To follow-on from our previous blog post where we examined how NOT to create trust on sharing economy sites, this blog post examines research data that shows how identity checking DOES builds confidence and trust.

In the HooYu Trust & Identity in the Sharing Economy Report we found that identity & trust are the biggest barrier to participation in the sharing economy. Whilst sites like Airbnb are already big business, in fact less than 13% of people have used sites like Airbnb to rent a holiday property, less than 5% of people use car sharing or ride sharing sites and less than 4% of people have used peer-to-peer platforms to lend and share other assets.

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 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 their other person’s identity has been checked.

The takeaway from this research is that sharing economy sites should offer a choice of identity checking mechanism to increase trust in their community. Some sharers (8%) are happy to share with no ID checking needed.  But most users (61%) want identity checks to increase trust and confidence before they transact.

If the goal is to mainstream the sharing economy and really grow participation, then sharing economy sites can attract more participants by offering an in-depth identity confirmation service like HooYu.