What Is Selfie ID Verification?

Selfie ID verification technology maps the facial features of an individual. To authenticate the individual, the technology compares the mapped facial features to stored facial biometric data. Each individual face has a large number of unique points. This is why identity verification leveraging selfie photos is an increasingly popular authentication method. 

An example of Selfie ID verification is Apple’s Face ID technology, which can scan and verify iPhone users. The technology projects and analyzes over 30,000 invisible dots, and then creates a depth map and infrared image of each face. It uses specialized hardware to transform the depth map and infrared image into a mathematical representation of facial characteristics, which is easy to store and process. 

In this article:

The Need for Face Verification

Face verification is a commonly used security method applied to a wide range of scenarios. Banks and government agencies, for example, use facial recognition to let authorized personnel access a physical facility. However, traditional facial recognition security required individuals to approach a physical location. 

Selfie ID verification is the online version of face recognition security. It is considered a highly secure ID verification method, used by government agencies and organizations looking to protect digital assets and environments. 

Here is a quick overview of several types of online verification methods and how each compares to selfie ID verification:

  • Knowledge-based security—i.e. passwords. This type of security relies on information that can be shared or stolen. When using strong passwords, the information is hard to remember.
  • Device-based security—i.e. mobile phones. This type of verification relies on devices that must be physically carried around, and can get stolen or lost.
  • Biometric identifiers—i.e. fingerprints and irises. These are not usually included in IDs like driver’s licenses and passports, which makes them less useful than photographs.
  • Face verification—i.e. ID verification. This method can be safely used to validate IDs online. It also enables individuals to assert that they are genuinely present during the facial scan and that the image has not been stolen.

As cyber crime grows and spreads, both in the amount of attacks and in the sophistication of the techniques used by threat actors, verification becomes increasingly important. Organizations and individuals need to protect against identity and financial theft. Selfie ID verification can help achieve this goal.

Related content: Read our guide to identity verification services 

Combating Biometric Fraud Through AI

Here are some common ways artificial intelligence (AI) can prevent identity fraud and biometric manipulation.

Liveness Detection

This type of detection technology enables biometric systems to determine whether the provided image of a face is authentic or not. Face verification solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can leverage liveness detection in order to verify the facial movements and physical presence of an online user. This technology can significantly reduce the likelihood of a successful facial spoof attack as well as the rate of false acceptance.

Micro-Expressions Analysis

Face verification solutions use AI algorithms to detect subtle micro-expressions in the faces of end-users. This technology enables companies to detect replay video attacks, deep fakes and other spoof attempts.  

3-D Depth Perception

This type of analysis enables face verification tools to effortlessly detect spoof attacks like fraudulent or photoshopped images and silicone face masks. To accomplish this, the technology uses a detailed analysis of the 3-D geometry of a user's face.   

Human Face Attributes Analysis

Face verification solutions can analyze the facial characteristics of each individual and then filter impostors accordingly. This technique involves verifying several attributes, including the shape of the lips, the distance between the eyes and the width or length of the forehead.  

AI Mapping Techniques

These techniques can detect 3-D masks, eye-cut photo attacks and other types of facial spoofs. AI mapping techniques accomplish this by using machine learning (ML) and AI models that map the faces of end-users as well as faces displayed on ID document photos, and then provide highly accurate verification. 

Related content: Read our guide to photo ID verification

Selfie ID Verification Pros and Cons

As with any technology, there are advantages and drawbacks to selfie ID verification.


Some notable advantages include:

  • Widespread use of smartphones—consumers increasingly use mobile devices to create accounts online and to access existing accounts and services. This is why face-based biometrics technology is increasingly replacing other methods of verification, like fingerprints, PINs and passwords. Over 1 billion smartphones are expected to have some form of face unlock technology in 2021.
  • Convenience—as more users unlock iPhone using Apple’s Face ID, the technology is paving the way for other face-based biometrics. This is because of the growing confidence and familiarity users are experiencing first-hand. A clear majority of global consumers have more confidence in the protection provided by physical biometrics and have less trust in passwords.
  • Speed—selfie-based authentication can help digitally verify user identity in a matter of seconds. The technology can leverage biometric-based 3D face maps to deliver a more reliable authentication experience than other methods like passwords, traditional knowledge-based authentication, and SMS-based two-factor authentication.


Here are three key aspects to consider when implementing verification by selfie:

  • Selfies for ‘single frame liveness’ are not secure—a verification solution should not rely on a single image to securely authenticate users online. Even selfies can be edited, stolen or fabricated.
  • Selfie anxiety can harm completion rates—consumers prefer the speed and convenience of face authentication when accessing services on mobile devices or computers. However, they might experience difficulties when seeing an image of themselves during an authentication or onboarding process. This kind of jarring experience can harm completion rates.
  • Selfie perfectionism can lower completion rates—some people do like seeing themselves but may suffer from perfectionism. Many consumers retake selfies several times before they are happy with the result. Selfie perfectionism can significantly slow down a face authentication process and prevent users from completing it entirely.

Selfie ID Verification with BlueCheck

BlueCheck’s industry leading identity verification infrastructure, supporting selfie ID verification, enables merchants to grow their business faster. Serving a wide variety of industries, our solutions are custom tailored to the unique needs of our customers, including PACT Act and eCommerce compliant offerings. 

Schedule a call with a BlueCheck specialist to learn more about our Age & ID Verification solutions. Ask about price savings when bundled with Payment Processing services.