Based on cash it generated during the past year, Equifax reinforced its fraud-prevention toolbox by signing a definitive agreement to acquire Kount, a provider of artificial intelligence-driven fraud prevention and digital identity solutions.

According to a news release distributed on Friday, Equifax is paying $640 million in a transaction that is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory review with the expectation of it closing during the first quarter.

As global digital transformation accelerates, driving customer interactions to digital channels in record numbers, Equifax acknowledged that businesses require new ways to establish digital identity trust in real-time to fight the growing problem of online fraud while reducing customer friction.

Equifax said this acquisition will expand its worldwide footprint in digital identity and fraud prevention solutions. Equifax added that the move also will help businesses better engage with their customers while combating fraud with the Kount Identity Trust Global Network, a risk-based authentication platform.

“As digital migration accelerates, managing authentication and online fraud while optimizing the consumer’s experience has become one of our customers’ top challenges. The acquisition of Kount will expand Equifax’s differentiated data assets to bring global businesses the information and solutions they need to establish identity trust online,” Equifax chief executive officer Mark Begor said in the news release.

“Equifax is taking advantage of our strong 2020 outperformance and cash generation to make this strategic acquisition,” Begor continued. “Our data and technology cloud investments allow us to quickly and aggressively integrate new data and analytics assets like Kount into our global capabilities and bring new market leading products and solutions to our customers.”

The result of a strong patent portfolio, Equifax highlighted the Kount Identity Trust Global Network uses artificial intelligence to link trust and fraud data signals from 32 billion digital interactions, 17 billion unique devices and five billion annual transactions across 200 countries and territories. As more signals are collected and combined with Kount’s AI-driven analytic insights, Equifax explained they become more predictive, helping to prevent digital fraud and protect against account takeovers in real-time while enabling personalized customer experiences.

“Together, Equifax and Kount will leverage a powerful set of differentiated data assets and advanced analytics to deliver a high performance, integrated view of both digitally-native transactions and signals and traditional offline identity fraud risk indicators while maintaining privacy and security at the highest levels,” said Sid Singh, president of United States Information Solutions (USIS) at Equifax.

“Whether you’re a bank, e-commerce provider, or a car dealer, today’s environment demands that consumers have the same — if not better — experience on their digital platform as they do on a major e-commerce retailer’s site,” Singh continued. We are enabling businesses across industries to establish strong digital identity trust behind every interaction while facilitating new forms of online engagement with current and prospective customers.”

Equifax reiterated that identity trust determines the level of trust for each identity behind every payment, account creation and login event. Businesses can determine the level of trust and risk they are comfortable accepting in order to block fraud in real time and to enable personalized customer experiences, according to experts.

Equifax emphasized that quick and accurate identity trust decisions can deliver safe payments, account creations and login events, while reducing digital fraud, chargebacks, false positives, and manual reviews.

“More than 9,000 brands worldwide rely on the Kount Identity Trust Global Network to protect against digital fraud while enabling personalized customer experiences and new e-commerce channels,” Kount CEO Bradley Wiskirchen said. “We are excited to be able to offer Kount solutions with an expansive set of Equifax data, analytics and products.

“Equifax’s global reach will accelerate Kount’s international adoption, allowing us to help more businesses around the world to better protect their digital innovations and their customers against emerging threats while improving the customer experience,” Wiskirchen added.

The full suite of Kount products powered by the Identity Trust Global Network that will be integrated into the Equifax Luminate Platform include:

— Kount Command for e-commerce fraud prevention with the Ominiscore AI-driven transaction safety rating

— Kount Control for account takeover prevention and digital account protection

— Kount Data on Demand for advanced analytics and actionable customer insights

— Near Real-Time Chargeback protection

Equifax mentioned that Luminate is a comprehensive fraud platform that can orchestrate multiple solutions with machine learning to provide risk managers with insights to help manage fraud decisions across the consumer account lifecycle.

The company added that Kount employees will join the Equifax USIS business unit and will continue to be based in Boise, Idaho.