Mitek's New Partnership Quickens Credit Score Establishment for Immigrants - Identity Review - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

Immigrants can now establish a U.S. credit score in minutes using their country of origin financial history. This new technology is an outcome of the partnership between Mitek, an identity verification software solutions company, and Nova Credit, a cross-border consumer credit reporting startup.

“We’re also really excited to be partnered with Nova Credit. Not only is the use case something that feels good for us, because our vision is grounded on enabling secure connection—what we call ‘trust and convenience’ through digital channels—but it’s also a use case that is really topical right now in the global economy,” said Mitek Vice President Cindy White. “I’m inspired by Nova Credit’s solution and thrilled that Mitek can help newcomers more easily verify their identity so that they can establish credit to open accounts, ensuring trust and convenience for all.”

The Increasingly Unfair Treatment of the Growing Immigrant Population

Because of the growing immigrant population in the United States, there is also a growing “credit invisible” population, which in turn means that there is increased inequality. 

Recent data released by the Pew Research Center shows that non-U.S. born residents make up almost 14 percent of America’s current population, while there are almost 15 million temporary or permanent legal residents currently in the country. These individuals are overrepresented amongst the “credit invisible” population, and face an uphill battle to access products and services in the U.S. despite often having a well-established financial history in their previous country of residence.

Moving to an unfamiliar country, immigrants already face a plethora of problems ranging from language barriers to prejudice. Without credit, these issues are amplified. Housing, banking accessibility and employment are just a few examples of the numerous services a credit score is essential for. In many cases, no credit score means that one cannot get a basic cell phone plan without putting down hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, the process of building a score takes a minimum of six months, and generating a good score takes even longer to do so.

As put by White, “When you come to the United States, you literally are at ground zero. It’s like being an adolescent all over again where you have to build up a history and a credit history. And so what that means is that immigrants who are applying for services are often denied. And they can be perfectly reliable, they can be a phenomenal consumer or customer to that institution, but they just don’t have any credit history, meaning that they’re going to get flagged as a risk.”

Nova Credit partners with leading credit bureaus and data partners around the world to deliver international credit and bank transaction data to lenders in the United States, translating this data into a U.S.-equivalent credit score. Through the additional integration of Mitek’s Mobile Verify identity verification technology, Nova Credit now also complies with the current U.S. Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure. This means that lenders can now easily and reliably prevent fraud by asking users to submit a picture of their government-issued ID and a selfie.

The Implications of this Technology

As technology evolves throughout the future, there will continue to be a trend toward identity becoming virtual. While this likely also means that there will be more accessibility and equality in the world at large, there is a darker side as well. When there is money to be made, will user privacy continue to be a priority? What measures are in place to prevent the misuse of user data? 

While these questions are still unanswered at large, Mitek promises users that it will destroy any biometric data where no fraud has been detected within “approximately 90 days.”


Sarah Raza is a Tech Innovation Fellow with a background in computer science from Stanford. She is passionate about exploring the implications of increased usage of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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