CLEAR is a technology company that helps with expediting clearing security at select US airports. The company stores the biometric data of members, allowing them to (typically) skip the ID check, and get straight into the security line. Combined with TSA PreCheck, this is the best setup you can have for clearing security in the US.
If you’re a member of CLEAR Plus, you probably received an email from the company about “upgrading” to the company’s new NextGen Identity+ system. The email isn’t very clear about what exactly is changing, so I wanted to cover those details in this post.
In this post:
CLEAR NextGen Identity+ offers facial recognition
Currently CLEAR uses biometric data to verify the identity of passengers. Specifically, you have to go up to one of the CLEAR kiosks, and then use either your iris or fingerprint in order to verify who you are.
Personally I always choose the iris option, since I prefer a contactless experience whenever possible. However, I do find the system to be a bit finicky, as I often have to stare at the screen for an extended period of time before it recognizes me.
Fortunately CLEAR is upgrading the technology it uses to verify the identity of members. In 2024, CLEAR is moving toward using facial recognition. If this works as promised, it should make CLEAR operate significantly more smoothly, since there won’t be a need to go up to a kiosk anymore, but rather facial technology can quickly verify your identity. As CLEAR describes it, this will allow members to be verified in a way where you “don’t break your stride.”
At many airports we’ve seen CLEAR have quite some queues, so hopefully this change will make things move more quickly.
How to “upgrade” to CLEAR NextGen Identity+
CLEAR Plus members are required to “upgrade” to the new NextGen Identity+ system over the next year. If you’re a member, you should have received an email prompting you to upgrade to the new program.
In the email you received, you should have been asked to verify your phone number. You just have to enter your phone number, and then have a code sent to that number, at which point you’ll be verified.
The next step is that starting November 30, 2023, you’re supposed to bring a valid form of ID (such as a passport, state ID, or driver’s license) to a CLEAR kiosk at an airport, to complete the one-time upgrade to NextGen Identity+.
Why do you need to provide an ID again, given that CLEAR already has ID on file for its members? CLEAR explains that “this enhanced standard builds on our multi-factor enrollment process and now includes data directly from the issuing source.”
Note that even once you verify your identity, you won’t necessarily immediately be able to start using the new technology. Instead, this will be rolled out at airports throughout 2024, presumably once most (or all?) members are verified.
CLEAR is making updates to how it verifies the identity of members. Starting at some point in 2024, the company will no longer use biometric data like iris or fingerprint scans, but instead will use facial recognition. Existing members will need to verify their identity at a CLEAR kiosk in the coming months, in order to be able to start using this technology.
What do you make or CLEAR moving to NextGen Identity+?