Airbnb has added an additional layer of protection for platform users. Airbnb ID verification is created to help both hosts and guests feel more secure. It allows everyone involved in an Airbnb transaction to feel confident they are dealing with a real human being. Verification is a critical step for joining the platform and serves as a useful tool to prevent theft and fraud and to make the overall experience safer for everyone.
What is Airbnb ID Verification?
To become a host or to book a property, Airbnb now requires all platform users to undergo ID verification. Airbnb considers this a way to maintain security and fight fraud.
Additionally, users who are already active on the Airbnb platform could now be asked to provide identifying information when booking a property or experience or users might be periodically asked for additional verification at any time once they are active. Those 18 and under are not permitted to join the platform so Airbnb will also be using ID to verify users’ ages.
Airbnb ID Verification works like this:
When you initially sign up to use the Airbnb platform, you are asked to provide a few important identifying pieces of information. These include:
- A recent photo
- A government-issued photo ID. This can include your drivers’ license, passport, national ID, or visa.
Some users are asked to provide a new photo that Airbnb compares against the government-ID photo. To add a photo, you can either upload a previously used picture of your ID, take a new photo with your cell phone camera, or take a new photo of your ID with your tablet or computer webcam.
Guests’ photos are not shared with hosts and are fully managed by Airbnb. This is true even if hosts require ID for approving a booking. If hosts need ID to verify a booking, they receive data from the documents that include a guest’s name, whether or not they’ve added an ID, and whether or not they are over or under 25 years of age. They are also given a profile name and photo but not the ID verification photo submitted to Airbnb by the guest.
How Does Airbnb ID Verification Benefit Host and Guests?
According to Airbnb, ID verification benefits all users of the platform and this does seem to be the case.
When it comes to booking a property, Airbnb verification ensures that the host is who they say they are. As a guest, this establishes trust and allows you to relax a bit because a host’s true identity is known by you and Airbnb. Obviously, when you know personal information about someone, they are less likely to try to scam you or disappoint you because you can hold them personally responsible for their actions if a problem arises.
If you’re a host, the verification process helps you by reducing the risk of fraud. Hosts rely on the platform to collect and process payments from guests so ID verification means that all payments are valid. Fraud prevention is one of the specific benefits Airbnb lists regarding its ID verification process for its hosts.
Airbnb also uses the information provided to run background checks in areas where legally permitted (currently in just the United States). This means you know about any issues with criminal convictions, including sex offenses, before booking or hosting for a particular guest.
Globally, guests and hosts undergo screenings to identify whether they are on any terrorist watch lists or if they are facing any regulatory sanctions. Airbnb passes information it uncovers along to financial institutions and law enforcement when platform users are found to violate of the law. In most cases, the platform is providing information regarding money laundering, tax issues, sanctions laws, and other criminal investigations when necessary.
Increased Security Requirements to Come from Airbnb ID Verification
ID verification is not the only security improvement expected to be implemented by Airbnb in the near future. Despite what the company has done so far, there are still ongoing problems with fraud.
The implementation of Airbnb Plus is an effort to reduce fraud even further. The updates improve the ID verification system and make it more difficult for people to create fake profiles and listings on the platform. For properties listed on Airbnb, a representative from the company visits the listing to ensure it is exactly as listed.
The platform is expected to require additional verification from hosts on Airbnb Plus, potentially including proof that they comply with the statutes in their local area for short-term rentals.
Airbnb has also implemented machine learning as part of its ID verification process. These AI features are expected to be efficient at identifying problems before they become an issue for hosts or guests. The system flags bookings if certain criteria are triggered so users can deal with the issue before it’s a serious problem. For example, a young user booking a large property on a holiday weekend would raise a flag that a host is free to address in advance of the stay.
Airbnb ID Verification Looking to the Future with Improvements
The goal of the improvements Airbnb is making is to help the company provide better service for users from both sides of the booking equation. This not only helps people feel more confident using the platform but it also benefits the company overall and allows for growth. The more security procedures it can implement, the better people will feel about using the app. It has real-world implications, too, because ID verification has cut down on fraud and problems with bookings.
Both hosts and guests take a risk when short-term rentals are booked with Airbnb. But with solid effort from the platform, it will be easier than ever to operate an Airbnb business with confidence and to utilize the platform for affordable and reliable accommodations when traveling.