Digital ID Verification Trends by Mary Ann Miller from Prove
A visual representation of Prove's Digital ID Verification solutions, endorsed by expert Mary Ann Miller.

Identification and Authentication in an Ever More Digital World with Mary Ann Miller of Prove

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

Welcome to an insightful episode of PayPod. We invent the world of Digital ID Verification, featuring Mary Ann Miller and Prove, that is reshaping the landscape of online security and authentication. As the digital domain expands, the necessity for robust verification processes becomes paramount, particularly in sectors like banking, fintech, and the burgeoning world of cryptocurrencies. We unpack the unique challenges these industries face and how Prove’s innovative solutions are setting new standards for secure, seamless user experiences. This discussion is crucial for understanding the pivotal role of Digital ID Verification in today’s fast-evolving technological environment.

Lessons You’ll Learn:

This episode is a treasure trove of knowledge about the critical importance of Digital ID Verification across various sectors. You’ll learn about the specific challenges and verification needs within banking, where security is paramount, and the dynamic world of crypto, where verification standards are continuously evolving. Discover how Prove’s cutting-edge technology, including their passwordless solution Prove Auth, is revolutionizing the way businesses and consumers approach security, offering enhanced protection without sacrificing convenience. This episode is a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone keen to understand the intricacies of Digital ID Verification and its impact on our digital lives.

About Our Guest:

Mary Ann Miller, a luminary in the field of Digital ID Verification, brings her vast expertise to our podcast, sharing her insights on the integral role of advanced verification solutions in today’s digital age. At Prove, she oversees the development of groundbreaking technologies that are redefining how we understand security and identity verification. Her extensive experience provides a unique perspective on the evolution of Digital ID Verification technologies and their critical importance in safeguarding digital interactions, making her contributions invaluable to our discussion on the future of secure digital identities.

Topics Covered:

This episode covers a broad spectrum of topics related to Digital ID Verification, offering listeners a comprehensive overview of the field. We delve into industry-specific discussions, highlighting the unique verification needs and challenges within sectors such as banking, fintech, and cryptocurrency, and how Prove’s technologies offer tailored solutions. The conversation extends to innovative product-specific insights, particularly the shift towards passwordless authentication and the public’s reception of biometric solutions like face ID. Additionally, we explore the strategic importance of data in enhancing verification processes and predict future trends, including the role of Digital ID Verification in virtual worlds and the implications for personal and corporate security.

Our Guest: Mary Ann Miller- Demystifying Digital ID Verification

Mary Ann Miller is a prominent figure in the realm of digital identity and fraud prevention, currently serving as the Vice President of Client Experience at Prove. Her extensive career is marked by a deep commitment to enhancing security measures in the financial and technological sectors. With a background that combines expertise in cybersecurity, fintech, and digital innovation, Miller has become a trusted voice in the industry, advocating for advanced solutions in identity verification to combat the rising challenges of digital fraud. Her work at Prove is at the forefront of this mission, where she leverages cutting-edge technology to ensure secure and seamless user experiences across various platforms.

Miller’s journey in the tech world is distinguished by her strategic leadership and her ability to drive forward innovative solutions that respond to the evolving needs of the digital age. Her insights into the complexities of identity verification are shaped by years of hands-on experience and a forward-thinking approach to technological advancements. At Prove, she has been instrumental in developing and refining verification solutions that are not only robust but also user-centric, ensuring that security protocols advance without compromising user convenience. Her vision extends beyond immediate technological solutions, encompassing a broader perspective on how digital identity verification can foster safer online environments and empower individuals and businesses alike.

Her influence extends through her thought leadership, often sharing her knowledge and perspectives at industry conferences, in media interviews, and through collaboration with other tech leaders. Miller’s expertise is not just technical but also deeply rooted in understanding market trends, consumer behavior, and regulatory landscapes, which positions her uniquely to address the multifaceted challenges of digital ID verification. Her approach is holistic, considering not just the technological aspects, but also the human and societal implications of digital identity technologies. This comprehensive understanding is crucial in crafting solutions that are not only effective but also equitable, ensuring that digital advancements lead to more secure, inclusive, and trustworthy digital interactions for all users.

Episode Transcript

Mary Ann Miller: Do you score it? Do you provide a probability? Do you provide exhaust data that gives you reason codes? Do you provide what’s the quality of that data? What’s the reliability of that data? Can you get that data in real-time? Very critical today. So I think that more data is not always better, but the right data at the right time is what the way I like to look at it.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Welcome to PayPod, the Payments Industry Podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you in-depth conversations with leaders who are shaping the payments and fintech world, from payment processing to risk management, and from new technology to entirely new payment types. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of fintech and payments, you’re in the right place. Hello, everyone, welcome to PayPod. I’m your host, Jacob Hollabaugh, and today on the show, we are diving into the topic of identity and verification, security, and proof of ID have been staples of the financial world throughout the entire history of financial systems. So throughout history essentially. But in today’s ever more digital world, offering even more access points, digital use cases for our money, for our data, the idea of being able to prove who you are and doing so in a way that isn’t a complete turn-off to the consumer, has never been more paramount. So today, we’re going to talk about why it’s so important and how the industry around verification and security can continue to evolve and improve. I’m pleased to be joined for this conversation by Mary Ann Miller, VP of Client Experience at Prove, the company offering a modern way of proving identity. Mary, welcome to the show. Excited to have you here.

Mary Ann Miller: Jacob, it’s just great to join you and your audience, and I look forward to our discussion on my favorite topic.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yes, and as I was telling you before we got on here, it is one of my favorite topics, I like all the topics within the payments and fintech world, everything we cover here but having had a brief dalliance with a cybersecurity podcast in the past, I like kind of getting into the world of security and verification, everything that goes with it. Let’s dive straight into some background on Prove before we kind of talk a little more about industry-wide types of things. So walk us through who is Prove, what’s the service offering and who do you typically work with? Where do you typically work?

Mary Ann Miller: So, Jacob, one of the reasons I’m at Prove is because of the fact that I was a practitioner and I used the actual product to solve a problem that I saw was very important in the industry. And the way I like to think about Prove is sometimes, especially with your background and cyber and covering the security world you’ve got your cyber and your security products over here and then maybe your customer experience products over here. What Prove does is bring the best of both of those worlds together. Strength of security, customer confidence, and customer experience don’t need to be mutually exclusive. So we use the mobile networks, we use confirming the possession of the phone, confirming the reputation of that phone. You know, in the ecosystem, is there a risky line type? Do we see something about this phone number that really proves a red flag and then the identity associated with that phone to really start to answer some critical questions during an identity-checking process? So whether that’s onboarding or moving money or signing up for a new social media app, signing up for crypto,  signing up for a new gaming site, whatever, wherever you’ve got a customer or even a citizen signing up for your services or your product, it’s really important that Prove is in that flow. To really answer that key question “Is Mary Ann Miller presenting Mary Ann Miller’s information in the flow?”

Jacob Hollabaugh: Absolutely, and you touched on potentially a little bit of it there. But with so many arenas within the fintech world, within the wider tech world, a lot of them are very crowded. Verification is certainly one of those that is quite a crowded industry at this point because it is such a huge need across the board and industries, and there are a lot of people trying to innovate and find ways to do the job the best. How does Prove differentiate itself in such a crowded field? Is it that bringing the two worlds together, is the main big differentiator that you referenced, or is there more to it?

Mary Ann Miller: Well, that’s one differentiator. The other differentiator is the fact that we can do this in real-time and that we can do this seamlessly. So if you think about it, there’s room for every, I guess, type of identity product out there, but some of those identity products require you to scan your driver’s license or passport. They require you to take a selfie. They might require you to do other steps. With Prove, we can do these checks in a way that’s very in the background. It doesn’t cause the customer any inconvenience. And it actually provides really critical information about identity in the background. So that’s what I call what would you know? That’s a dream. You know, it’s a dream for me as a customer or, if I’m applying for any kind of services to be able to have checks done where it doesn’t inconvenience me but still has strong security.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah. Let’s talk about a couple kind of specific industries, especially within the financial world, and what their top needs or use cases are. I think, anyone listening from a consumer standpoint has obviously done a plethora of different ID verifications and probably interacted with many of the different versions on different platforms and everything. Let’s start with the banking world, where is the biggest need? Is it just the login to an all-digital banking app, or anything like that, where are the biggest needs within banking for verification and ID services, and are there any specific challenges to the world of banking?

Mary Ann Miller: Yes, the challenges are really out there, Jacob. So let me describe what those challenges are. So if you think about it, it was a very interesting report that just came out from FinCEN. And what FinCEN did was look at the 2021 suspicious activity reports that are submitted by banks and I won’t go into the whole analysis. But what I can say is the tagline or the summary is that out of the 3.8 million SARs that were filed in 2021, 42% of those were fraud. And out of that 42%, there were identity irregularities in all of those. So we’re looking at the fact that there was identity theft. So what’s really the issue is certainly it’s an important part of the process to confirm Mary Ann’s name, social date of birth, and address. And we call that in the industry entity resolution. And that’s an important part to understand that that’s a real-life person and that data goes together and it belongs to Mary Ann. But with all the data breaches, we know that bad actors have my information. They absolutely have it. So the question banks have to ask themselves or any real fintech or any kind of organization is, once I understand that information belongs to Mary Ann, what signals, what important steps do I need to take to understand that Mary Ann’s presenting her own information? That’s where the challenges lie today. And we’re seeing that that’s breaking down across the industry. We’re seeing, we just saw in the news and I’ll just mention this because it was on major news, NBC news last week where Cash app has certainly an issue where we have federal regulators really looking into what’s going on around identity and really looking at whether effective due diligence was done and that there was effectiveness in the identity proving process. And really, when that news hit the wires, it wasn’t a surprise to a lot of us in the fraud world. You know, we really understand when someone hasn’t updated their modern digital identity processes, it shows up in the ecosystem and so that’s really where we’re at from a challenge standpoint and that’s affecting banks, it’s affecting fintech, it’s affecting every type of process that digitally occurs.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, absolutely. And as I kind of referenced in the intro, there are just so many more access points, like every day there’s a new app doing something that is super helpful, but there’s yet another spot where my bank accounts or my finances or all of my most important data is tied to this new app or this new service. And inevitably, the odds are some of the ones that get bigger and bigger, aren’t necessarily employing the greatest tactics. And the more of them there are the more little ones are going to pop up of like, oh, this big company had a big problem because they didn’t put this first and make this a real part of their plan. And they got too big, too fast, and became a big threat and a big target. And they didn’t have the proper tools in place to work against that.

Mary Ann Miller: Jacob, I love your point there. And I call it, you say when there’s a new app or some new service out there and I call it with the digital doors open. So when those digital doors open and if there’s like, what I call a no holds barred approach to identity, when you open your digital doors as a business, then you know who arrives first, it’s a criminal. It’s not the customers, it’s not someone that’s attracted to your new service, to your app. They show up first and you can mistake. The popularity of that new ad that you just put out on Facebook or the new ads you just put out there as being like customers coming to your door when it’s actually the criminals. And that’s why it’s really important that identity is taken seriously from the beginning.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Yeah, I love the idea of digital doors. That’s a really good and easy way to help folks that aren’t embedded in it, understand it, a lot better. You referenced the world of crypto earlier, which I’d love to ask about because I imagine it’s a little bit more of a wild West still three, all Web3, developing worlds of a lot of different tech being employed. And so a lot of different ways potentially, or maybe different infrastructure on your end that goes into applying similar types of services and practices to these new worlds. I’ll maybe ask about some other Web3 items in a little bit, but in crypto specifically, where are we at in getting ID and verification on a good level in the world of crypto? Are there new challenges presented because it’s running on different new types of technology, or is it actually potentially easier in some ways because of the types of technology they’re employing? What’s the status of the crypto world as far as verification goes these days?

Mary Ann Miller: Well, Jacob, that’s a very important question. And I would say that there are challenges. So part of it is, we talk about the digital doors opening, a few years ago with crypto in popularity. So fraud follows speed, and fraud follows popularity. You know, in the crypto world, in the beginning, people were a little more anonymous around moving into the crypto ecosystem. So what we do know is, unfortunately, the crypto rails are being used for scams. So we know that there’s the romance scams. We know that these scams take the form of, oh, here you want to make a crypto investment. How do I say it? They really leverage the reputation of crypto success and make money off of crypto. So what that happens though is that’s the ecosystem because you have when you conduct those kinds of scams. And then that moves into you have to have an account to cash out with. you have to conduct identity proving or identity checks to make sure that the money’s not moving from a bad crypto account to a bad bank account. So I would say, while things have changed in the last couple of years with crypto and the crypto companies, I think, there’s some more attention around getting that identity better. I think that there’s still not enough. I look for potential further regulation to come in this field and that may include, and regulation may include some comments about getting an identity.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Absolutely. And it’s also to one of your points earlier, when you open those digital doors, the first people to show up are the criminals before the customers. Sometimes because it’s the easiest point for them. You know what they’re looking for the newest places to go in. There’s less understanding, there’s less infrastructure in place. And so it is also a part of just a brand new industry. And this brand new world of, yeah, the first people that are going to come or they’re going to jump at the popularity and the big boom is right in with them. And you kind of got to get through that first big wave, we might get popular, but who is actually driving that popularity and what are we? How quickly can we learn to put up the right guardrails and defend against all of these things? So, yeah, it’s a very fascinating world, keeping an eye on all the different ways that it is evolving. Now I want to ask about one specific tool in your suite of services at Prove, in hopes of then getting to kind of a secondary question that comes off it. But you’ve got this full suite of different tools to offer depending on what the industry company needs. One of them is Prove Auth, which allows you to go to password lists. And as we get into these new worlds and new ways to identify most the most common thing most of us as consumers are used to is we’ve been using passwords forever. But in the digital realm, basically, the entire digital revolution has been based around, like you have a username and a password. That is the most common thing. So when you go passwordless, how does that work? And kind of what are the basic first things that you might be using in lieu of a password?

Mary Ann Miller: Yeah. So I love this question, Jacob. You’re really looking at it. I talk to authentication experts a lot, and there seem to be some circles when you talk about identity and authentication, for me those are two different things. They work together but they’re two different things. So what happens with Prove Auth and the strength of Prove Auth is binding that verified identity to an authentication process. Now I tell people that people authenticate. People are bad actors all day long because they already opened up the account under Mary Ann’s name. And sure, I can authenticate as a bad actor to that account with a different identity on it all day long. And sure, I’m going to authenticate, but what Prove does is by combining our strong digital identity signals with our solutions to an actual passwordless infrastructure where you have a key. So once you are able to pass that identity piece and then you can have a strong binding to that phone, you have a strong binding to that identity, then that could be used in an omnichannel situation. It can be used on your mobile across different experiences. So that’s where I like the strength of it. It’s it’s combining your identity proving, and verification with your authentication processes. And so that you can have a really good assurance that or high level of assurance that Mary Ann’s actually authenticating with her own information in that on that account. But she’s also authenticating to that account.

Jacob Hollabaugh: And the one portion of this, I have been very interested in asking you about is one of the many different methods then for the ID like a face ID and different biometrics, but the face ID is kind of the one that I’m most curious about, where consumer sentiment kind of is these days, because you’ve referenced multiple times here. The main part of the game is that half of it is the company being able to do all of these things for their sake, but then the other half is doing it in a way that is mostly as frictionless as possible for the consumer to not drive them away from whatever it is they’re trying to get into by being “This is so cumbersome, this is so difficult. I’m done. I don’t even want to do it.” And Face ID is a very quick and easy way. But I know in the earliest days of iPhones being able to you can unlock your iPhone with face ID there was a bit of consumer backlash of like, “I don’t know if I like this.” I say that as someone who personally still does not use Face ID to unlock my phone all these years later. I don’t know how long they’ve been offering that, but it’s been a while and I’m still one of the weird holdouts. I don’t know if I’m in the super minority at this point. That’s like, I don’t want to use my face for that feels weird. Where is the consumer sentiment around face ID as well as other different like biometrics or just other non-password options for proving who they are, proving their identity?

Mary Ann Miller: Yeah, I love this question. So I’m the opposite of you, Jacob. I’m always asking the question why can’t I use face ID here? You know I love Face ID. Now given that I don’t know if you have read I follow the security circles. There was just some malware that was reported last week around malware that can be downloaded and actually captures the Face ID, steals the Face ID, So as we know, as we expand our solution service. So the attack surface follows that it’ll start to attack those different things. What I would say is though, it’s not so much about the Face ID being the true authenticator. It’s more authenticator. But what other processes are happening behind the scenes that strengthen and fortify the ability for the consumer and for the business to have confidence around that face ID, that’s really the question “What’s going on in the background? Are you checking the reputation, the possession of the phone, the trustworthiness, and the identity of the phone? Are you checking the device ID? Are you checking for anything that’s changed within the Face ID process? You know, are you setting your parameters correctly? So there are a lot of different moving parts around what we should be doing from a strength of security and also consumer convenience around that login experience, but fortifying and creating passwordless. It requires more security, not less. It is really probably, I guess, my biggest opinion on that.

Jacob Hollabaugh: I will also admit, I do know it’s one of those things too, I would be just like, once you give in, if it’s out there, then like, why not use it everywhere type thing? And I also sometimes feel silly about like, I don’t want to use a face ID, but I post hundreds and hundreds of episodes of podcasts, and hundreds of hours of me talking into a camera are available on the internet and everything. And like you could you could steal my face pretty easily. I’m sure the technology is there to be able to, unfortunately, start pulling that stuff. You don’t have to do a scan on the phone to be able to pull it. So I know that it is just all about the next wave of security to continually protect that and be able to work against that. Now, we’ve referenced data quite a few times during this conversation, and we’ve had a few folks on the show before talk about the world of verification and security, and we always kind of end up getting into talking about the data sets. And essentially a consensus that slowly has come up is the more and the better data you have to work off of, obviously the better some of your products can be. We’ve specifically talked to a lot of folks in the lending space around verification and approval of products and things, and so that’s where really having that really deep accurate data set comes into play. What’s the impact of just having the biggest and best data to work off of as a company like Prove and am I naive to think the industry does to some degree come down to a race to obtain the most complete and up-to-date data set on consumers to be able to then offer the most accurate and best products?

Mary Ann Miller: Yeah, this is a great question. So given that I know my history, I’ve worked with neural networks, I’ve worked with machine learning, I’ve worked with all kinds of solutions when it comes to identity fraud and authentication challenges and problems. And the data is critical to all of that. Not only the data but the outputs, what do you do with that data? So, I would say, do you score it? Do you provide a probability? Do you provide exhaust data that gives you reason codes? Do you know what’s the quality of that data? What’s the reliability of that data? Can you get that data in real-time? Very critical today. So I think that more data is not always better, but the right data at the right time is what is what the way I like to look at it.

Jacob Hollabaugh: I love that. The final topic I want to throw at you then and we kind of referenced it earlier, we talked about some crypto and I said I wanted to ask about some other Web3-related places, and I want to know kind of how you or maybe prove as they’re considering new arenas to be in and everything, how you think verification will work in virtual worlds or in places specifically where you know you can have multiple accounts in identities. I know, you know a lot of our social media sites, you can have multiple accounts and things like that, but it isn’t as the norm, certainly as it is in a place like Roblox, the biggest metaverse kind of platform that the under 20 are on there and in droves and way more daily active users than anything else. Millennials like me are using or even aren’t fully realizing how big some of these things are. But in a place like Roblox, you can have an avatar, the whole point is to kind of be able to have an avatar, have an identity that isn’t necessarily you, and potentially have as many of them as you want. So in a world of new virtual spaces, digital spaces where multiple accounts, multiple identities kind of be whoever you want, especially Apple Vision Pro came out a couple of weeks ago, probably has its own, its own new computing space, its own new world of potential identification. How important, in these new spaces, having these standards up front, having these kinds of products and security built-in beforehand and not after the fact? As we’ve kind of referenced a little with some others and just kind of figuring out as these become way more popular, what the standard should be, what the guidelines should be, what does this world look like with verification?

Mary Ann Miller: So in the virtual world, it depends on what you’re enabling in the virtual world. You know, some of these games and what are the consequences of maybe some of the gaming and what happens. And I think that while you might be able to have multiple avatars attached to one identity, that’s a possibility. You know, you can you can have a key that goes back to Mary Ann Miller. But she’s three different avatars out there in the gaming world, that way even though maybe you want to play the game in a seemingly anonymous way, there has to be the responsibility of the platform for safety and soundness, trust and safety and those things have to be connected. So I think that there’s some gaming that it’s only appropriate for a certain age group, for example, and so you’d want to understand that identity is associated with what person at what age. So I think, in fact, it might end up being a critical challenge for the virtual world. But I think both confidence and identity in the background and avatar gaming can be enabled at the same time.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Very interesting. Well, it’s definitely the space I have my eye on the most, just from how all of these things work. And I love to end with asking folks about it because in the financial world, the payments world, that is the general topic of this podcast it’s also crazy how a totally new environment, totally new world, and totally new virtual world that we’re all potentially going to be living in sooner rather than later. We shall see. Mary, this has been a real pleasure. For those listening, who may want to learn more about Prove, follow you, or get in touch with you, where would be the best place for them to go to learn more?

Mary Ann Miller: Oh, Jacob, that’d be great. You can reach me at You can also go to our website. that’s And please, reach out. I’d love to hear from any of the audience, and we’re happy to talk to you.

Jacob Hollabaugh: Awesome. We will link to those and more in the show notes below. This has been an absolute pleasure, Mary. Thank you so much for your time and knowledge today, and I hope to speak to you again sometime soon.

Mary Ann Miller: Great, Jacob. That would be fantastic.

Jacob Hollabaugh: If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, head on over to to subscribe on your podcast listening platform of choice. That’s