Airbnb ID verification is a critical step in joining the platform and it is also a useful tool that helps Airbnb to combat fraud, identity theft, safety issues, and more. Here is a brief explanation of how Airbnb ID verification currently works and how the company plans to use ID verification to improve the platform for both guests and hosts.
Airbnb requires all guests and hosts to undergo verification before they are permitted to book or list a property or experience. In essence, it is Airbnb’s way of helping to maintain the security of the community while also fighting against fraud.
Airbnb ID verification isn’t only linked to account creation. In fact, you might be asked to provide identification on the platform for any of these other reasons:
Firstly, the Airbnb verify ID process to facilitate the use of the Airbnb platform. Identification documents are never shared with third-parties.
When a user is required to provide an Airbnb, they’ll be asked to complete the following steps:
In some instances, users may also be asked to take a new photo of themselves in addition to the profile photo so that Airbnb can check it against the user’s ID.
To add an ID for Airbnb ID verification, users can either:
Airbnb is responsible for managing the ID verification process so even if the host requests the ID in order to approve a booking, the photo of the guest’s ID or a new photo of the guest will never be shared with the host.
Instead, if a host wants to verify a guest’s ID, the host is provided with the data from these documents. The data they will be sent includes the guest’s name, whether the guest is older or younger than 25 years of age, whether the guest has successfully added an ID, and, finally, a profile photo and profile name.
Why does Airbnb verify ID and is it something that benefits all the stakeholders? For guests, the Airbnb ID verification process ensures that hosts are who they say they are. Given the risks that come along with renting properties without viewing them in-person, Airbnb verifies hosts’ IDs as a means of establishing trust.
The verification process also helps to ensure that Airbnb and guests have someone who they can hold responsible in the event that a problem arises with a booking.
In the same way that the “Airbnb verify ID” process benefits guests, it also helps hosts. For hosts and Airbnb, ID verification helps to prevent fraud. Since Airbnb hosts rely on Airbnb to process and collect the payments from guests for bookings and experiences on their behalf, ID verification helps to ensure that all payments made via the platform are actually valid transactions.
Where permitted by law, Airbnb can also use the information provided by an ID to run background checks on guests and hosts in order to uncover criminal convictions, as well as, sex offender registrations. Currently, the background checks are limited to users in the United States.
Across the globe, all hosts and guests are screened against regulatory, sections, and terrorist watch lists. Airbnb may pass along information to banks, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies to facilitate investigations that require the involvement of Airbnb. These investigations may involve tax, money laundering, sanctions laws, and criminal investigations.
Despite these measures, Airbnb still has to deal with fraudulent listings. With the advent of Airbnb Plus, Airbnb is seeking to improve its ID verification system by making it harder for hosts to create fraudulent profiles and listings on the platform. The new service will require representatives from Airbnb to visit all listed properties in person, which helps to eliminate fake hosts that put guests at risk.
As the program rolls out, it is also likely that Airbnb will require other verification methods from each host. Some ideas may include having the host prove compliance with local short-term rental statues.
Airbnb is also using machine learning as a part of its ID verification processes in order to identify potential problems before they arise. For example, Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy, Chris Lehane, has confirmed that Airbnb will increasingly be able to flag bookings before an incident occurs.
“This is an elementary example but I think it makes the point: a 21-year-old renting a 21-room house half a mile from his house on New Year’s Eve. That would flag and we would go to the host [with that information],” said Lehane in an interview with Business Insider Australia.
Overall, Airbnb ID verification plays a crucial role in helping Airbnb provide better service for both hosts and guests. And it is quite important to stay up to date on what’s new with the policy for all stakeholders.