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Nefe Emadamerho-Atori


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Active Liveness Checks vs Passive Liveness Checks

A major driving force for fraud is the anonymity the digital age provides. Fraudsters will use every means to stay anonymous while committing financial crimes. Some strategies they use to remain anonymous are deploying bots, spoofing attacks, and deep fakes.

Even as fraudsters come up with sophisticated ways to attack your business, there are fraud prevention solutions you can take advantage of to stay safe from the continuous threat of fraud that exists in this digital age. One such method is liveness checks.

What are Liveness Checks?

Liveness checks are an identity verification method that uses AI and ML algorithms to determine if the face behind the camera is an actual live user or an animated or AI-generated face.

The liveness detection software analyzes the biometric features of the person being verified, like their iris, pupil dilation, and skin texture, to know whether they are real. Some liveness checks also require users to perform actions like blinking, smiling, or turning their heads.

Liveness checks are an effective extra layer of security. Fraudsters will avoid targeting businesses that deploy liveness checks because these checks will require them to show their faces, taking away their anonymity. Liveness checks also discourage users from performing fraud in the future because you know who they are.

Types of Liveness Checks

There are three main types of liveness checks today: active, passive, and hybrid. 

Active Liveness Checks

With active checks, the user is heavily involved in the verification process. Besides turning their faces to the camera, they also have to follow on-screen instructions like smiling or holding an ID card with their hands to prove that they are real. 

Passive Liveness Checks

These checks are called “passive” because the only thing the user has to do during the verification process is turn their faces to the camera. The system scans the face and uses motion analysis and AI algorithms to confirm if the user is live. 

Hybrid Liveness Checks

 Hybrid checks are a combination of active and passive checks, and they provide the best of both worlds. You can use the individual checks or combine them to suit your unique customer onboarding and identity verification requirements.

Differences Between Active Liveness Checks and Passive Liveness Checks 

Customer Experience

The main difference between active and passive checks is how involved the user is in the process. With active checks, the user has to perform specific actions. However, passive checks work in the background and analyze an image or video to confirm the user’s liveness.

Passive checks streamline the verification process because they require no customer interaction, which helps reduce dropout rates and maximizes customer enrollment. As a result, it provides an overall positive customer experience.


Active checks are difficult to trick with pre-recorded videos due to the random instructions involved. On the other hand, passive checks are great because they can detect 3D masks and AI-generated images.

A security concern with active checks is that fraudsters can easily bypass them because they know the actions required. They can use the videos to create images and videos to match those actions and hopefully trick the system.


Passive checks come with little or no onboarding friction, while active checks introduce friction to the onboarding process due to the actions users have to complete. Instead of making users perform specific tasks as part of the verification process, passive checks only need a single-frame selfie image or a short video to perform biometric analysis and verify the user. 

By eliminating the need for user involvement, passive checks minimize the friction they experience. 


More steps mean a slower verification process. Some active checks can have as many as 3-5 instructions, making them extremely slow. Passive checks are faster than active checks because no actions are required from the user’s end.   


While the actions involved in active checks are not complex, if users make a mistake, they would have to start again, making the process slower and uncomfortable. There are no chances of errors with passive checks because there are no actions to perform.

Note that no liveness check is better than the other. They are both highly accurate and help detect and prevent fraud in different ways. The one you use should depend on your individual use case, your unique customer base, and your risk appetite. In some cases, some regulations specify which type of liveness check you should use.  

Securely Onboard and Verify Customers With Dojah

Dojah is the all-in-one identity verification, customer onboarding, and fraud detection platform that can help you meet all these needs in one go. Boost your digital security and provide an enhanced onboarding experience in one go with our liveness check solution. provides

Sign up to start leveraging this and our other KYC and identity verification offerings.

You can also contact us if you have any questions or schedule a demo sessionExplore our website and documentation to learn more about our product offerings.

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