For merchants, LendingUSA strives to be an easy-to-use solution for both merchants and borrowers. It’s important that the application process is stress-free, and can be done online from any device, 24/7. While applications occasionally run into issues, merchants can speed up the process a great deal by taking a few simple steps, including double-checking the applicant’s government-issued identification.
While this is always an important step, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, double-checking ID has become more important. “Due to COVID restrictions, more people are likely avoiding the DMV, or their DMV has been closed altogether. As a result, there are more people with expired IDs than normal,” says Keith Carlton, a Senior Solution Executive at LendingUSA.
Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at how merchants can pace up the overall process and avoid errors throughout the loan application process. The customer application process is detailed. However, detailed doesn’t translate into more complex. Instead, adopting minimal steps can eliminate more barriers between the merchants and customers. Ultimately, merchants can reduce friction by adding a simple step. On the surface, it may come across as time-consuming, but it can make all the difference in speeding up the application process.
Utilize ID Verification
Because of this increase in expired IDs, it’s important that merchants are simply aware of the increase and continue to look out for expiration dates. Additionally, merchants should use every tool available to check the customer’s ID, including LendingUSA’s ID Verification tool.
With our digital Verification tool, we match government-issued IDs to selfies in real-time right in the application, this is just one of the ways in which we ensure that your customer’s application is valid. However, given different state guidelines on the treatment of expired IDs during COVID-19, our digital tools are no match for simply checking the ID in-person.
Human Touch: Re-evaluate Each Customer’s ID
“While our ID verification tools will check expiration dates, merchants can speed up the process and avoid a lot of back-and-forth by taking a quick look at the ID themselves,” explains Keith.
With that in mind, merchants should take note to carefully check each applicant’s ID in-person during the application process. While you may not typically find many expiration date issues, be sure to pay extra attention as you check. This simple step could save you a lot of time upfront should you find an error.
Understand Your State’s Extension Policies
As we know, each state is approaching the COVID-19 pandemic differently, including how to handle expired IDs when people may not feel safe going to the DMV or perhaps are unable to go. As a result, merchants should understand their state’s policies and guidelines for extensions. Please note that there may be situations where one of your customers may have an ID from another state, in that case it will be that state’s guidelines that must be followed since it is the issuing state of that ID.
Because of these extensions, if an applicant’s ID is past the expiration date, it may still actually be valid depending on the issuing state’s guidelines. Knowing your state’s guidelines will allow you to better understand whether an ID is still valid when you look at it and your state is the issuing state. So long as the expired ID falls within the issuing state’s extension guidelines, merchants should gather and provide supplemental documentation to LendingUSA concerning the specific ID and the issuing state’s extension guidelines.
Make a Thorough Record of Government Issued IDs
In addition to double-checking the applicant’s identification yourself, it’s important that merchants keep a copy of the customer’s ID on file. Not only can this serve to protect you, but should an issue arise with the ID later, you can provide a copy rather than relying on the customer to do so.
Need More Guidance?
LendingUSA offers a weekly Merchant Portal Training webinar! Join us to walk through your merchant portal and get your questions answered. Additionally, you may always call your designated representative for additional training and questions. “We’re always happy to assist merchants and walk you and your employees through the process,” says Keith.