Five Tips for Better Phone Number Verification

Published November 26, 2014 by Parth Awasthi

Over the last year, many of the world’s largest companies have been subject to the same bad news: their digital properties lacking user authentication have been compromised. As a response to these attacks on users’ accounts, companies are implementing additional security measures, such as mobile phone number verification to authenticate users.

Phone number verification can be used for a variety of reasons: verifying identity during registration, authorizing upgrades, resetting passwords, reactivating users, refreshing user details, and preventing fraud.

Here are five tips for better phone number verification to help ensure that your users are who they claim to be.

1. Educate your Users:
The most important part of the verification process is user education. When implementing phone number verification, users should know what to expect during the process and why you’re doing it. Some things your users should be aware of is that there are specific numbers they should be using. Make sure they are entering phone numbers in an international format, and inform users that they will receive an SMS or perhaps a voice call for verification.

In some cases, users might not realize they are out of cellular reach and could miss important SMS messages. Make sure your users are aware they’ll be receiving a voice call for verification, either by mobile or on a landline, so they will be more likely to answer it.

2. Clean UX (User Experience) Design:
A clean UX is not only good for user interaction, it can mean better user acquisition as well. Do not complicate the flow by building in retries – sending multiple messages does not necessarily lead to better acquisition rates.

Users are generally impatient and mobile networks have inherent latencies . While an SMS or voice call is routed to the user, they will likely engage in other actions. A clean user interface will minimize distractions to keep users focused on the verification process.

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3. Standardize User Data:
Clean phone numbers of any extraneous characters (such as parentheses, commas, plus or minus symbols, etc.) that users may enter. Identify if a user has entered too few or too many digits and do not allow any special characters to be entered.

4. Don’t Over-optimise:
Shorter codes work best in verification, 6-digit codes are generally sufficient. Try to avoid long and complex codes to reduce the risk of misentered data, or frustrating genuine users. . Code security should be managed by a combination of external factors such as code expiry or IP geolocation.

5. Understand Your User Base:
Where do your users originate? What are your typical conversion rates? Spot patterns to help you identify spammers or scams, like a user trying to verify several times with a virtual number. See a sudden spike in failed registrations from a particular region? Knowing what your typical registration and conversion data norms can help you when you spike or drop in numbers–either may be an issue to investigate.
Customers have seen an increase of up to 94% conversion rate by using our new Verify API. Read how due to an increased conversion rate, Social Zone has improved user experience to boost brand image.