Amazon seller account verification: Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Amazon Seller Verification in 2020

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Amazon is a massive online retail platform with billions of shoppers across 15 worldwide marketplaces. And not only does Amazon have its own selection of first-party products, it also supports more than 2 million third-party sellers, too. 

So, in the interest of protecting both its shoppers and sellers, Amazon requires all sellers to go through a strict verification process

The current Amazon seller account verification process was enacted between 2016 and 2017, and the major difference is that Amazon now requires two forms of identification in order for a seller to be cleared to sell on the platform.

Amazon’s verification process exists for three main reasons:

  • Protecting customers from “bad actors” who focus only on profits, rather than quality products and a positive customer experience.
  • Protecting sellers from harmful “black hat” sellers who employ unethical tactics to win sales.
  • Keeping counterfeiting, money-laundering, and other illicit practices off of Amazon’s platform.

This article covers everything you need to know about Amazon’s verification process, including what you need to know to get verified as a seller yourself.

 

What is Amazon’s verification process?

Amazon’s seller account verification process consists of two parts. 

  1. First, you must answer a series of questions (via an online form) about your business and yourself (or whoever the main contact for the business will be).
  2. Second, you must provide information that proves you are who you say you are.

 

What information does Amazon need?

  • Your business information, including:
    • Legal business name
    • Business address
    • Contact information
  • Email address for the company account
  • An internationally chargeable credit card
    • If the credit card isn’t valid, Amazon will cancel your registration
  • Phone number
    • Amazon may need to reach you during the registration process
    • Also, Amazon uses your phone number to verify your account
  • Federal Tax ID; this can be:
    • Your social security number
    • Your business’ Federal Tax ID number
  • State Tax ID (if you are a U.S. seller)

Do I need to have a business entity (LLC, etc.) to sell on Amazon?

No. You can sell on Amazon as a sole proprietorship. However, we do recommend that you form one down the road, especially if you are serious about selling on Amazon.

What do I need in order to verify my identity/my business’ identity?

In order to sell in the North American marketplaces (the United States, Canada, and Mexico), Amazon requires sellers submit two types of documents to the Seller Identification Verification (SIV) process.

  1. National ID card
  2. Credit card statements, bank statements, or utility bills

Amazon goes into further detail about the type of information that they accept, as well as the format in which you must submit this information, on their service page.

 

Does Amazon’s verification process work?

In early 2020, we spoke with Amazon suspensions expert Cynthia Stine, who shared that, for the most part, the process has been a success for Amazon. 

For instance, many of the “bad actors” on Amazon — those signing up to sell on Amazon for unethical reasons — were immediately removed from the platform once the program was introduced. 

In some cases, however, some tech-savvy sellers have been able to get around Amazon’s verification process, leading to “white hats” getting caught in the crossfire, but Amazon is continually working to prevent this.

 

What are common issues that new sellers run into during the Amazon seller account verification process?

According to Stine, the most common reasons new sellers fail the verification process include:

Format/resolution of supporting documents submission

Amazon has very specific guidelines for how they want the two types of documents submitted. Sellers who send in poor scans, or incomplete and/or incorrect information, are sometimes rejected automatically.

Billing and residence information do not match

Another common issue new sellers run into is mismatched information. Billing and residential information must match. 

For example, let’s say a seller’s ID card has their previous address listed, but their billing information shows their new address. If they send that information as is, Amazon will reject their application due to the discrepancy.

Sellers aren’t sending full documents

Sometimes, sellers submit only part or a single page of a billing document or bank statement. Amazon wants to see the entire document including all of the small print pages

Amazon knows that the first couple of pages of a utility bill or a bank statement are easy to forge. That’s why they require new sellers to send in every single page of their document.  

However, Amazon doesn’t make this requirement clear in their guidelines, which is why we’re highlighting it here.

Sometimes, it’s just unknown

Warning! Amazon doesn’t necessarily publish all of the nuances and rules sellers must follow in order to be verified; sometimes, sellers are rejected and aren’t even sure why. 

Sellers may attempt to contact Amazon for further insight, but should first review every known step and all documentation carefully to ensure the discrepancy wasn’t on their end.

 

Will “grandfathered-in” sellers have to go through the same verification process?

Currently, sellers who sold on Amazon before the verification process changed do not have to prepare the two forms of identification like new sellers do. However, Stine fully expects Amazon to begin verifying grandfathered sellers as it continues to crack down on bad actors.

For that reason, we recommend that sellers with older accounts prepare their verification documents now. 

Amazon could drop this on sellers without notice, meaning grandfathered sellers who are caught off guard could be suspended or even banned. But, if sellers get the documents they need to verify who they are now, they won’t lose precious time and sales later.

 

3 best practices for Amazon seller account verification

Use the following three tips for getting through the Amazon verification process smoothly:

1 – Prepare for verification now

Sometimes, it can take weeks or even months for a seller to make sure their “ducks are in a row.” This is especially important for existing sellers whose livelihoods would be affected by a sudden change in Amazon’s terms of service.

2 – Make sure all forms of identification match

All of the materials you plan to submit should match and prove that you are who you say you are, and that your Amazon business is under your purview.

3 – Remember: Sellers are suspended during the verification process

For those who aren’t aware of this rule, Amazon suspends active sellers during verification. And while that may not seem like much of an issue, sometimes Amazon’s verification process can take weeks, or even months. 

However, if you have all of your identifying documentation ready to go, the faster Amazon will move you through the process — and the faster you can get back to selling!

 

 

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34 comments on “Amazon Seller Verification in 2020

  1. UK amazon seller

    i trade AS A Sole Trader

    all my details are for my sole trade

    I have NOW incorporated my sole trade business to a UK Limited company.

    The verication process will stall my sales and cash cash flow and other issues

    Are there any practical ways to minimise disruption

    This must be a common problem

  2. Hi Dave,

    I have similar issues to some of the above. I’ve been battling since June 2020 to get some movement on things like bank statements and Utility bill etc. the .COM platform seem relentlessly interested in NOT allowing seller in the US market. Seems to me they don’t want more seller on the platform. Plus when engaging with anyone who actually knows what a phone is. They wouldn’t have clue what they are talking about and its a total waste of effort. Trust me I have had at least a dozen call with the US team and only one showed a glimmer of interest or knowledge after I had made my simple case clear. So I’m happy to say the EU team however, Not only answered the phone but helped me and resolved the seemingly simple issue in less than 10days. Happily selling on UK / EU platforms now.

    My question… and maybe a suggestion. This seem common. Dave, Why not (with your influence) and with JS support bring these issues to the attention of someone who maybe cares are Amazon.com seller central … We want to sell on your platform… Maybe use your Big Amazon dollars and invest in a simplified system and use some AI …

    Can we get a group count of those not verified and don’t know why? You know there’s even a business opportunity out there … I know there are companies that do consultS for individuals but $1000 is a bit steep.

    Dave, who can we rattle? Who do you know? How can you help with your influence?

    Cheers Jason

  3. Hi
    I am stuck on the verification process and am unable to load up my passport back page which i missed initially. I have had several emails back from Amazon but am unsuccessful loading up the final documents. Hope you can help.

    1. Hi Pushpa,

      I am sorry you are experiencing some issues. Have you resolved your problem? There is no way for you to reupload the passport?

  4. Hi Dave
    I live in Austria and have a company here and a credit card for m ycompany’s bank account .But I have an Austrian residence card. Can I register as a professional seller on Amazon with an Austrian residence card instead of passport or driver’s license?

  5. I find it unusual that Amazon is asking for my full nine digit Social Security Number in the account verification process when a transaction takes place that somehow appears suspicious. I received a text naming an “OTP” followed by a six-digit number.

    1. Hi Manuel,

      That is normal. The OTP is “one time password.” It is used as a 2 step verification to sign in.

  6. I am thinking of switching legal entity to a new company name on amazon US. what documentation will be asked if they do a verification on the account. also, can i use a cell phone bill?

  7. I have a pro seller account since 2 year in whole european marketplace. However my application for amazon.com has been denied so many times due to unverified documents, and now I don’t have any ”UPLOAD DOCUMENTS” option. I can’t even re-upload document basically. What should I do at this point ?

  8. As soon as I registered for a professional seller account, my credit card was charged, but my account status was “deactivated” and since then I’ve sent my internet service provider’s invoice as a utility bill document to verify identity and residence. I haven’t been successful with different formats and resolutions and it’s been 10 days. I always get that “we were unable to verify your…..” form response. I suppose my case is a slightly more complicated in that I have a separate amazon.com account which previously had a seller account but I didn’t do anything with it and so Amazon deactivated for inactivity. I tried re-activating it but was unsuccessful. Anyway, now it seems that extra account might be interfering with my current identity verification? Also, does the scanner code that verifies the name and address of submitted documents smart enough to account for abbreviations like Road vs Rd, etc? At this point I’m concerned that I’ll never be able to get verified because there’s no human interaction available from seller support at Amazon to resolve this impass.

    1. Hi Jo,

      I am so sorry to hear that! I understand how frustrating it can be. The issue can be that you had an older selling account. You are not allowed to have 2 seller accounts unless you are approved by Amazon.

      Have you heard back from them yet?

      1. Hi Brian, I contacted seller support who deleted two accounts that failed during recent registration attempts. Then I learned about how global market regions are automatically attached to an account upon registration and each marketplace needs verification. I checked my account, and sure enough, aside from North America, I was also connected to Europe and Japan marketplaces despite only being notified about US, Canada, and Mexico when registering. After verifying with Amazon Europe by submitting a copy of my passport, I terminated that marketplace. Now I am in limbo with North America and Japan even though I had no intention of selling in Japan. An Amazon forum member who went through a similar ordeal suggested that I get verification first and then close the Japan marketplace. i.e. you can’t just terminate it. But I haven’t been able to make progress with either.

        I have only one acceptable utility service invoice with which to verify my residential address since my rental agreement covers all others like electricity. And the verification algorithm just will not accept it, despite different file formats and resolutions. Just in case, I submitted a credit card statement and mobile phone bill but they were also rejected. I’m at an impasse until I can speak with a person in the identity verification department. Amazon bots respond 1 or 2 days after a submission but it’s always the same “unable to verify your…” from both Amazon US and Japan. The latter is problematic because the reply email is in Japanese and I have to resort to an online translator to see what went wrong (I have a Japanese name but grew up in Canada). Also, the more documents I submit, the slower the responses become, is what I’ve read in regards to the identity verification process.

  9. my seller account was created back in dec 2019. i provided the passport information , then didn’t logged into the account or sell anything. Now I’m more serious about to be one of the seller on amazon . But i’m going thru seller identity verification . I’m not sure why I have to go thru the Seller Identity Verification process again. It has been more than a week and still under review. It seem more challenging than ever because they never ask me anything . How long is the waiting time … Did I broken any rule without notice :(? please help out !! Thank you

    1. Hi Chloe,

      Unfortunately, you will have to wait until you hear back from them regarding your account. You provided them everything they ask for?

      Brian

  10. Amazon account verify problem. I apply for a new seller account, but I did every steps same as required but still rejected my verification,said cannot be verify, I never under stand. I sent requested about 50 time each time said the same thing even I did every step corrected. I scan color PDF, clean, clear, and every good image nice. but I got denied.
    Can any one help me? Amazon cannot help anything, not customer support, no phone, no real people answer email, just AI machine auto response.
    My perspective opinion about Amazon seller support was a bad one, the company did not provided help with anything. No CSR at this company. I believed Amazon just want to make money but never want to invest support for their seller( customer). I think Amazon is a bad company to deal with.
    Until now. I still cannot be verify correct. Can you help.
    Thanks
    Surin Poommai

  11. Hi Dave, great insights! I have one question. Which bank statement should I provide for verification as a non-US seller, Hyperwallet or local bank?

  12. I am a new seller applying to Handmade and am getting rejected. The pdf I am using as part of the verification x’s out all but the last 4 digits of my bank account number for security reasons. The last 4 digits match what I gave Amazon in full, so it should be verifiable … yet I keep getting rejected and that is the only thing I can find as a possible reason why. What could I do in this case? It is the only acct statement I have for my business (it is both a cc and bank acct stmt as they are tied together). The only thing On my ID is I am scanning in my drivers license and although it looks clear to me, maybe it isn’t to them? Does the scan or pic need to be a specific dpi to be deemed “clear” to them? I pdf’d the scans before sending.

    1. Hi Karen,

      Sorry to hear you are having trouble! They aren’t giving you any reason why it’s not being accepted?

  13. Hello, I am new to this and I created a professional account in amazon seller central. They asked me to attach my passport and bank or credit card statement. I Attached both and they sent me an email that says UNABLE TO VERIFY DOCUMENT in both attachments. I live in Panama, but I am Peruvian and a resident of Panama for 30 years. I think that maybe they did not like how I scanned the passport but also i think that in my passport does not specify that I live in Panama.

    Will I be able to send more documents in the same attachment, if I can make it up to 10 megabytes?

    What additional documents do you recommend adding with my passport? My USA tourist visa, where it say visa was issued in Panama? or my Panama driver’s license or my Panama id?
    I will appreciate your help in this.

    1. Hi Lilian,

      Try sending in a clearer image of your passport. Are you able to contact support to see what the issue is with your information?

  14. Hi Dave,

    great article and information.

    I have a question about AMZ Account set up and verification:
    I live in Singapore but will be operating my Amazon account under a business entity from Ireland with my team there. I will be the sole owner of the business and a director.
    So, when it comes to verification, will it be an issue if the business provides info on the location of the business with office address and utility bill, and I then provide my home address details in Singapore. does this cause any concern or issues for Amazon verification. Can’t seem to get a clear answer anywhere and I want to make sure I have my ducks in a row before I apply so I can avoid lengthy suspensions etc. Many thanks in advance. Jason

    1. Hi Jason,

      I am not 100% sure on that question but I would assume that the address should match what is on the utility bills.

  15. Hello,
    I am verified as an individual seller, do Amazon make another verification when i become a professional seller?

    1. Hi Mohammed! Based on what I’ve been seeing in the Amazon forums, it’s likely that Amazon will ask for additional verification when you switch from an individual seller account to a professional one.

  16. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for this article, it’s very helpful! Just a couple of questions:

    1 – I created an LLC and have an EIN. Would this be enough to cover the federal and state tax ID?

    2 – I’d like to set up my Amazon account under my LLC name, but my utility bills are all listed under my personal name. Will they reject my application because they don’t match (my LLC is not listed anywhere on my utility bills). If so, how can I avoid this?

    Thank you for your help!

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