The challenge of proving your address

Posted on the 5th May 2016 by Susan Curtis in SME blog

Postboxes (adapted from an image by Debarshi Ray)

The challenge of proving your address

Money Mover users based in the UK may never have experienced a problem proving their address. We are so used to entering a postcode on a website then selecting our street address, it’s normally quite simple.

In fact, the most recent development in the Money Mover application means UK residents can now be identified using electronic identification (e-ID).  This is a new way of screening UK residents rather than relying on the submission of paper documents.

But what do you do when your post isn’t delivered to your home address? Or we cannot e-ID you. What proof of residence can you provide?

Why do we need evidence received by post?

A bank statement received through the post is a better proof of address than an internet statement because it has been independently delivered to your home address. It is not just that your name and address are clearly set out – the fact that you have physically received the correspondence at your home provides further verification of your address and proves that you are physically present there.

What if there’s no home postal service?

In many African and Middle Eastern countries post is not delivered door-to-door but instead to PO boxes. Canada’s postal service has also announced that they are to cease home delivery of post over the next 5 years. The volume of post has declined sharply as people receive most communications via the internet. This has left the postal services in Canada, the USA and many other countries struggling to deal with the downturn in business. It is cheaper to deliver mail to PO boxes (either at properties or community PO box centres) than to deliver door-to-door, especially over vast areas.

Verifying customers’ identity

When it comes to verifying customer identity, one of the things that we are required to check is our users’ addresses. Again if it is not possible to use e-ID, the simplest way of doing this has been to obtain a recent utility bill, bank statement or other official letter addressed to the customer at the property. For users based in the Middle East and Africa, this documentation does not provide proof of residential address.

In an attempt to try to resolve this we will be asking our users who cannot obtain standard proofs of address to provide as many of the following as possible when signing up with us:

  • Government utility bills. Using Dubai as an example, the government water and electricity bills contain a DEWA (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) reference which identifies the property.
  • Other utility bills. These may not be the standard documents requested but still help to provide proof of address. These should include the customer name and make reference to the property by using the address and/or a reference corresponding to the address.
  • Lease or tenancy agreement. Leases often have a DEWA number or equivalent, which means we can match this up with utility bills for proof of address.
  • Letter of address verification from employer. This should be signed by an identifiable senior manager with contact details included for verification purposes.
  • Recent letter from a bank or other official institution setting out the customer’s address. It may not be delivered to the address itself but can still provide confirmation.
  • Any other official letters confirming address. This may include correspondence relating to tax, solicitor’s and accountant’s letters.
  • Exact PDF copy of a bank statement, detailing address, downloaded from the internet.
  • Proof of property ownership from the country equivalent of the Land Registry.

To learn how we utilise e-ID technology to identify our users and minimise the risk of money laundering or fraudulent activity, read our previous blog.

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