage. In this case it's more appropriate to create a new applicant object for each user retry.*

*⚠️ Creating new applicant objects for each user retry might result in incorrect billing. If you regularly delete applicant data and wish to re-verify users please contact your account manager first.

If you’re using one of the official Onfido SDKs:

  1. Create a new applicant in the API
  2. Upload the document image you hold for this user to the applicant object
  3. Initiate the Onfido SDK and using the customization guide for your SDK type, remove the document capture screen to show only the selfie or liveness capture screen
  4. Wait for the live photo or live video to be uploaded by the SDK
  5. Create a check containing only a Facial Similarity report—you'll need to create a Facial Similarity Photo, Photo Fully Auto or Facial Similarity Video report depending on your configuration

If you’ve built your own selfie capture experience:

  1. Create a new applicant in the API
  2. Upload the document image you hold for this user to the applicant object
  3. Present the user with a selfie capture screen leveraging the desktop or phone camera (we strongly advise against allowing users to upload selfies due to common availability of these online)
  4. Upload the image as a live photo to the applicant object
  5. Create a check containing only a Facial Similarity Photo or Photo Fully Auto report

The new report will compare the newly captured live photo or live video against the document you uploaded, thus reconfirming user identity.

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