January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Equifax Authenticates Online Shoppers

Leading credit-reporting agency Equifax plans to authenticate online shoppers through quizzes based on their credit reports and other nonfinancial information. The company says the process will eliminate manual authentication methods, including the need for customers to enter an authentication code that arrives by mail. One of Atlanta-based Equifax's first customers for the service will be CheckFree, also based in Atlanta, which has signed a multi-year deal to verify the identities of its online bill payment customers.

The Equifax authentication engine requests both financial and nonfinancial information that is known only to the consumer via an enrollment form. The information is encrypted and sent to Equifax, where it is combined with consumer data from Equifax and other information sources to create a multiple-choice questionnaire. Consumers must answer correctly to verify their identities, the company says.

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