What is Proof of Address?
Proof of Address (PoA) as a term is fairly self-explanatory. PoA covers documentation that is used to prove that a person lives or resides at a specific place, usually to prove that they fall under a particular jurisdiction in order to access specific benefits, services or goods. Proof of Address is often included as part of the measures that are aimed at preventing fraud.
There are a number of different types of document that could be used to provide Proof of Address, though different jurisdictions or companies may have different standards or acceptability depending on what their ability to process and utilise them are; however, there are some that are regularly referenced. A valid driving licence, recent council tax bill, recent bank or credit or debit card statements, recent utility bills, current rental agreements or mortgage statements, and TV licenses are often held up as good examples to use but there are often other options available. Those applying to merchants or services should always check the regulations required both by the jurisdiction they live in and the service or merchant they are using. Any method that can improve the strength of KYC can mitigate the risk of fraud in money laundering and other criminal enterprises, and can stymie the flow of cash that could otherwise be used to fund terrorism. In this, PoA being included in KYC and AML efforts can be seen as a positive step to combating illicit activities. Despite this, providing Proof of Address can have a number of issues. The first and most obvious issue with including Proof of Address as a requirement for financial services is that not everybody can provide documentation to show it. This can be a particular problem in developing countries and places where acceptable forms of documentation may not be readily available. For these people, PoA may not be simply an inconvenience but may cause them to be unable to access vital financial services which can be relied on for legitimate remittance and financial aid. Other people who lack PoA documentation could be those such as the homeless and refugees - people who could benefit from financial inclusion the most. Beyond this, as a global market becomes more and more common, financial services have to cross borders and conduct business in countries which can have different languages, alphabets and different layouts of documents that would be used for PoA purposes. Even for larger institutions, dealing with these differences can be a significant sink of time and resources. On top of this, falsifying documents used for PoA verification or fraudulent acquisition and use of such documents are a risk to those whose verification techniques are not up to scratch. Finally, in modern society, there is a vastly increased tendency for people to move around and change address to what was expected when PoA requirements were brought in decades ago. Those who rent or people who simply move frequently have the added hassle of having to update the various merchants they use as to their new address with the documentation they require. Ultimately, Proof of Address requirements seem to be rapidly becoming outdated but are still a staple in many industries. Nevertheless, whilst it is required, Blockpass can alleviate some of the issues surrounding it, but ultimately, if an individual’s Proof of Identity is strong enough (as we are providing and continuing to develop at Blockpass and in conjunction with the Blockpass Identity Lab at Edinburgh Napier University), we could see a situation in the future where Proof of Address is not required or has fewer restrictions placed on it. Until then, Blockpass works with verifiers across the globe to provide opportunities for documentation to be accepted from any country, regardless of language or layout barriers, so merchants can accept any documentation Blockpass provides which has been verified. In a similar vein, as Blockpass provides a reusable and shared identity verification and management service, once a person has their documentation approved, it is simple and instant to share it with any other merchant in the ecosystem, cutting down on the time and effort required to access a whole variety of services. Alongside this, when a person has a change of residence, they no longer need to contact each merchant or service provider individually to update them; instead, simply by taking a few moments to update their Blockpass Mobile App data, the new information can be shared with all applicable parties and verified again if necessary. All of this happens along with Blockpass’ inbuilt efficiencies for both users and merchants, and takes a lot of the hassle out of complying with the various regulations that need to be met. The Blockpass platform is fully automated and hosted in the cloud, with no integration or setup fee. Businesses can sign up to the KYC Connect console in a matter of minutes, test out the service, and start conducting identity documents verification, KYC and AML checks. Sign up for FREE at console.blockpass.org.