How do you trust a stranger online?

by David Pope

HooYu is an online identity confirmation service to make it easier to build confidence and trust for today’s digital world.  Here’s our latest blog with insight from research we commissioned to understand how identity checks can increase trust between strangers for online transactions.  

In the HooYu Trust & Identity in the Sharing Economy Report we found that whilst sites like Airbnb are already big business, sharing, swapping and renting property assets and expertise between strangers was not yet a mainstream activity. In fact less than 13% of people have used sites like Airbnb to rent a holiday property, less than 5% of people have used car sharing or ride sharing sites and less than 4% of people have used peer-to-peer platforms to lend and share assets.

So why are we all not yet sharing and swapping our way in the sharing economy?  One of the issues that is consistently cited by people and by the companies that run sharing economy sites is that of trust.

The research strongly shows that the majority of people (61%) will not participate unless they have assurance around the identity of the person they are transacting with, and that the level of identity trust required varies according to the kind of sharing economy transaction.

What would happen to user trust and confidence if the user was told that the sharing economy site did an identity check on participants on its site? Our survey respondents were asked if they were more likely to carry out a transaction with a stranger online if the site they were using performed an ID check on the other party in the transaction. The majority (56%) of US and UK respondents stated that they would be more likely to participate.

So far, so good…identity checking gives people confidence to conduct digital transactions with a stranger online.  But there’s still room for improvement…

But what would happen to trust and confidence if the ID check was a peer-to-peer process where both parties received the results of the identity verification? Respondents were asked if they would be more likely to transact if they were sent by email an in-depth identity verification report with confirmed identity information and a picture of the person they are dealing with.  The answer was that people are four times more likely to transact if they receive an in-depth ID check report than if merely told by the site they are using that the other person’s identity has been checked. 

So if you’re not ready to trust, or if you want more trust and confidence than the site you are using offers…then HooYu helps you establish who you’re dealing with and build trust with them. 

Get started by doing a free HooYu on yourself by registering today


David Pope

Marketing Director