Update from the Hill: Progress on electronic identity verification by the SSA

by Ken Meiser

Ken Meiser

I have two important updates from the Hill regarding progress on the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. In my previous posts, I discussed a provision in the Act that directs the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide a service that allows financial institutions to verify consumer information electronically. I’m pleased to report that there is movement toward making this mandated service a reality.

On June 7, the SSA released notice of the enrollment period (opening on July 17, 2019 and closing on July 31, 2019) for a pilot program for the electronic Consent Based Social Security Number (SSN) Verification (eCBSV) service. The service will be rolled out to a limited number of permitted users in June 2020, and the SSA plans on expanding the number of users within six months of the initial rollout.

While the cost for this service is still unknown, a congressional mandate requires the SSA to collect 50 percent of the program startup costs prior to developing the eCBSV system. Users of the system must pay an initial administrative fee and an annual tier-based transaction charge (these fees are subject to change and based on the number of permitted entities using the service). Full details regarding how the SSA is planning to implement the service, including enrollment information and the proposed fee structure, are available on the Federal Register. ID Analytics intends to apply for participation in the pilot in order to enable speedy access for our customers.

My second update relates to the question of whether this service will be available to non-bank entities. Additional guidance came out from the White House that talks about directing agencies that are authoritative sources of data (e.g., SSN) to make attributes available for public and private sector entities to verify identities based on consumer consent. This Office of Management and Budget memorandum is the guidance people have been waiting for. It recognizes the key principles and importance of the role government plays in consumer participatory consent.

For example, this might facilitate the DMV’s ability  to support consumer authorized identity verification or allow a federal employee or a military employee to have an authorized agency validate their identity based on the high level of scrutiny they have already undergone with identity verification as a part of their hiring process.

We are waiting for confirmation from the SSA regarding extension of eCBSV to users outside of the financial community. Moving forward, our compliance team will continue to advocate, in conjunction with the Better Identity Coalition, for the availability of the service to industries that conduct consumer transactions outside of chartered financial institutions and do what we can to progress the work that is already being done. The rollout of these services is extremely important in the fight against synthetic identity fraud and identity theft. ID Analytics is looking forward to incorporating these authoritative sources into our ID Network®, one of the nation’s largest networks of cross-industry consumer behavioral data, to help protect our clients and their customers from fraud.

If you have any questions about the recent progress of the implementation of this Act, please contact me. For monthly updates, sign up for our newsletter below.


Ken Meiser is Chief Compliance Officer at ID Analytics