23% of Homebuyers Not Asked to Prove Their Identity, Survey Reveals

Credas Technologies, the leading identity verification checks provider, has found that many UK homebuyers aren’t being asked to provide ID when purchasing a property, let alone having their ID properly verified.

The survey of UK homebuyers asked when purchasing their last property, did the selling agent ask for proof of identity, such as, but not limited to, a passport or driving licence?

77% of respondents said they were asked to prove their identity, a task that can be completed quickly with a passport or driving licence, a biometric residence permit, national identity card or a combination of documents such as council tax bills, bank statements, and utility bills. It can also be done via a KBV, where several questions are asked based on personal information from their credit file.

Despite the relative ease and range of options available to help verify someone’s identity, around a quarter (23%) of those surveyed by Credas Technologies admitted they hadn’t been asked to verify their identity.

  • 30% also stated they provided no proof, for example, in the form of a utility bill or similar.
  • 13% stated that they weren’t asked to verify their identity by their lawyer or solicitor once the sale started progressing.
  • 18% also said their mortgage broker failed to verify their identity properly when starting.

Tim Barnett, CEO of Credas Technologies says: ‘For the vast majority of those operating within the property industry, failing to verify a potential buyer’s identity may sound unbelievable. Not only is there a legal requirement to do so, but it can also be incredibly detrimental should they fall foul of criminal activity.’

‘Unfortunately, it happens more often than you think, particularly for those attempting to verify many buyers manually. This is almost certainly an oversight due to stretched resources rather than a cavalier attitude on the part of property industry professionals.’

‘However, it demonstrates the value gained from a professional approach, whereby one identity verification can be used across every area of the transaction process and by multiple shareholders such as agents, solicitors and mortgage brokers. It also highlights the value of investing in a bonafide onboarding platform that will prevent any transaction from progressing should a buyer’s identity not be properly verified.’

‘This approach saves time, money, and resources, and it reduces the chance for criminal entities to utilise the industry to launder their ill-gotten gains.’