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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
VETTING SYSTEM AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/007996
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a vetting system including a verification card issued to an individual. The verification card has been issued to the individual upon completion by the individual of one or more verification checks; and a reader for reading a unique identifier of the verification card, the reader operable to communicate the unique identifier to a database and retrieve from the database results of the one or more verification checks. The one or more verification checks includes a check of a tenancy database recording therein a list of individuals who have been previously categorized as undesirable tenants.

Inventors:
HOEY ASHLEY (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2015/000418
Publication Date:
January 21, 2016
Filing Date:
July 16, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HOEDOG ENTPR PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
G06Q50/16
Foreign References:
US20020026411A12002-02-28
US20070022297A12007-01-25
US7024397B12006-04-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WYNNES PATENT AND TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS (27 Godwin StreetBulimb, Brisbane Queensland 4171, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
THE CLAIMS DEFINING THE INVENTION ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. A system for vetting an individual, the system including:

a verification card issued to the individual, the verification card having previously been issued to the individual upon completion by the individual of one or more verification checks, said verification card has a unique identifier associated with the card and the individual;

a database for recording the details of the individual including the results of the one or more verification checks; and

a reader for reading the unique identifier of the verification card, the reader operable to communicate the unique identifier to the database and retrieve from the database results of the one or more verification checks, wherein the one or more verification checks includes a check of a tenancy database recording therein a list of individuals who have been previously categorized as undesirable tenants.

2. The system as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the one or more verification checks further includes one or more of a criminal history check, fraud history check, bankruptcy history check, employment check, financial status check, and identity check.

3. The system as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the one or more verification checks are coordinated by one entity, the one entity coordinating with other authorities to complete verification of checks outside the remit of the one entity. 4. The system as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the results of the one or more verification checks are displayed on a display of the reader, whereby an operator of the reader is advised of the desirability of the tenant in near real-time.

5. The system as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, wherein the unique identifier is digitally encoded on the verification card, and the reader is configured to digitally read and decode the digitally encoded unique identifier.

6. A method for issuing a verification card to a prospective tenant, the method including the steps of creating a profile for the prospective tenant, performing a first set of verification checks on the prospective tenant, recording the results of the first set of verification checks in the profile, and issuing the verification card to the prospective tenant, the verification card being linked to the profile. 7. A method as claimed in claim 6 wherein the profile of the prospective tenant is created digitally and recorded on a database that is electronically accessible.

8. A method as claimed in claim 6 or 7 wherein there is a step of performing a second set of verification checks on the prospective tenant, the second set of verification checks includes one or more of a criminal history check, fraud history check, bankruptcy history check, employment check, and financial status check.

9. A method for vetting a prospective tenant, the method including the steps of requesting the prospective tenant to present a verification card; determining a unique identifier identifying the verification card; communicating the unique identifier to a database over a network; receiving from the database results of one or more verification checks conducted on the prospective tenant; and presenting the results in near real-time. 10. A method as claimed in claim 9 wherein the method further includes a step of checking the currency of the results.

11 . A method as claimed in claim 9 wherein there is a step of performing a new verification check for a result that is deemed not to be current.

12. A method of applying for approval to rent a rental property including

obtaining pre-verified rental eligibility status wherein pre-verification rental status includes satisfying one or more checks of tenancy history check, current employment check, identity and fraud check, proof of financial capacity, credit check, criminal check, and referee check;

having the pre-verified rental eligibility status accessible to a third party; and applying for a rental property and presenting the pre-verified rental eligibility status for evaluation.

13. A computer implemented system for managing verification checks that are useful in a tenant application process, the system including:

a server side computer system that includes a database, and that is enabled:

to store in the database data that embodies a unique identifier code in relation to a set of verification checks,

to store data that embodies verification statuses associated with the respective verification checks of the set of verification checks;

a verification card that carriers the unique identifier code; and

a client-side computer system that includes a card reader, and that is enabled:

to input with the card reader the unique identifier code from the verification card into the client computer,

in which, in use,

the client computer, in response to input of the unique identifier code with the card reader, generates and sends a unique request to the server computer requesting access to the data that embodies the verification statuses associated with the respective verification checks of the set of verification checks associate with the unique identifier code; and

the server computer, in response to receiving the unique status request, generates and sends data to the client-side computer system in a manner that enables the client-side computer system to render a graphical user interface that includes a plurality of screen components indicative of the verification statuses of respective verification checks in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card.

14. A system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the server side computer system is enabled to interface with third party computer systems automatically to update data that embodies associated ones of the verification statuses in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card, and enabled to interface with a client side computer system so as to permit manual update of data that embodies an associated one of the verification statuses in relation to the unique identifier code.

15. A system as claimed in claim 13 or claim 14, wherein the verification card carries identification information that includes any one of a photograph and a printed name of a prospective tenant, and the card includes a unique identifier code that is readable by a card reader of the type selected from the group consisting of: a Near Field Communication (NFC) reader, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) reader, an optical Quick Response (QR) code reader, and an optical BAR code reader.

16. As system as claimed in any one of the claims 13, 14, 15, wherein the server computer, in response to receiving the unique status request, generates and sends data to the client-side computer system in a manner that enables the client-side computer system to render screen components in predefined colors respectively indicative of associated verification statuses of the respective verification checks in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card.

17. A computer program product, which when executed on a client side computer having a card reader, enables the client side computer system, in use,

to input, into the client computer, with the card reader a unique identifier code from a verification card that carry the unique identifier code;

in response to input of the unique identifier code with the card reader, to generate and send a unique request to a server side computer system requesting data that embodies verification statuses associated with respective verification checks of a set of verification checks associate with the unique identifier code; and

in response to receiving the data that embodies the verification statuses associated with the respective verification checks of the set of verification checks associate with the unique identifier code, to render a graphical user interface that includes a plurality of screen components indicative of the verification statuses of the respective verification checks in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card.

Description:
VETTING SYSTEM AND METHOD

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a system and method for vetting an individual. The present invention has particular but not exclusive application in the renting of properties to prospective individuals.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A consideration when renting a property is to determine the quality of the prospective tenant. Selecting a good tenant ensures, for example, that the property will be well maintained, that the rent will be paid on time, and that the tenant behaves as a good neighbor.

Currently, the process of vetting a prospective tenant involves checking the tenant against a rental database. Prospective tenants who have in the past damaged a property, or failed to timely pay the rent, or who have otherwise been poor tenants, may be listed in the rental database. The listing of a prospective tenant in the rental database raises a caution suggesting that the prospective tenant may not be a good tenant. Accordingly, a property owner or the owner's agent is provided with a rough metric by which to judge prospective tenants for the property.

This rough metric is often further refined, using additional information provided by the prospective tenant. Such additional information includes, for example, age, marital status, profession, gender, income, and, where available, letters of recommendation from previous property owners and/or rental agents. The rough metric, together with the above additional information and the owner's/agent's experience then combine to generate an overall impression of the prospective tenant and a determination of their desirability as a tenant for the property.

The above-described process can be subjective, and therefore often not entirely accurate. The current process relies heavily on the owner's and/or agent's experience and intuition. The current process is also somewhat susceptible to fraud or misrepresentation by the prospective tenant.

Moreover, the current process is not well suited to vetting prospective tenants who are new to renting. Prospective tenants new to renting will not be listed in the rental database, and will also not have letters of recommendations from previous property owners or their agents. Accordingly, the credibility and desirability of such a new and prospective tenant is difficult to ascertain. From the prospective tenant's point of view, it is also difficult for them to prove their credibility and desirability as a tenant to property owners and the owner's agents.

Still further, the current process is time consuming, requiring manual look up of the rental database as well as manual analysis and checks of the additional information. Accordingly, the current process cannot be conducted in real-time, in the presence of the prospective tenant and at the time of application by the tenant.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a system and method by which property owners and/or the owner's agents can accurately and in near real-time determine the credibility and desirability of a prospective tenant. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a means by which prospective tenants can credibly prove their desirability as a tenant.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention was developed by approaching the issue of identifying and verifying a prospective good tenant from a different perspective compared with the current process. The new approach looked at ways to remove the subjective analysis and introduce objective evaluations as to whether a person would be a good tenant. Furthermore the approach involved developing a system where the prospective tenant had verified credentials before they applied to rent a property. This approach is quite different to the current time-critical procedure of verifying the prospective tenant after they have applied to rent a property. The approach of the present invention reverses the current procedure and removes the time urgency factor associated with verifying a prospective tenant. In addition the present invention was developed to streamline procedures and provide real-time verification and approval by adapting the method of the invention into an electronic accessible format thereby enabling communications and interaction through the internet.

In one aspect, the present invention provides a vetting system including a verification card issued to an individual, wherein the verification card is issued to the individual upon completion by the individual of one or more verification checks; and a reader for reading a unique identifier of the verification card, the reader operable to communicate the unique identifier to a database and retrieve from the database results of the one or more verification checks. The one or more verification checks preferably includes a check of a tenancy database. The tenancy database includes a list of individuals who have been previously categorized as undesirable tenants.

In a preferred aspect the invention broadly resides in a system for vetting an individual, the system including:

a verification card issued to the individual, the verification card having previously been issued to the individual upon completion by the individual of one or more verification checks, said verification card has a unique identifier associated with the card and the individual;

a database for recording the details of the individual including the results of the one or more verification checks; and

a reader for reading the unique identifier of the verification card, the reader operable to communicate the unique identifier to the database and retrieve from the database results of the one or more verification checks, wherein the one or more verification checks includes a check of a tenancy database recording therein a list of individuals who have been previously categorized as undesirable tenants.

Preferably, the one or more verification checks further includes one or more of a criminal history check, fraud history check, bankruptcy history check, employment check, financial status check, and identity check.

Preferably, the one or more verification checks are coordinated by one entity, the one entity coordinating with other authorities to complete verification of checks outside the remit of the one entity.

Preferably, the results of the one or more verification checks are displayed on a display of the reader, whereby an operator of the reader is advised of the desirability of the tenant in near real-time.

Preferably, the unique identifier is digitally encoded on the verification card, and the reader is configured to digitally read and decode the digitally encoded unique identifier.

In another aspect, the present invention provides a method for issuing a verification card to a prospective tenant, the method including the steps of creating a profile for the prospective tenant, performing a first set of verification checks on the prospective tenant, recording the results of the first set of verification checks in the profile, and issuing the verification card to the prospective tenant, the verification card being linked to the profile. Preferably the profile of the prospective tenant is created digitally and recorded on a database that is electronically accessible.

Preferably, the method further includes a step of performing a second set of verification checks on the prospective tenant, the second set of verification checks being more intrusive than the first set of verification checks.

Preferably, the second set of verification checks includes one or more of a criminal history check, fraud history check, bankruptcy history check, employment check, and financial status check.

In another aspect, the present invention provides a method for vetting a prospective tenant, the method including the steps of requesting the prospective tenant to present a verification card; determining a unique identifier identifying the verification card; communicating the unique identifier to a database over a network; receiving from the database results of one or more verification checks conducted on the prospective tenant; and presenting the results in near real-time.

Preferably, the unique identifier is determined by a card reader interacting with the verification card.

Preferably, the card reader scans a visual code present on the verification card to determine the unique identifier.

Preferably the visual code is one or more of a QR code, barcode, or other digitally encoded indicia.

Alternatively, the card reader interacts with the verification card via radio frequency.

Alternatively, the card reader interacts with the verification card via Near Field Communications.

Preferably, the method further includes a step of checking a currency of the results.

Preferably, the method further includes a step of performing a new verification check for a result that is deemed to be not current.

In a further aspect the present invention broadly resides in a method of applying for approval to rent a rental property including

obtaining pre-verified rental eligibility status wherein pre-verification rental status includes satisfying one or more checks of tenancy history check, current employment check, identity and fraud check, proof of financial capacity, credit check, criminal check, and referee check; having the pre-verified rental eligibility status accessible to a third party;

applying for a rental property and presenting the pre-verified rental eligibility status for evaluation.

Preferably the pre-verified rental eligibility status is associated with a unique verification card associated with a person applying for approval to rent a rental property. More preferably the pre-verified rental eligibility status is accessible through a unique identifier on the unique verification card.

The method can include the further step of receiving approval advice regarding rental of the rental property.

In another aspect, the invention provides a computer implemented system for managing verification checks that are useful in a tenant application process, the system including:

a server side computer system that includes a database, and that is enabled:

to store in the database, data that embodies a unique identifier code in relation to a set of verification checks and to store data that embodies verification statuses associated with the respective verification checks of the set of verification checks;

a verification card that carriers the unique identifier code; and

a client-side computer system that includes a card reader, and that is enabled:

to input with the card reader the unique identifier code from the verification card into the client computer, in which, in use the client computer, in response to input of the unique identifier code with the card reader, generates and sends a unique request to the server computer requesting access to the data that embodies the verification statuses associated with the respective verification checks of the set of verification checks associate with the unique identifier code; and

the server computer, in response to receiving the unique status request, generates and sends data to the client-side computer system in a manner that enables the client-side computer system to render a graphical user interface that includes a plurality of screen components indicative of the verification statuses of respective verification checks in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card.

Preferably, the server side computer system is enabled to interface with third party computer systems automatically to update data that embodies associated ones of the verification statuses in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card, and enabled to interface with a client side computer system so as to permit manual update of data that embodies an associated one of the verification statuses in relation to the unique identifier code.

Preferably, the verification card carries identification information that includes any one of a photograph and a printed name of a prospective tenant, and the card includes a unique identifier code that is readable by a card reader of the type selected from the group consisting of: a Near Field Communication (NFC) reader, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) reader, an optical Quick Response (QR) code reader, and an optical BAR code reader.

Preferably, the server side computer, in response to receiving the unique status request, generates and sends data to the client-side computer system in a manner that enables the client-side computer system to render screen components in predefined colors respectively indicative of associated verification statuses of the respective verification checks in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card.

In yet another aspect, the invention provides a computer program product, which when executed on a client side computer having a card reader, enables the client side computer system, in use,

to input, into the client computer, with the card reader a unique identifier code from a verification card carrying the unique identifier code;

in response to input of the unique identifier code with the card reader, to generate and send a unique request to a server side computer system requesting data that embodies verification statuses associated with respective verification checks of a set of verification checks associate with the unique identifier code; and

in response to receiving the data that embodies the verification statuses associated with the respective verification checks of the set of verification checks associate with the unique identifier code, to render a graphical user interface that includes a plurality of screen components indicative of the verification statuses of the respective verification checks in relation to the unique identifier code of the verification card.

The different verification checks can be carried out third parties who are authorized to conduct such checks. For example the post office can carry out a 100 point identity check and communicate the status to the electronic profile associated with the prospective tenant's unique verification card. Where a person or entity is officially authorized or qualified to conduct a particular check they can be commissioned or engaged to enter status results to the electronic profile associated with the prospective tenant's unique verification card.

One or more of the features described with respect to one aspect of the invention also applies to other aspects of the invention (where applicable) even where these features are not directly associated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the present invention can be more readily understood reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention and wherein:

Figure 1 illustrates a renter verification card according to a preferred embodiment;

Figure 2 is a flow chart of a renter verification card issuance process;

Figure 3 illustrates a renter vetting system according to the preferred embodiment;

Figures 4 to 9 illustrates various screens of a smartphone operating as a card reader in the renter vetting system;

Figure 10 illustrates an operation of the renter vetting system by a rental agent and/or property owner;

Figure 1 1 illustrates an operation of the renter vetting system by a prospective tenant;

Figure 12 illustrates an exemplary application configured to configure and instruct an electronic device for operation with the renter vetting system; and

Figure 13 illustrates an exemplary electronic device adapted to run the application of Figure 12.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to Figure 3, a computer implemented renter vetting system 3, in accordance with the invention, is shown. The renter vetting system 3 is used to manage verification checks in relation to a prospective tenant in the process of accessing the application by the prospective tenant to rent the rental property. The renter vetting system 3 is particularly useful in an early phase of a tenant application process, for example at the time when prospective tenant meets with a property agent at a property.

The renter vetting system 3 includes a renter verification card 1 issued to prospective tenants. The verification card 1 identifies a prospective tenant, and provides a 'score' of the prospective tenant's current desirability as a tenant.

A verification card 1 according to a preferred embodiment is illustrated in Fig. 1. The verification card 1 according to the preferred embodiment is an ISO7810 ID-1 compliant card, but it is to be understood that other embodiments of the verification card may be sized differently. The verification card 1 includes identification information such as a photographic identifier 100 and/or a card owner's name 1 10, a card identifier 120, and a unique identifier code hereinafter referred to as a digitally encoded identifier 130. The verification card 1 further preferably includes a card seal 140, an issue date 150, and an expiry date 160. It is again to be understood that other embodiments of the verification may include some, but not all, of the above information, and/or additional information.

The verification card 1 is issued to a prospective tenant in accordance with a card issuance process. A card issuance process 2 according the preferred embodiment is described with reference to Fig. 2.

The issuance process 2 begins at 2-10, where a prospective tenant creates a tenant profile. The tenant profile records basic information regarding the prospective tenant, such as name, age, gender, address, phone number, email address, and the like. The tenant profile is stored, for example, in a networked database. As will be later described, the tenant profile further records results of various verifications checks. Preferably, at 2-10, the prospective tenant is additionally provided with any necessary forms and other instructions necessary for completing later verification checks.

At 2-20, the prospective tenant proceeds with a first level verification check. The first level verification check is a basic verification involving, for example, a 100- point identification check, a rental database check, and a test to ensure the prospective tenant is aware of their responsibilities as a tenant. The checks conducted as part of the first level verification check are performed by accredited institutions. For example, the 100-point identification check may be conducted by the post office, a bank, a notary public, and the like. Similarly, the rental database check is conducted with a regulated and reputed database. Results of each check are confirmed either through the issuance of a hard-copy certificate, or a digital certificate, and preferably automatically sent by the accredited institutions to the renter vetting system.

Upon completion of the first level verification check, the prospective tenant may optionally proceed with a second level verification check at 2-25. The second level verification is typically a more intrusive verification process additionally involving, for example, a check of employment, fraud history, criminal history, credit history, and the like. As with the first level verification, these checks are performed by accredited institutions where possible, for example the federal police, tax office, and the like. Results of each check are confirmed either through the issuance of a hard-copy certificate, or a digital certificate, preferably automatically sent to the renter vetting system 3.

At 2-30, any hard-copy certificate or digital certificate that was not automatically sent by the accredited institution to the renter vetting system is uploaded by the prospective tenant to the system.

At 2-40, upon establishing the veracity of the received certificates and thereby the identity and credibility of the prospective tenant, the prospective tenant is issued with a renter verification card 1 . The renter verification card 1 includes a unique card identifier 120 and digitally encoded identifier 130, one or more of which may be used to reference the tenant's profile, and thereby the results of the tenant's verification checks.

In the issuance process 2 of the preferred embodiment, the second level verification may be performed during the initial issuance process or at a later stage any time after the issuance of a basic renter verification card.

It is to be understood that while the renter vetting system 3 and issuance process 2 according to the preferred embodiment has two levels of verification, the system and process is not so limited and may include one, two, or more than two levels of verification, with each successive level of verification adding to the credibility of the prospective tenant if a positive result is obtained.

As an optional step, the prospective tenant may fill out their tenant profile so as to comprise of a combination of information fields that contribute to identifying the prospective tenant. The tenant profile may be filled out to include the information provided at the first and second level verification checks, for example. The completed profiled, as will be described later, may be used to pre-populate tenancy application forms. This optional step preferably occurs after 2-20. Referring to Fig. 3, the renter vetting system 3 according to the preferred embodiment is described. The vetting system 3 includes a server side computer system that includes a database 310, a data communication network 320 to which the database 310 is connected, and a renter verification card 355 belonging to a prospective tenant 350. The database 310 is accessible by a card reader 345 over the network 320. The card reader 345 is operated by an operator 340, who may be a rental agent, property owner, or other person desiring to ascertain the credibility of the prospective tenant 350, including the prospective tenant 350 themselves.

In the preferred embodiment, the card reader 345 is part of a client side computer system, such as a smart phone, the card reader 345 including a digital camera, laser scanner, Near Field Communication (NFC) device, Radio Frequency ID (RFID) transmission/reception device, magnetic strip reader, or other imaging device. The card reader 345 is adapted to read information from the renter verification card 355 using one or more of image/character recognition, digital code (e.g. QR code, barcode, or other digitally encoded indicia) imaging, RF transmission, NFC transmission, and magnetic reading. Alternatively, information from the card such as the card identifier 120 may be manually entered into an electronic device by the operator 340.

The card reader 345 is configured to transmit to the database 310 the read information, and in response thereto receive from the database 310 verification information recorded in the prospective tenant's tenant profile.

The network 320 in the preferred embodiment is the Internet, and is accessible by the card reader 345 and database 310 by wired and/or wireless means, including optic fibre, copper lines, coaxial cable, Ethernet™ cable, Bluetooth™, Wi-Fi™, CDMA, 3G, 4G, HSPA, and EDGE.

The vetting system 3 allows the operator 340 to obtain the verification information in near-real time. Accordingly, the operator 340 is able to make a decision as to the desirability of the prospective tenant 350 on the spot. Similarly, the prospective tenant 350, in being in possession of a renter verification card 1 , is able to prove their desirability as a tenant to the operator 340 at the time of meeting the operator 340. Accordingly, the prospective tenant 350 has a distinct advantage over other prospective tenants who are not in possession of a renter verification card 1 , and is hence more likely to be successful in securing tenancy at the property owned or managed by the operator 340. The vetting system 3 further allows the operator 340 to determine, in near real time, if the status of existing tenants have changed, for example during a routine inspection of a tenanted property. The database 310, in one variation, has access to the accredited institution to fully or partially update information the tenant profile upon the database receiving a check request from the operator 340.

Referring to Figs. 3 to 1 1 , a smartphone 4 configured as a card reader 345 for reading a renter verification card 1 , and a method for vetting a prospective tenant, according to the preferred embodiment are described. Figs. 4 to 9 each illustrate various views of the smartphone 4 when configured and functioning as the card reader 345. Figs. 4 to 11 may also be taken together as illustrating the steps of the method for vetting the prospective tenant via the renter verification card 1 .

With reference to Fig. 3 and 4, a log in screen 400 is presented on the smartphone 4 to prompt the operator 340 to log into the renter vetting system 3. If the operator 340 has previously logged into the system, and if their login session is still valid, the log in screen 400 may be skipped. The log in screen 400 is configured to receive the operator's login identifier 410, and login password 420. Upon pressing the login button 430, the login identifier 410 and login password 420 are transmitted to the database 310 over the network 320 to verify an identity of the operator 340.

As illustrated in Fig. 5, the smartphone 4 is positioned and operated, for example using the button 510 to read information from the renter verification card 355. In the preferred embodiment, at least the card identifier 120 is read . Additionally, the card owner's name 110, issue date 150, and/or expiry date 160 may also be read. Further in the preferred embodiment, the digitally encoded identifier 130 is scanned to obtain this information. In other embodiments, the card identifier 120 may be read by imaging the card 355 using the smartphone's in-built camera, and processing the image using optical character recognition to determine the card identifier 120. Alternatively, if the card 355 is provided with an RFID or NFC chip, the information may be obtained by reading the RFID/NFC chip using the smartphone's in-built RFID/NFC reader. The card identifier 120 may also be manually typed into the smartphone 4.

Upon receiving at least the card identifier 120, the card identifier 120 and any other information read from the renter verification card 355 is transmitted by the smartphone 4 to the database 310 over the network 320. The database 310 then retrieves the tenant profile corresponding to the card identifier 120. Next, as illustrated in Fig. 6, a confirmation that the card identifier 120 is a valid identifier is displayed to the operator 340. In the event that the database 310 does not find a tenant profile corresponding to the card identifier 120 sent thereto, a negative validation is informed to the operator 340 instead. Receiving a positive validation of the card identifier 120 permits the operator to press the "View Checks" button 610 to view the verification information of the prospective tenant 350.

Fig. 7 illustrates an exemplary verification summary 710 of the prospective tenant 350 which includes screen components rendered by the smartphone 4 on the display of the smartphone 4 upon the operator pressing the "View Checks" button 510. The summary 710 displays the prospective tenant's name 720, and a set of traffic-light indicators 730 for each verification check conducted on the prospective tenant 350. In the case of the example illustrated in Fig. 7, the traffic-light indicators 730 for each verification check is green, indicating that the prospective tenant 350 has passed all verification checks and can therefore be considered a good and desirable tenant.

In the preferred embodiment, the verification summary 710 additionally includes an export button 740 allowing the verification summary 710 to be exported in one or more desired formats. The one or more desired formats include email plain-text, email rich/html-text, email PDF attachment, spreadsheet format, document format, SMS text message, other digital text message (e.g. Whatsapp™, Facebook™ Messenger™, and Google™ Hangouts™), and social media post/message. A further imaging button 750 is provided to allow the operator 340 to continue with the processing of another renter verification card 355.

Fig. 8 illustrates another exemplary verification summary 810. The summary 810 differs from the summary 710 of Fig. 7 in that, in this example, a number of verification checks have been given an amber rating. The amber rating may indicate, for example, that the checks could not be verified due to a change in circumstances since the time of the original check, and/or that the check was conducted too long ago. The summary 810 suggests that the prospective tenant may be an acceptable tenant, but that a greater level of uncertainty is involved compared to that of a prospective tenant with the verification summary 710 illustrated in Fig. 7.

Fig. 9 illustrates a further exemplary verification summary 910. The summary 910 differs from the summary 710 and the summary 810 of Figs. 7 and 8 in that, in this example, a number of verification checks have been given a red rating. The red rating may indicate, for example, that the prospective tenant did not pass the check, and/or that the check was not conducted. The presence of the red ratings suggests that the prospective tenant may be an undesirable tenant.

With reference to Fig. 10, an exemplary operation of the renter vetting system 3 by an operator 340 is described. The operator 340 is for example a real estate agent, property manager, or property owner.

Beginning at 10-1 , the operator 340 may commence operation/use of the renter vetting system 3 for a variety of reasons, and in a number of ways. Assuming, for example, that the operator 340 is new to the system 3, the operator 340 proceeds to 10-2 where the operator performs an initial registration with the database 310. As part of the initial registration, the operator 340 is requested to complete a variety of security questions (10-3) to confirm that the operator 340 is a party that should have access to potentially sensitive information. In the event that the operator 340 is a real estate agent, the security questions may include a license number, agent name, franchise name, company name, business/company registration number, and email address. Upon completion of the security questions, the operator 340 is provided with a username and password allowing the operator 340 to authenticate with the database 310 (10-4). At 10-5, the operator 340 downloads an appropriate application for installation into their smartphone 4. The application enables their smartphone 4 to join the system 3 and operate as a card reader 345. The operator 340 is now ready to use the system 3.

Returning to 10-1 , the operator 340 may, if they have already registered with the system 3, decide to host an open house inspection to rent out a property (10-6). As part of a typical open inspection, the operator 340 hands out standard tenancy application form to prospective tenants (10-7). One or more interested prospective tenants may express their interest by submitting a completed tenancy application form to the operator 340. If the interested prospective tenant is not registered with the renter vetting system 3, he/she completes and submits the standard tenancy application form in the conventional manner known in the art, which will not be further herein described.

Alternatively, if the interested prospective tenant is registered with the renter vetting system 3 and is in possession of a renter verification card 1 , the interested prospective tenant may choose to use their tenant profile to populate the tenancy application form. The pre-populated tenancy application form is automatically populated with details such as the prospective tenant's name, address, age, gender, contact details, and the like, as well as the most recently obtained results of their verification checks.

The pre-populated tenancy application form is generated by providing the renter verification card 1 to the operator 340 for scanning/reading (10-13). Scanning/reading the renter verification card 1 at 10-13 obtains from the database 310 the prospective tenant's details and most recent results of the prospective tenant's verification checks.

If one or more of the verification checks have an amber or red status, and/or the operator 340 for any other reason desires to ensure that the verification checks are the most current, the operator 340 may request for one or more of the verification checks to be updated (10-14). In the preferred embodiment, a cost is payable for the updating of such checks, and such cost is paid by the operator 340.

Payment by the operator 340 to the system 3 is effected at 10-15 and 10-16. At 10-17, the system 3 pays any 3 rd parties necessary to update the verification checks. Such 3 rd parties may include, for example, the federal police, tax office, and the like. At 10-18, the database 310 is updated with the updated checks, and made available to the operator 340 at 10-19.

If desired, the verification checks may be exported as described previously above (10-20). Included within the exporting options is the finalization of the pre- populated residential tenancy application, which can now be fully populated (10-21 ). The fully populated tenancy application is presented to the prospective tenant for signing (10-22), after which the operator 340 may inform the property owner with a high degree of certainty that a good and desirable tenant has been found for their property (10-23).

Additionally, the exported information may be sent to an in-house database belonging to the operator 340 (10-24) and converted to a suitable format specific to the operator 340, whereby the operator's in-house database is populated with desirable tenants.

Returning to 10-1 , the operator 340, once registered with the system 3, may also operate/use the system 3 during a routine inspection of a rented property (10-9). During the inspection of the property (10-10) the current tenant's renter card may be requested (10-11 ), and scanned (10-13). The tenant profile currently stored in the database 310 is provided to the operator 340, and may be fully or partially updated from the accredited institution in a live manner if desired. The operator 340 can hence determine if any circumstances have changed with the tenant, and whether a further verification check update is required.

With reference to Fig. 1 1 , an exemplary operation of the renter vetting system 3 by a prospective tenant 350 is described.

Beginning at 1 1 -1 , the prospective tenant 350 in the illustrate example is assumed to be new to the system 3. Accordingly, the prospective tenant 350 proceeds through 1 1 -2 and 1 1 -3 to commence sign up with the system 3.

In the preferred embodiment, a fee is charged at 1 1 -14 to the prospective tenant 350 for joining the system 3. At 1 1 -5, the prospective tenant 350 is required to complete a test or assessment, confirming that they are familiar with their rights and responsibilities as a tenant. At 1 1 -6, the tenant completes a variety of online forms to provide the necessary information and/or consent for a range of verification checks to be performed on the prospective tenant 350. As previously described, such verification checks include, for example, a check of the rental database, identity, tenancy history, criminal record, employment, financial history, and the like.

In the preferred embodiment, the information collected at 1 1 -6 is collated by and/or sent to a single processing entity for processing (1 1 -7). For example, if implemented in Australia, the information collected at 1 1 -6 may be collated by and/or sent to the government run post office organization for processing.

Upon receiving the collected information, the processing entity conducts as many of the verification checks as they are authorized to do. The verification checks that the processing entity is not authorized to do are submitted to the appropriate authorities (1 1 -8), such as the federal police, tax office, and the like, together with a consent form consenting the processing entity to request such a check from the appropriate authorities. The consent forms would be included in the information collected at 1 1 -6, for example.

At 11 -9, where required, the prospective tenant 350 attends one or more of the processing entity and appropriate authorities in person to complete the verification checks. Verification checks which require the prospective tenant 350 to attend in person include, for example, the identity check. Results of verification checks which do not require the attendance of the prospective tenant 350 may be sent electronically to the system 3 (11 -10).

At 11 -1 1 , the results of all verification checks are received by the system 3, and the tenant's profile is updated to record the results. An instruction and tenant specific information such as the prospective tenant's name and identity number are then sent to a card printing/fabrication company for printing/fabrication (1 1 -22).

At 1 1 -23, the prospective tenant 350 receives his/her unique renter verification card 1 .

Once the prospective tenant 350 is in receive of their verification card 1 , the prospective tenant 350 is recognized as a user of the system 3 (1 1 -12) and may log into the system 3 (11 -13) to perform a range of functions.

Included in this range of functions are updating the tenant's personal details (1 1 -14), and updating other aspects of their profile (1 1 -15). The personal details and aspects of the profile that may be updated include date of birth, current address, contact information, driver license numbers, social security numbers, medicare/insurance numbers, passport numbers, emergency contacts, next of kin, car registrations, and the like.

Additionally, the prospective tenant 350 may also download a similar (or same) application as that previously described and used by the operator 340, so as to configure the tenant's smartphone or other electronic device to operate with the system 3, and function as a card reader 345 (1 1 -16).

Configuring their own electronic device to operate with the system 3 and function as a card reader 345 allows the prospective tenant 350 to check on their own verification summary, and take steps if necessary to upgrade one or more of their verification checks from a red or amber status to a green status, for example. Doing so also allows the prospective tenant 350 to act as an operator 340, for example in the event that the prospective tenant 350 has him/herself a property to rent out. Such an occurrence would be prevalent if the prospective tenant 350 was, for example, a user of the AirBnB™ or similar platform.

Should the prospective tenant 350 desire to update one or more of their verification checks, for example in the event that one or more such checks has expired or if the tenant's circumstances have changed recently, this can be done through the application installed on the tenant's electronic device (11 -18).

Costs for updating and/or performing new verification checks are paid by the prospective tenant 350 to the system 3 (1 1-19 and 1 1 -20). Where necessary, the system 3 effects payment to other appropriate authorities to perform new checks or updates existing checks. Results from the new/updated verification checks are recorded in the database 310 (1 1 -1 1 ). A new scan/reading of the prospective tenant's verification card 1 will accordingly retrieve and display these results from the most recent/updated verification checks.

The smartphone 4 is configured to perform the method illustrated in Figs. 4 to

11 by executing on the smartphone 4 an appropriate application. The application includes a set of instructions for controlling the smartphone 4 in a predetermined manner to effect the method, such as to cause the smartphone 4 to display appropriate screens, receive and present information to the operator 340, communicate with and over the network 320, operate the in-built imaging device, and the like.

Fig. 12 illustrates a schematic diagram of an application 12 suitable for installation in an electronic device such as a smartphone to configure the smartphone as a card reader 345 for use with the renter vetting system 3.

The application 12 includes an interface manager module 1210 for interfacing with the camera, reader, input device, and display device of the electronic device. The interface manager module 1210 includes, for example, code for causing the electronic device to transmit and receive RF signals, and/or emit a light source to read a graphical code (e.g. QR code or barcode), and/or to capture an image with the device's camera. The interface manager module 1200 further includes code for causing a display of the electronic device to display information, and/or receive input in the case that the display is a touchscreen display.

The application 12 further includes a decoder module 1220. The decode module 1220 includes code for decoding the data received from the camera/reader. The decoder module 1220 may be, for example, a QR code decoder, barcode decoder, RF transmission protocol decoder, or an optical character recognition (OCR) module.

The decoder module 1220 communicates information decoded from the data, such as a card identifier 120, to a communications manager module 1230. The communication manager module 1230 includes code for instructing a communication device of the electronic device to transmit the data through the network 320 to the database 310, and subsequently receive data back from the database 310.

The data received back from the database 310 includes, for example, the results of verification checks, traffic light statuses of the verification checks, personal particulars of the tenant, and the like. The data is formatted into meaningful information by the interface manager module 1210 for display.

An exemplary configuration of an electronic device 13 suitable for executing the application 12 is illustrated in Fig. 13. The electronic device 13 includes a processor 1310, memory 1320, storage 1330, display 1340, network adapter 1350, and bus 1360.

The processor 1310 is configured dynamically by the application 12 to effect the functions required by each of the application modules 1210, 1220, 1230. The memory 1320 provides volatile storage to facilitate execution of the application 12, for example, as operational storage of the application 12 itself and variables used by the modules 1210, 1220, 1230.

The storage 1330 provides non-volatile storage of the application 12, wherein the application 12 can be stored when not in used. The display 1340 is provided to output information to the operator 340. Preferably, the display 1340 is a touchscreen display, whereby input can also be received thereby from the operator 340. The network adapter 1350 is a communications device for providing external communications to and from the electronic device 13, such as to and from the network 320, and thereby the database 210. ADVANTAGES

Advantageously, the embodiment, in accordance with the invention, is used for managing verification checks in relation to prospective tenants. It follows that the system provides a means for property agents and property owners to more objectively, consistently, and accurately determine the credibility and desirability of a prospective tenant.

In particular, the system enables a property agent when meeting a prospective tenant on site, to perform a verification check in relation to the prospective there and then.

In one embodiment, the system disclose statuses of the verification checks, as opposed to details of the information used for the status checks, thereby rendering the verification less invasive when done on the spot in person.

Moreover, the present invention allows prospective tenants to credibly illustrate their credentials as a good tenant, and to also identify areas in which they can improve, in a non-invasive manner. The present invention achieves the above in near-real time, limited essentially only by the speed of the network, database, and card reader.

VARIATIONS

It will of course be realized that while the foregoing has been given by way of illustrative example of this invention, all such and other modifications and variations thereto as would be apparent to persons skilled in the art are deemed to fall within the broad scope and ambit of this invention as is herein set forth.

Throughout the description and claims of this specification the word "comprise" and variations of that word such as "comprises" and "comprising", are not intended to exclude other additives, components, integers or steps.