Helping a Scooter-Share Company Get Around Safely

Industry:

Micromobility

Use Case:

Rider Verification

To roll with security, Spin relies on Berbix

The versatility of Berbix’s ID-verification system allows companies to tailor it to their security needs. For Spin, an app-based mobility solutions provider for cities, campuses, and businesses around the globe, that means using Berbix technology to get all kinds of people, including those with physical disabilities, safely checked in and rolling as fast as possible.

“We care about two things: Number one, how quickly we can get people through the ID verification process, and two, learning how many people were actually able to start their ride.” -Product Manager at Spin

Spin launched its electric scooter operation and the first station-less mobility program in the United States in 2018. Now serving more than 70 cities and campuses around the globe, the company aims to increase its business footprint while lowering its carbon footprint—it maintains a goal of becoming carbon-negative by 2025.

The San Francisco-based outfit, owned by Ford Motor Company, is a leader in “micromobility”—getting people around inexpensively by offering them wheels on demand. Scooters can typically be found at designated bike parking areas in busy cities across North America and Europe or at “Spin Hubs” where scooters are parked and recharged.

Spin Website

Customers who download Spin’s mobile app can “unlock” a scooter by scanning a QR code on the vehicle, and then ride off. Users pay a fee for each minute they use the electric scooter or can purchase a Spin pass, valid for a certain amount of time.

To get them on their way expeditiously, and at the same time guarantee that they are using their own identity to pay for the service, Spin relies on Berbix to scan customer IDs. Berbix adds a second security step to be even more sure, requiring Spin customers to take a photo of themselves with a mobile device. Berbix then applies facial-recognition algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to determine conclusively—and almost instantly—whether the ID card matches the selfie.

In most instances, a would-be customer is accepted. When the system can’t confirm a match between ID and selfie, it rejects the customer. Such fail safe measures are important for maintaining Spin’s fleet and its finances.

“There are bad actors of many sorts. There are the ones you’d imagine—people who disappeared with scooters. But we’re more concerned with the one guy who steals hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of scooters."

There are even more problems that come with that scenario. “How do we make sure we keep their personally identifiable information (PII) around to collaborate with law enforcement and do it in a way to make sure we’re not compromising the protection of all the other people? We don’t want to keep a lot of PII around.”

For Spin’s security system to be effective, it would need the capability to “read” and sign off on ID cards from several nations and states. It would offer the security to keep personal information safe. It would help Spin comply with many sets of government regulations. And most importantly, it would need to work fast.

In 2020 , Spin decided that Berbix was the best option for guaranteeing customers’ ID and security.

“What we’ve learned from Berbix is that the company has spent the time understanding the different state-to-state requirements and ID barcode standards. That’s not something our company has the time to do. It takes a lot of resources to understand these regulations. There’s a lot of work that can detract from things we want to do well. If another company can handle our PII properly, it would really allow us to minimize our legal liability and the complexity we have to build into our system.”

Berbix created an option for Spin that helped it restrict permissions so that employees can only view the IDs they need to review without viewing other aspects of those customers’ histories.

“We want this to be a great buyer experience for everyone. And if we can process different barcodes quickly and with confidence, we’re able to stay true to our business goals.”

Regulations and company security aren’t the only considerations. Spin requires that all drivers be 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license. Berbix helps the company verify that those requirements have been met.

What’s more, Spin must handle customers with a wide range of physical capabilities. “Some markets require we make our app friendly for certain demographics, including people who are disabled in various ways. With Berbix, I can have a collaborative conversation about how to make the app better for physically disabled people, how to make our app more compliant, or how to improve permissions.”

The results with Berbix have been impressive, with a 22 percent increase in ID verification success rates.

What’s more, Spin has experienced an 11 percent rise in the number of people who have taken their first ride—an indication that the sign-up and verification process is as frictionless as Spin would hope.


As the company continues to expand into new markets, Spin will rely more on the strong relationships it has built with Berbix professionals.

“Whenever I talk to another company that we deal with, all I get is sales tedium: PDFs, contract talks, numbers talk. I’m often dealing with the sales specialist, the sales director, and the VP of sales—that’s who I get ping-ponged between. But when I talk with Berbix, we use an active Slack channel that has a cross-sectional team of sales, product, and tech. Their team is very quick to route our questions to the right person and solve problems for me. Berbix’s co-founder has also answered my questions, which I’ve found very helpful.”

The Spin team is bullish on the benefits of their relationship with Berbix.

“We’re seeing speedier verifications, a higher number of first rides, an easy-to-understand user experience that lets me configure roles and permissions and that understands analytics of approval and disapprovals. Having a collaborative thought partner, instead of relying on a distant third party to improve our system, gives us a sense of security. It’s good to know that there’s someone there with us.”

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