Buyers Beware: Building Trust in Consumer-to-Consumer Transactions
August 13, 2017

By: Matt Jaksic, Business Development, SecureKey Technologies

Trust Building
So how do you build trust with a counterparty in the second-hand marketplace? The tactics available vary by platform, are time consuming and imperfect. The first step is usually to review the other user’s profile (if they have one), but these are usually based on just an email address or social media login, which anyone can create. Next, many users will often dialogue by exchanging emails or messaging on the platform – a time consuming prospect to gain comfort that you’re talking to a real person with good intentions, and not some bot or scammer.

When physically exchanging goods, many parties choose to meet in a public place such as a coffee shop, or even in designated meeting spots set up locally outside of a police station. Not only can this be inconvenient and hard to coordinate (even with friends, someone is always running behind), but also impractical for many situations (such as selling a car, rug, or piece of furniture).

So is there a better way to build online trust with technology? Some platforms have started to move away from un-vetted profiles and require users to provide some link back to their real selves. For example, earlier this year Airbnb rolled out requirements for validation of government ID to access certain features on their platform, and Car2Go requires a digital copy of your driver’s license.

These are good first steps, but the technologies used today to enable this (most often photographing a document and taking a selfie to send up to the cloud) raise new concerns around privacy and data storage. They’re also not infallible.

In other countries such as Denmark, where a national digital services ID exist, it’s not uncommon to see local commerce platforms such as DBA bringing using these standards to raise trust online – so now instead of speaking with and meeting “”, you can speak to “Greg W.” and know he exists and has been verified (without having to see his full license). Users will surely behave a bit more if these platforms know a bit about them.
As we move forward into an almost entirely digital world, it is becoming imperative to build trust into our online platforms from the beginning. It is an immense challenge, but also an exciting opportunity to build a framework for the digital future.

Digital ID Verification
At SecureKey, we are working to create new identity tools built for our digital world. Through a national digital identity ecosystem, comprised of leading organizations across a wide range of industries – including government, financial services and telecommunications – our goal is to eliminate the uncertainty associated with online identity, by putting control back in the hands of consumers and allowing them to prove they are who they say they are.

The simple things will be transformed, like having comfort in knowing who you are going to meet from a Craigslist ad, who is renting your apartment through Airbnb or who the handyman coming to fix your roof is through AskForTask. And we can do so while still preserving the privacy of users, and without sending pictures of your driver’s license and a selfie just to show you’re real.

So now, the question is how is a digital identity ecosystem possible? The simple answer is by leveraging trusted relationships like your bank, government ID or cell phone company. We’re already doing this in the real world, so it is now only a matter of doing so online. Once that happens, consumers will be able to operate without any risk or hesitation.

We live in a digital world, so why aren’t we acting like it?