A recent report released by HooYu, a London-based global identity verification platform, suggests that sharing economy businesses are being hurt by consumers trust issues. The report, Trust & Identity in the Sharing Economy, says 61% of consumers surveyed said they were uncertain about, or would not consider, sharing with another person without being able to verify their identification first.

The survey, which was administered by online market research company Atomik Research, surveyed 2000 consumers (1000 each from the US and the UK). It also found that US consumers were four times more likely to use an online shared economy marketplace than their UK counterparts. “We found this to come as a result of a wider adoption of sharing economies in the US,” said David Pope, HooYu marketing director. “This came as a function of two things, the first being the sheer amount of sharing economy businesses present in the US. The second is a function of time [as] most sharing economies have been established longer in the US [than in the UK].”


Overall, consumers were least likely to rent out a room in a house, rent a room in someone else’s house, or rent out a personal item to someone without verification of their identity. Nearly 70% of participants said they would be unwilling or uncertain to participate in these scenarios.

The report suggest that in-depth proof sent to the user via email is more effective than written confirmation of identity verification coming from the website in ameliorating these fears, with 79% preferring the former to the latter. “There are two ways to implement this. The first is to give the tools to the platform to create trust, while the second is to create peer-to-peer trust,” added Mr Pope.

HooYu is trying achieve the latter. Its service – which sends emails containing proof of identity to the two participants, using a biometric system to confirm that a selfie one user took matches up with a government-issued identification document – is the best way to do this. HooYu believes it is putting a once-complex technology into the hands of everyday people, said Mr Pope.