How to Effectively Verify Customer Income

7 Min Read
Verifying customer income can be tedious whether you own a few properties or your company processes applications. Here are some helpful tips.

Landlords, lenders, and government agencies need ways to verify people’s income. However, verifying customer income can be tedious, whether you own a few properties or work for an organization that processes applications. You’re often dealing with lots of paperwork and double-checking everything for accuracy.

Complicating matters is the fact that every customer or applicant has a unique financial situation.

Some have easily verifiable income from a traditional employer. But you’ll find others don’t have a simple, streamlined source of cash flow that pays their bills. A handful of clients may be self-employed. Others might rely on freelance work in addition to a traditional job. And then, some will receive income from relatives, government benefits, pension plans, or other investments.

While complications may sometimes slow down the income verification process, new technologies can make it more effective and efficient. Verification solutions that sync with payroll providers and let customers upload their documents represent a few examples. Here are some successful means for verifying customer income sources and amounts.

Use income verification technology.

Software programs can make just about anything more efficient. This includes organizing and verifying all the documents loan applicants must provide. Applying for a car loan or credit card might be less complex than a mortgage. However, lenders still need to verify an applicant’s credit history and income.

That’s where things can get sticky for lenders and creditors that have to either approve or deny an application.

Anyone can say they make so many dollars a year, but that doesn’t mean they actually do. Lenders don’t want to approve someone for a loan or a line of credit if they can’t comfortably afford the payments. They’ll either repossess a secured asset like a vehicle or write off the debt if it’s unsecured. It’s not a good outcome for either side.

Income verification technology, such as Truework, helps lenders confirm a customer’s income within a few minutes. Since these solutions connect to many employers’ payroll networks, it’s more difficult for applicants to fudge the numbers. Some income verification solutions also verify freelance income from popular independent contractor platforms like Upwork. This saves applicants time hunting down bank statements and pay stubs.

Consider government-run verification services.

When approving applicants, mortgage lenders have their work cut out for them. Without a doubt, a home loan involves more risk since property ownership goes back to the bank if a borrower defaults. Real estate markets can sometimes be fickle, and lenders might lose money when auctioning off a foreclosure.

For these reasons and more, mortgage applications go through underwriting and a high level of scrutiny. That usually means two years of tax returns, W-2s, and bank statements for savings, checking, and investment accounts. Clients may also need to fork over other loan statements or documentation if the amounts are significant. These obligations might include student loan balances or other loans they’ve cosigned.

Because of the level of complexity involved, mortgage lenders may want to consider using the IRS’s income verification express service. The process usually takes two to three business days, but the technology helps put any questions to rest. IRS records can verify an applicant’s income from conventional and not-so-traditional sources. Plus, the service confirms whether a mortgage client’s tax returns are accurate.

Outsource manual income verifications.

Technology can automate and perform a lot of tasks. But sometimes, using tech isn’t possible, or it isn’t the most feasible solution.

In some cases, you may have an applicant who earns income from an employer that doesn’t use a payroll provider. The employer might be a small business that does payroll manually. Your borrower might have also switched jobs within the past year, and a previous employer is no longer in business.

In these cases, manual income verification is one of the only routes to take. As a busy landlord or lending department, you don’t have time to play phone tag or hunt down contacts. This might be okay if you only had one applicant to deal with. However, you receive applications nearly every day, and the work it takes to verify all the details adds up. Manual verifications are challenging to keep track of and follow up on.

By working with an income verification service, you can outsource those tasks.

Verifying customer income solutions sometimes provide manual confirmation services so you can focus on other aspects of your business. Your vendor handles the phone calls to HR departments and employers. They focus their efforts on confirming an applicant’s previous jobs and earnings, producing results faster for you and your customers. You can make decisions within days instead of weeks.

Efficient and Effective Income Verification

Verifying customers’ income is part of the job for property management companies, lenders, and some government agencies. In a less intricate process, income verification may only involve checking a W-2 from one employer.

However, most lenders and landlords deal with more proof and documentation than that. Complex and unique situations can slow down the process and cause frustration for all sides.

Income verification technologies and services make confirming a customer’s income more efficient and effective. Software that syncs with payroll providers, IRS services, and outsourced manual verification services helps remove obstacles and mitigate delays. Using these technologies and services creates better experiences for applicants and decision makers.

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for and many more major media outlets.