Proof of Address

Water Bill Verification for Proof of Address

There are times when you need to verify your residency, and an ID document isn’t enough. You may need to provide multiple documents to authenticate your address. The proof of address verification process is a crucial part of maintaining security in businesses. Businesses want to verify a customer’s proof of address to make sure they are who they claim to be.

If you want to open a new bank account, register at DMV, apply for a mortgage, or do any other important task, you need two documents:

  • Government-issued ID document 
  • Proof of address verification document 

Government-issued ID is to verify who you are, and the address document is to verify where you live.

The most common type of document that you can use for proof of address verification is utility bills. Any utility bill including water bill, electricity bill, and telephone bill can be used to verify your residency.

In this guide, we’ve outlined what is water bill verification and how it can be used to verify proof of address.

What Counts as Proof of Address?

A proof of address document tells the bank, individual, or the government where you live. Most of the time, a proof of address document is from a reputable government service. Banks and other entities ask for proof of address documents to add another layer of security in customer onboarding. 

These documents help banks and other organizations confirm who you are and if you’re telling the truth about where you live. Some companies don’t offer services oversea, or they don’t offer services to particular countries. Proof of residency documents can help them confirm if you’re a USA resident or not. 

Most companies will require you to show both ID proof and proof of address documents. You need to have two different documents on hand. Most organizations have their own list of documents that they accept as proof of address documents:

  • Utility bills – water bill verification, electricity bills verification, etc.
  • Credit card bill or statement
  • Bank statement 
  • One-off bank letter
  • Social insurance statement
  • Paycheck
  • A letter from a public authority
  • Insurance policy for your car or home
  • A rental or mortgage contract
  • Your car’s registration
  • The official change of address form
  • DD214 official documentation stating you’ve left the military
  • An official letter from your employer or college where your address is confirmed
  • Confirmation of voter registration

These are the most common documents accepted by banks and other organizations, but every organization has its own set of documents they accept. Before you submit a document, you should be aware of the rules surrounding the documents. Some organizations won’t accept water bills and other utility bills that don’t include mobile phone bills. And most companies don’t accept insurance documents that are older than 3 months (90 days).

Water Bill Verification: Uses in Address and Identity Verification

People who’ve moved to a new country or have just started living on their own don’t have access to the right set of documents. This is where water bill verification comes in. Individuals living in rural areas don’t have access to financial institutions, or other online financial tech platforms. So, individuals that have limited access to documents and online financial institutions can use water bills for proof of address verification. 

While applying for loans, or opening a new bank account, water bill verification can help in proving residency. Regulatory bodies have been pushing the use of utility bills for verifying proof of address of customers. Accurate proof of verification process with utility bills can prevent fraud in the financial industry.

Using water bills for proof of address verification can even help banks in understanding the spending history of the individual, especially if they’re applying for a loan. 

Banks and other entities should be careful while verifying water bills and other utility bills. Fraudsters are becoming smarter and smarter every day, and they can edit utility bills to trick financial institutions.

Fraudsters can easily steal someone else’s identity and try to conduct several financial activities. It’s next to impossible to distinguish between a fake/stolen or a real document with naked eyes. This is why financial and non-financial institutions need to adopt technologies.

Online Water Bill Verification

Even the best onboarding processes can be broken if a bank fails to accurately verify documents provided by the customers. Water bill verification can help customers in opening a new account. Similarly, fraudsters can use fake utility bills to open an account to launder money. 

DIRO utility bill verification solution can instantly verify utility bill data with automated user consent and impersonation checks at 9,000 utility companies in 195 countries. DIRO verifies utility bill data directly from the issuing source, thus eliminating the use of fake and stolen documents by 100%. 

The verification output is a machine-readable JSON file that can be used as an original document for compliance. DIRO utility bill verification API can be integrated with existing digital frameworks to streamline and enhance the customer onboarding process with real-time verification.

Proof of Address

Understanding Electricity Bill Verification

Businesses should never undermine the importance of utility bill verification. Electricity bill verification is the first and foremost step in an exhaustive identity verification process. Especially for businesses dealing with financial data. The threat of identity theft is ever prevalent in the industry, and the only way to keep customers and businesses safe is with the verification of customer documents. Utility bill verification is directly related to identity verification and it should be handled with utmost care.

Businesses of today now have to comply with tons of rules that ensure safety and security for all. When businesses comply with these rules, they prevent fraudsters’ access to a firm’s internal systems. To make sure customers are who they claim to be, a valid ID and address proof are needed. Water or electricity bill verification can easily fulfill the demand for proof of address verification.

Facilitating Identity Verification Through Utility Bills

Even in developed countries, how to handle financial information easily is scarce knowledge. A huge number of people living in rural areas don’t have access to important financial institutions such as banks and FinTech services. 

Before a customer signs up with a bank or a financial institution, they need to perform a series of checks. Formally, these checks are known as Know Your Customer Verification (KYC). As most people don’t have access to the right set of documents, they end up being rejected by the banks. Most banks and financial institutions ask for two documents before onboarding a customer:

  • Government-issued ID document
  • Proof of address document 

There are rare cases where businesses require additional documents to verify a customer’s identity. In those cases, the business has its own set of rules and regulations that a customer needs to follow. 

In most cases, banks need only two documents. In 80% of areas, utility bill verification is the most logical step for proof of address verification. Electricity bill authentication does so much more than provide access to a customer’s address data, it also helps businesses in understanding a customer’s paying habits and behaviors. As most people have access to an electricity bill, it’s the most convenient way to verify their address proof. This is why more businesses should focus to verify electricity bill.

 Besides, businesses can use electricity bills to prevent risks, and it also helps in strengthening relationships with customers. This shows customers that a company cares about providing a certain degree of security to the customer’s personal information. With increasing pressure and complicated compliance from regulatory bodies, businesses need to build compliance solutions that are as secure as possible. Online electricity bill verification provides essential help for businesses and customers.

Methodology for Electricity Bill Verification

While using electricity bills for verifying a customer’s residency sounds easy, it requires a lot of effort. Instead of relying on manual resources for the verification of customer data, businesses should choose technologies. DIRO electricity bill verification API can enhance your verification process. Here are some of the basic things that a business can verify using an electricity bill.

1. Identity Verification

An electricity bill can also be used to prove a person’s identity as it mentions their legal name. So, businesses of every type can be sure that the customers are who they claim to be, and not someone who stole ID documents.

2. Residential Address

An electricity bill is the best way to verify a customer’s address data. A utility bill is a primary source of verifying a customer’s residency. Businesses can use utility bill verification to gain insights about the customer and prevent fraudsters from accessing a business’s services. Plus, in case of fraud, businesses can track down the fraudster and safeguard themselves from any penalties by showing the needed data.

3. Payment History and Habits

Another benefit of using an electricity bill for customer verification is to gather a customer’s attitude towards their payments and habits. If a customer has tons of due utility bill payments, it shows that a customer doesn’t handle their finances well. So, businesses, especially those offering loans and credit cards should use utility bill verification.

Proof of Address

Proof of Address Guide in US, UK, and Canada

Moving to a new country? Opening a new bank account is one of the first things that you need to do, as there’s no way to survive without money. To open a new bank account in the US, all you need is a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID. Opening a bank account, or renting a home requires proof of address verification.

Finding a proof of address document in a new country can be challenging. There are different rules and regulations in each country. Different organizations can also decide which documents will they accept as proof of address verification. Depending on the country you’re in, what counts as address proof varies. However, in the US, UK, and Canada, one or more of  the below-mentioned documents will work:

  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of employment
  • Academic records
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills
  • Rent arrangements

Utility bills can be of any kind, water bills, electricity bills, internet bills, or phone bills, they can be used separately or together. But for utility bills to be submitted as a proof of address verification document, they have to be less old than 90 days.

In this guide, we’ll be telling you all about the proof of address verification in the US, UK, and Canada.

Why is Proof of Address Verification Required?

Proof of address or proof of residency is a document that’s used to verify where a customer lives. It differs from other types of ID documents that are used for verification, as not all ID and government-issued documents include your current address.

The proof of address documents should show where a person lives. If you don’t have a particular proof of address document, then you can purchase a post office box in the U.S., for receiving mail, but that doesn’t count as a residential address. For account opening and other purposes, you’ll be asked to show an ID proof and 1 proof of address document. Customers can’t use the same document for both proof of ID verification and proof of residency verification. Some organizations may have other policies, but it’s best for customers to carry 2 different documents with them. 

The proof of address verification allows customers to access multiple services and also offers banks and financial institutions a paper trail to keep track of customers. If you’re planning to move to the U.S., U.K., or Canada, then it is essential to prove your residency. If you plan to send money or receive payments, then you’ll need to open a new bank account.

While you’re in a new country, it would be helpful to collect as many proof of address documents as possible. Having multiple documents is important, as different companies have different policies. 

Regardless of what proof of address you use, it’s also important for documents to be fairly recent. The document that you provide should contain your full name and address. If you’re using an address proof that doesn’t have a valid date, then you have to provide the last three recent bills.

Proof of Address Verification in the U.S.

The most common proof of address verification document in the United States is the driver’s license. It’s also the most commonly used ID verification document. The problem for new residents in a country is getting a driver’s license, alongside documents that show proof of identity such as a passport, permanent resident card, birth certificate, and others.

If you want a list of acceptable proof of address verification documents, then you can visit the DMV website for a full list of documents. If you don’t want to go through the website, then here are some of the most commonly accepted articles:

  • Utility bills
  • Rental contract or lease agreement
  • Mortgage statement for homeowners
  • Documents from your school, such as enrollment papers or a report card
  • Insurance policies or premium bills
  • Bank or credit card statements
  • Tax form
  • Posted mails with your name and address

How to Get a Photo ID Card?

While it’s not as commonly used, you can also apply for a photo ID card in the state of the U.S. you live in. This ID document can also be used as a proof of address document when needed. You can apply for a photo ID from a government agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To apply for a photo ID in the USA, you need:

  • Your green card, valid Employment Authorization Card with Forms I-8744, or another US Visa with an I-94 form.
  • Social security card
  • Proof of address

Keep in mind that every state has its own rules. Be sure to reach out to your local DMV to learn about the rules and regulations.

Also, non-residents can’t have a social security number. Regardless, you can still get a photo ID from the DMV without an SSN.

Proof of Address Verification in Canada

Same as in the US, your driver’s license is a common proof of address document in Canada. But there are other documents you can use for proof of address verification.

  • T4 slips from your employer
  • Your tax returns
  • Rental agreements or receipts from landlords
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Utility Bills
  • Car registration
  • Academic records and transcripts
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank or credit card statements
  • Notice of assessment

Documents such as T4 slips, and academic records are the most easily available proof of address documents. Utility bills and lease agreements are the second-best easily available proof of address documents.

Proof of Address Verification in the UK

In the UK, proof of address verification documents are needed at almost every step. Proof of address verification in UK is a crucial step in customer onboarding. Let’s say you want a proof of address document for bank account opening, you’ll need documents such as:

  • A letter from your university, college, or school
  • A letter from your employer confirming your address
  • A letter from someone you know who is a customer of that bank who can act as a verifier for the bank.

In the United States and Canada, you can also use a rental agreement, insurance policy, credit card statements, and utility bills for proof of address verification.

Additional Documents for Proving Address in the UK

Another method for proof of address verification documents is to use a company that helps residents arriving in the country. These companies and service providers can help in streamlining the overall process.

Conclusion: Proof of Address Verification

Chances are, whenever you move to a new country, you’re likely to have at least one document that can be used as proof of address verification.

You may have an employment letter, university transcript, cell phone bill, rental agreement, or others. Once you’ve got a proof of address verification document, you can start opening a new bank account.

Proof of Address

How to Get a Proof of Address in The UK?

Opening a new bank account or applying for a loan? The first thing that you need to prove is your address. One of the primary things to do is to provide valid proof of address in the UK. Specific documents are needed to prove your ID, such as a passport, a driving license, or by validating a rental/ownership of a property.

For a long time, banks have been relying on address verification as a security measure. It is a regulatory requirement that banks have to perform for each individual that’s opening an account. Although, proving their addresses may not be as simple for some people. There can be instances where someone has just arrived in the UK and therefore doesn’t have a bill or any documentation with their name on it.

Choosing the bank type you want to open an account with may be a deciding factor as different banks ask for different types of information. For Example, some banks may not even want proof of address as part of the account opening process. 

Why Do Banks Ask for Proof of Address?

As financial institutions, banks are required to comply with strict security measures to make sure fraudsters aren’t using new accounts for illegal activities such as money laundering or money embezzlement. 

That’s why the banks have to ensure that the person who is opening an account uses a valid identity. But, of course, it also helps ensure that the person is whom they claim to be, and banks do so by checking the validity of the address.

The two most important documents that a bank asks for before customers open an account are the photo ID of the person applying for a new account or a loan and their registered proof of address. Different banks may ask for a different types of documentation for verifying a person’s address. Usually, 1-2 documents will also be required for verifying your residential address. 

These documents usually have to be from a source, such as a UK photo driving license or a tax return document.

What Documents Required for Proof of Address?

The documents required for proof of address verification differ from bank to bank. Each bank also has different processes for verification in which different documents are provided. Additionally, the verification time required for each document is also a major factor for banks. 

Also, the documents a person provides to banks have to be up to date, and the verification time taken by each document has to be taken into account when supplying these documents. If a bank asks for a credit card statement or a utility bill for address verification, they can’t be older than three months. If the person uses a utility bill, it can’t be older than one year (12 months). And if you’re opening a new account, you need to confirm with your bank what documents they require for proof of address verification.

Some of the most common documents used by the bank as proof of address are:

  • A valid UK driving license
  • Recent utility bill (Gas bill, electricity bill, water bill, or landline phone)
  • Council tax bill
  • Recent credit card or bank statement
  • A recent credit union statement
  • Tenant’s agreement/ rental agreement

If you don’t have any of these documents for address verification, then you can reach out to your bank for additional documents that can be used for verification.

What if you Can’t Supply a Bank With Proof of Address?

If you’ve just arrived in the UK and you want to open a new bank account, it can be tough as you may not have all the necessary documents. The most common documents are utility bills and credit card bills, and new residents may not have either. 

Some banks allow for different types of documents such as:

  • A letter from the college or university, or language school if you’re in the UK for studying. Student documents can be used for verification.
  • A letter from your employer confirming your address.
  • A letter of referral from your existing bank can also be used as a letter of verification. 

As mentioned above, different banks rely on different document verification. So other documents can be used for verification.

Are There Banks in the UK That Don’t Need Proof of Address?

Almost all the major banks in the UK are required to have proof of address before allowing you to open an account with them. If you want to know about the documentation required by several banks, you can visit the website of the bank of your choice and decide if you have those documents or not. You can find a list of options in which a bank may accept documents other than those mentioned above on the Financial Conduct Authority website.

Proof of Address

How to Perfectly Ace Address Verification During KYB & KYC Process?

Customer address verification is vital for opening accounts, signing up for new services, and more, but verifying customer addresses isn’t as easy as it seems. The new automated method offers an up-to-date source for address verification and digital methods for address verification are perfect for businesses to reduce fraud. 

The biggest reason for identity fraud is the use of synthetic identity, where a fraudster uses a combination of fake and real information to create a brand new identity, which is one of the reasons why verifying an address is crucial for businesses to mitigate fraud. 

Also, using proof of address as a form of ID verification means that your business will comply with AMLD5 and protect it from other fraudulent risks.

What’s the Need for Proving Address?

To avoid risks of fraud, proving customers’ addresses is vital for companies like financial institutions, eCommerce platforms, online marketplaces, and gambling sites. Businesses that have to prove customer identities to offer their services need to verify customer addresses. 

High-value eCommerce transactions also need proof of address verification, so that expensive purchases such as cars, technical equipment go to the correct addresses. If a fraudster can use the potential to use stolen card details to buy something and send it to a different address, they will. However, businesses that use robust address verification solutions can mitigate the risks of fraud. 

The Need for Regulations

Businesses, financial institutions, eCommerce marketplaces, and so on have to follow KYC and AML regulations to reduce the risk of fraud. If you follow KYC, KYC, and AML regulations, you reduce the threat and risk of fraud to your company. Using strong ID and document verification software and tools can assist businesses in mitigating fraud, legal complications and establish trust in our customer base. 

Proof of address is a basic requirement for complying with KYC & KYB and AML compliance. But that’s not the case with all countries, Hong Kong doesn’t require proof of address verification to comply with KYC, KYB, and AML compliance. The reason for that is simple, customers often change addresses and their documents can be easily forged.

Top Ways to Verify Addresses

The most commonly used methods of proof of address verification across the globe are:

  1. Driving License

A driving license is the most commonly used document type for proof of address verification. Although, using a driving license is not an efficient solution. Many people had their driving license issued years ago and chances are that they have changed their home since the issuing of the license. Another issue is that a driving license can be easily forged and thousands of fake licenses are used every day.

  1. Passport

Passports usually show addresses, but the data available on passports can also be outdated. With many customers currently living at a different address than what’s shown on their passport that was issued almost 10 years ago, the use of a passport isn’t ideal. Also on some passports, current addresses aren’t printed and a space is left for residents to write their addresses themselves.  

  1. Bank Statement 

Financial institutions, banks, eCommerce platforms, and so on have recently started using bank statements for proof of address verification. A recent bank statement can easily be used as proof of address. However, customers have security concerns regarding offering their bank statements. Financial services in Europe have seen almost 40% of customers abandon the customer onboarding process when they were asked for bank statements for address verification. Customers are hesitant to provide their sensitive data.

  1. Utility Bill

Utility bills have been used for proof of address verification for a long while. Earlier the process was strictly paper-based, but since the pandemic, it has gone digital. This is the strongest form of address verification as the document is recent and hard to mimic. Utility bills provide the most recent address of a consumer, while most people don’t care about changing addresses on driving licenses, they are likely to pay their utility bills every month.

DIRO Online Document Verification Software for Address Verification

Verifying proof of address can help businesses fight fraud. DIRO’s online document verification tool helps businesses in verifying the signs of fraud early on. DIRO’s online document verification service verifies document data directly from the web source thus eliminating the use of fake and forged documents. By using DIRO’s online document verification solution, businesses can verify proof of address documents without having to worry about the use of fake and forged documents.

Proof of Address

How to Verify Proof of Address for Digital Banking Industry?

As soon as the pandemic hit the world, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaints about identity theft quadrupled. Similarly, loan account fraud loss grew from $400 million to $3.4 billion in 2019, and to make matters worse, banks and credit unions are losing more and more money to synthetic identity fraud. Customer identity verification is one of the primary methods to mitigate fraud, and learning how to confirm proof of address is a vital step.

To reduce the losses and mitigate fraud, identity theft, identity verification, and loan approval software need to have stronger ways to protect digital banking solutions. One way to reduce fraud is by learning how to verify proof of address.

What’s the Need for a Proof of Address?

The verification of proof of address has several use cases, be it opening a new bank account, applying for a mortgage, or signing up for digital banking services. Here’s why proof of address verification is important:

1. Avoid Major Risks

Understanding how you prove proof of residency and why it is important is by understanding the industries it will benefit. Efficiently proving consumers’ addresses for businesses like mortgage lenders, eCommerce stores, online marketplaces, and online gaming is to make sure that the customers are who they claim.

Not just the finance industry, but other industries require verifying proof of address. Online platforms that book living spaces like Airbnb also use cases of address verification. Since the pandemic, Airbnb has received an increased number of fraudulent bookings. This leads to multiple customers getting scammed out of housing properties. As Airbnb doesn’t know how to confirm proof of address, fraudsters could list any property available for rental and trick customers when they try to sign up. 

Online rental places like Airbnb aren’t the only industry that requires proof of address. Mortgage lenders also rely on residence verification to make sure a customer is who they claim to be. To reduce mortgage fraud, borrowers must provide certain documents to lenders for verification. 

As mentioned, banks, financial institutions, and FinTechs need to verify a lot of documents to secure themselves from their fraud. 

2. Regulations and Security

Frauds cause huge losses to a country’s economy and to reduce fraud regulations have to be followed. You can add verification methods to comply with regulations such as KYC, KYB, AML, and mortgage lending regulations. Following regulations can help you weed out security threats, minimize risks and avoid legal losses and keep providing customers with optimum user experience. 

Verifying proof of residence is a basic requirement for KYC/KYB and AML compliance. Although some regions enforce verification of address more strictly than others. States in the USA where online gambling is legal, require strong proof of address verification. If customers or online gambling agencies do not complete the verification of address proof, it can result in hefty fines.

What Documents Count As Proof of Address?

In the USA, several documents can be used to verify proof of address, here is a list of the most commonly used documents for address verification:

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Bank Statements
  • Utility Bill

1. Driver’s License

A driver’s license is an official government ID that allows a person to operate a vehicle. Apart from a person’s driving record, a license contains a name, address, and DOB. Although there is a chance that the address listed on the Driver’s license isn’t the current address. 

According to surveys, more than 30 million American residents move every year. According to regulations, every state requires you to update the address proof within 30 days of moving. But most people overlook this requirement which leads to incorrect and outdated information.

Fraudsters can easily trick the verification processes by doctoring the driver’s license using different technology. Sophisticated verification solutions like DIRO’s online document verification captures data such as proof of address directly from the original web source for verification. This means institutions can verify documents even if they are fake.

2. Passport

A passport is another government-issued ID that is used for international travel. It also helps in certifying and verifying the nationality of every individual. Passports don’t have addresses printed on them like Driver’s licenses but a user can pencil in the address by themselves. This can’t act as an official proof of address for government services but can work in certain use cases. 

3. Bank Statements

A bank statement is a monthly document that is provided by the bank to the customers each month. The statement includes all kinds of financial data including what money came in and what went out. This bank statement is a document that can be used as proof of address. Bank statements contain personal information like name, address, and statement period.

To use bank statements as proof of address, they have to be recent or under 90 days. A bank statement older than 3 months can’t prove the recent address of the customer. Although using bank statements for verification of address leaves a lot of room for security risks. 

When learning how to verify proof of address, it is crucial for banks, governments, and financial institutions to provide a sense of security to the customers. According to sources, asking customers to use bank statements as proof of address led to a 30% increase in the customer dropout rate. Bank statements contain sensitive information and customers are hesitant to provide bank statements 

4. Utility Bills 

The best method of verifying proof of address is using utility bills. Recently the process of using utility bills for DMV and renewing driver’s license. Now the whole process is becoming digital.

In terms of security and seamless process, the strongest use case of address verification is utility bills. Utility bills provide the most recent address of a consumer. People can forget to update their address on their driver’s license, but just paying the utility bills is enough to provide proof of recency. 

How do Verify Proof of Address with DIRO?

Verifying proof of address is vital for digital transformation and minimizing fraud. DIRO’s verification technology captures data from the original web source and verifies if an address is real or not. 

DIRO’s technology is the only solution globally that can verify documents instantly which leads to an enhanced customer experience. The solution can work horizontally across various industries.