What are the benefits of using phone numbers as a digital identifier?
Phone numbers — mobile and landline — can be used to establish a digital identifier, providing an easy-to-verify handle to connect an account to a real person.
When registering to a digital service, the user enters his phone number, which enables the enterprise to validate his identity. By associating a unique and valid phone number to each user account, enterprises can stop fake accounts from gaining access to a service. Once this phone number is validated — a mobile or landline number, even — this is the trusted identifier throughout the customer journey.
Authentication based on phone numbers has various benefits to upgrade security, such as:
- Phone numbers are unique and universal.
- Phone numbers are difficult to steal (requires professional skills, knowledge, equipment and access), unlike emails.
- People notice immediately when their phones are stolen and take action.
- Phone numbers can be used for running additional security diagnostics that prevent SIM swaps and fraudulent account takeovers or transactions.
- Phones provide a stronger alternative to traditional passwords, or used in addition to passwords for stronger 2FA (two-factor authentication).
- Using phone numbers as a user identifier does not require additional hardware; plus, sending/receiving text messages in the verification process is inexpensive.
Digital identifiers need to balance customer experience and security. Phone numbers provide a great digital identifier that can be used as standalone or as a complement to additional identify verification processes. Using phone numbers is particularly useful in simplifying user verification for apps and web-based services.