KYB know your Business

Know Your Business: The Next Step in Identity Verification

The complex regulatory environment and increased exposure to illegal activities indicate that business verification is in the best interest of regulated companies eyeing long term stability. According to the UNDOC, money laundering is estimated at 2-5% of global GDP, amounting to almost $2 trillion. Digital data breaches have also increased substantially over the recent past, with rising threats of virtual ID theft.  

In order to counter this, banks are spending more than $48 million on due diligence and KYB processes, with rising onboarding costs, as reported by the Thomsons Reuters’ survey. 

With the advancement in digital technologies and virtual data sets, KYB compliance and verification tools can help mark businesses that are involved in undercover activities and transactions. International requirements of both KYB and AML are increasingly reflecting the need to secure business transactions and prevent illicit financial flows from entering the formal sector. 

The Regulatory Approach to KYB

Businesses face strict regulations that require them to identity and verify customers before onboarding them. The 4th AML Directive, in particular, puts emphasis on stringent audit trails that help prevent fraud and financial crime. For this purpose, Digital Verification Services such as KYC and AML screening have proven to be significantly effective in improving compliance procedures. 

In a similar tune, regulatory requirements, such as the AMLD5 directive, now demand strict evaluation of both individual clients and commercial entities before carrying out business with them. This is to ensure that financial institutions and other businesses can avoid being connected to illegal transactions conducted by their clients. 

Money launderers often get under the cover of businesses and the EU is rolling our stricter regulations for customer due diligence to stamp out aggressors. For regulated companies, this translates into a legal compliance requirement for which the adoption of a duplicate screening process for suppliers, vendors and traders becomes important. Other regulations such as the GDPR, PSD2, and FinCEN also require companies to be aware of the Ultimate Beneficiary Owners (UBOs) of entities before beginning a relationship. 

According to new registration demands of the AML directive, all EU states are required to maintain national registers of beneficial ownership information on corporations and other legal entities. All companies and their owners now have to get their details registered, making it all the more easy to identify individuals involved in illegal activities through a business. Information of such regulated businesses will be made available to companies with a legal interest in business relationships.

KYB Process 

Similar to KYC, Know Your Business (KYB) is a Verification Solution that cross-checks business identity by extracting official commercial register data using APIs. Using a business’ registration number and jurisdiction code, an efficient digital KYB service can collect verifiable information for the business. 

Access to automated commercial registers through a data-powered business verification service make the due diligence process swift and free of errors, while saving valuable time and manpower. 

Business Search 

 

This includes background data on the company: registered address, current status, company type, UBOs, previous name, trademark registration. A financial summary of the company’s operational accounts is also provided by the authentication service, in order to better validate its authenticity. 

Business FIlings

 

In addition, business filings offer instant, verifiable information about company financials; access to financial statements, sources and links to downloadable reports (such as register reports, annual accounts and shareholder lists). 

Business Statements 

 

Business statements can help companies stay on top of changes in management and organisation of connecting businesses. A change in directors or beneficiary owners can also reflect an evolving business environment, indicating the need for followup information on business matters. 

Business Networks

 

Detailed information on corporate structure also provides insights into parent entities and lists of company subsidiaries (child, sister companies). Key factors under consideration are also based on the country in which the business is registered, the nature of business activities and the value of transactions it carries out. 

Challenges in KYB

 

By far, one of the foremost challenges in KYB compliance lies in accessing beneficial ownership information, especially in jurisdictions that do not require companies to submit relevant documentation. A lack of shareholder information can make it harder to investigate money trails and business authenticity, leading to potential non-compliance costs. 

Timely availability of data, in the right format, is also another hindrance, especially as company structures and management change over time. Storage and interpretation of data is also subject to a number of factors, mainly centering on companies adopting a manual approach to due diligence processes. 

Moreover, companies that are currently implementing KYC processes have ample room for improvement in process efficiency, costing banks millions of dollars in lost time. It follows that digitization of KYB verification solutions will also be a tedious process of hit-and-trial before firms can grab its full potential. 

Business Verification: Moving Forward

 

When it comes to risky transactions, regulatory authorities are not ready to bend their rules. The 6th AML Directive is also ready to be implemented soon, which indicates little or no leniency for financial institutions or businesses in the coming future. Therefore, KYB is central to the efficiency and transparency of firms doing business. 

Data analytics software that aggregate and updates information about businesses assists stakeholders in keeping tabs on their operations and practices, as well as fulfilling due diligence requirements of KYB.

As a one-stop solution for business verification, Shufti Pro offers a cost-effective solution of due diligence review of companies. With an electronic identity verification (eIDV) service, the authentication process for business entities is made easier and more accurate. The integration of APIs and data-driven systems now allow easier extraction of data, as well as smoother coordination mechanisms for compliance review. 

Transparent B2B Relations 

 

As a pre-emptive measure, businesses can use KYB solutions as fraud covers in case of a breach. Using the right mix of technology and support, full coverage of business financials and organizational structure can be accessed in order to trace business activities. This also allows firms to maintain updated company databases for better workflows. 

Business reputation is also incumbent upon due diligence processes that are reliable and foolproof. As a consequence, identification and verification of the beneficial ownership of connecting entities is vital to solving verification challenges.

Effortless Regulatory Compliance

 

A user-friendly interface allows businesses to fulfill regulatory compliance needs without any friction. Potential losses and non-compliance penalties diminish productivity for firms willing to extend their business networks. Reputational damage is also a leading cause of business failure when it comes to carrying out business with suspicious entities. 

With a comprehensive approach to risk mitigation, online KYB authentication services provide strong risk-shields against such losses, securing long term benefits for all concerned parties. 

 

Age Verification - Does Your Business Need It?

Age Verification – Does Your Business Need It?

Several businesses are unaware of the significance that age verification holds for their business. UK gambling firms paid £19.6m in penalties due to money laundering and under-age gambling conducted on their platforms. 

Regulatory authorities are introducing stringent Anti Money Laundering (AML) and age-restricted selling regulations to eliminate the risk of money laundering and under-age gambling addiction. 

For example, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission amended the identity verification and KYC regulations for online gambling sites. The new regulations require online gambling websites to verify at least the name, address, and age of their players before onboarding them. The previously registered players should be verified as well. 

With strict changes in the age-verification regimes, the businesses need to gain in-depth knowledge about verification, its methods, and benefits. Several businesses need to incorporate age-verification software in their systems due to one reason or another but are unaware of urgency due to lack of awareness. 

What Is Age Verification?

Age verification is a process in which the identity document of the user/customer of a business is screened to verify if the age information provided is true or not. This process can be performed manually or through an automated process. Manual verification is not practiced commonly because it has a high risk of human error and the process is hefty. 

To solve this problem online age verification is used widely by many businesses. It helps in remote age verification of customers from any corner of the world. 

How is Online Age Verification Performed?

How is Online Age Verification Performed?

 

Online age verification is a swift process that shows results within a minute saving a lot of time and effort of the fraud officer and compliance department. 

  • The end-user (your customer) is asked to enter his date of birth and show his ID Card or another identity document (passport, driving license) bearing his date of birth. 
  • The system screens the document for default format and matches the date of birth on the document with that added by the end-user. 
  • Once the verification process is completed the results are shown to the end-user and updated in the back office. 

Why Businesses Need Age Verification?

 

The significant reasons why businesses need to verify the age of their customers are listed below:

Regulatory Compliance

 

Regulatory compliance is often one of the major reasons why businesses need to verify the age of their customers is regulatory compliance. Regulations in several countries like the UK and the USA have made age-verification necessary for some businesses and huge penalties are imposed in case of non-compliance. 

Regulatory compliance helps businesses in gaining credit rating and market value. 

Corporate Social Responsibility

 

Corporate Social Responsibility includes the operations and activities of a business that do not reap monetary gain but help it in improving its market value and brand image among the masses. 

Businesses that sell age-restricted products can use age-verification to show their commitment to the benefit of the masses. Children die every day due to unhealthy consumption of drugs and alcohol, 442 children died in the U.S. in 2015 due to drug overdose. Alcohol sellers should use age verification to play their part in decreasing deaths due to the under-age consumption of alcohol. 

It will help the liquor store in gaining prominence as a regulatory compliant and socially responsible business. 

Risk of Fake Identities

 

Often the children use the identity cards of their parents/elders to buy goods online. In such cases, if a business does not use identity verification it might end up losing its credibility and will also face penalties.

Another source of risk for some businesses is when identity thieves use the identities of other people to get free services and benefits. Often some benefits like pension and old age funds are given to needy people. Criminals might use fake identities to gain those benefits illegally. 

Businesses That Need to Verify The Age of Their Customer

 

Online alcohol stores have a high-risk because they have no face to face interaction with their customers. So, it is very easy for children to buy drugs and alcohol online by using the ID card number of their parents or elders. 

Several Businesses need to use online age verification to gain the benefits mentioned above. It is a common belief that only gaming and gambling websites need ID verification but the reality is the other way round. Below is a list of businesses that need to verify the age of their customers: 

 

  • Online gaming and gambling websites

 

Online gaming and gambling websites are under the strict scrutiny of the regulatory authorities. They need to run in-depth KYC on the gamers before onboarding them and age-verification is a necessary part of this regulation. The major reason is to reduce gaming addiction among youngsters. Also, most of these sites are not suitable for underage kids. 

Online age verification helps online gaming businesses to reduce the risk of non-compliance penalties by providing global coverage in age verification. It reduces the hassle of regulatory compliance by providing swift results. It helps businesses in retaining legitimate customers and keeping minors at the bay.  

 

  • E-commerce Spaces 

 

E-commerce is a huge market. Often such platforms have a diverse range of products, some of them are suitable for minors and the others are only for adults. Such platforms have a hard time managing their audience because regulations related to age-verification are imposed on such platforms as well. 

For example, if an online store sells grocery items and liquor as well in its products range then he will need to introduce roadblocks in its website design to mitigate the sales to minors. In this case, online age verification software proves to be an efficient tool for seamless risk prevention.  

 

  • Drug stores and hospitals (medical marijuana)

 

Online drug stores and hospitals have the right to sell some very expensive drugs. Often such drugs prove to be fatal if used inappropriately. Online drug stores and hospitals (serving online or physically) are developed with the intention to serve needy patients with prescribed drugs. 

Children use the prescriptions of their parents to get drugs. In such cases the children often get addicted to these drugs and the parents or the drug store/hospital is unaware of the damage made due to their negligence. 

 

  • Online lottery websites 

 

It is a common practice to use the stolen identities of minors to onboard online lottery websites. These websites are exploited by criminals to wash their black money. In case a lottery website does not verify the age of its customers before onboarding them it will face multiple consequences if a criminal will launder money through their platform using the identity of a minor.

The lottery website will have to pay penalties for underage selling and non-compliance with AML regulations. So, age-verification is inevitable to avoid harsh regulatory fines and reputational loss.

 

  • NGOs and Govt. Pension Funds

 

NGOs and Government organizations have many beneficiary programs for senior citizens such programs include, food tokens, pensions, health benefits, tax deductions, etc. Criminals use the identity cards of these people to get benefits illegally. These organizations need to run KYC processes including age-verification, to reduce the loss of needy people. 

 

  • Legal sector

 

The legal sector needs to run KYC and AML screening on their customer for compliance with AML regimes. At times the legal representatives are in a situation where the rights are transferred to a person after he/she reaches a certain age. In such cases, people often use fake IDs to manipulate legal representatives. 

Online identity verification and age verification software will be very useful in such cases, as it will help the legal representatives in swift KYC screening along with age verification within a minute. It makes the whole verification process easier for the clients and the legal representatives as well. 

Government agencies can use age verification for e-voting. It will reduce the hassle and cost of election a lot. Stringent identity verification and real-time age verification measures will reduce the risk of fraud in the election. 

To wrap up, the benefits and use-cases of age verification are way beyond the general understanding of the masses. Many businesses can utilize age-verification software to increase their customer retention and fraud prevention. It helps the businesses in streamlining their security operations by onboarding secure clients.

 

 

New Rules by the UK Gambling Commission and Their Impact

New Rules by the UK Gambling Commission and Their Impact

The UK Gambling Commission announced new gambling rules earlier this year to make gambling safer and fairer. Since online operators are required to follow these new rules, it has sparked an interesting debate since gambling platforms are to verify the age and identity of customers before they can gamble.

The gambling business is growing at a staggering pace. According to the Gambling Commission, 

“Statistics show that industry profits (1) from the sector have grown 10% to 4.7bn in the last year, and public participation has increased from 15.5% in 2014 to 18.3% in 2017. It is estimated that nine million people across Britain gamble online.”  

Safety for Children

Previously, the customers did not have to verify their age at the time of gambling. They could verify within 72 hours, making it possible for underage participants to enter a game. The operator, however, was not allowed to release the winning unless the person verified their age. And if found underage, they would be denied the winnings.

Under the new rules, the player cannot enter the tournament unless they verify their age. They can’t even deposit funds in their account or use free bets or even play with someone else’s money unless they prove their age.

The rules are much stricter now as it applies to free-to-play games as well. Technically these games do not constitute gambling since there is no real prize money involved, however, legally the underage participants still cannot participate.

Fairer Gambling Environment

There have been incidents where gambling platforms have asked for additional ID information when a winner tries to withdraw. Almost 15% of the complaints were about incidents where people were unfairly prevented from claiming their winnings. 

Under the new rules, all the required information such as name, address, and date of birth, is collected before the customer funds his account. Remote licensees are required to verify these things at the very beginning. If there is a need, they should promptly ask for additional information. 

They are also required to inform the participants about the identity documents and other information they might be required and take any necessary steps to maintain that information. These changes will help prevent fraud or criminal activities. Now the operators won’t be able to come up with excuses of asking for additional information while withdrawing funds.

In general, when the operators have such information, they can prevent harm and detect any illegal activity. 

Another impact of the new rules is that the person will be identified if they have been self-excluded. Verification by operators will mean that unless the customer verifies their details or provides the required info, they won’t be allowed to gamble. The operator can check these details against their own database as well as the one that Gamstop is holding.

How are these changes helping the population?

First, children and minors will be protected from the harmful impact of gambling. Second, people will also be shielded from fraud and other gambling-related crimes. And third, upon withdrawing their winnings the customers will receive those without unnecessary delays.   

Britain is the largest regulated gambling market in the world. It is imperative that it should be held up to the highest standards of regulations. The new rules were proposed after an official review of online gambling. 

In a nutshell, the changes intend to achieve the following;

  • Protect children and ban operators from providing free-to-play games unless the customers’ age is verified
  • The new process should increase the speed and accuracy of age verification
  • Improving the effectiveness of age verification processes
  • Operators can limit the spending of players based on their affordability
  • Ensure that unacceptable marketing and promotions are minimized as much as possible
  • Handling disputes and complaints swiftly and efficaciously
  • Helping customers with better interaction who might be experiencing (or on the verge of facing) gambling-related problems.

Of course, the reviews and improvements will not stop. We can expect more changes and going forward. For example, the gambling commission will likely suggest improvements in gambling-related products.   

Other suggested improvements for the future, mentioned in the UK’s gambling commission website are;

  • Reviewing requirements on the protection of customer funds. This also entails evaluating the current protection measures and checking dormant accounts
  • Examining the limits of gambling credit
  • Analyzing changes to make sure that consumers can easily withdraw funds

Why the Need for Changes in Rules?

Simply put, the old rules had loopholes that were not in the customers’ best interests. For instance, three companies (Daub Alderney, Casumo and Videoslots) were fined a total of £14m for failing to implement effective measures that prevented money laundering and protected customers from gambling-related harm.  

As an extreme example, the gambling license of CZ Holdings was revoked after their license review. The company is now banned from providing gambling services in Britain. 

The crackdown is not unjust since the old form of rules was simply being followed in letter but not in spirit. Neil McArthur, the Commission CEO, is taking a strict stance on the rules. He mentioned that it is not enough to simply put policies in place, the participants need to understand the rules and should take responsibility for following and implementing them.

The following is a snippet of the changes in the rules, and compares them with the old ones;

Change Previous New
Age Verification Online operators have been allowed 72 hrs to carry out age verification checks, which gives a slot to underage participants to gamble   Operators are obligated to verify the age of participants before they can deposit money in their account
Identity Verification Gambling operators were not required to check for KYC (know your customer) before depositing money in the account, only after the participants have gambled Operators are obligated to verify the name, address and date of birth of the player before they allow them to gamble
Eligible Games Not mandatory Underage participants are not allowed to play free gambling games (even though no money is involved)

When KYC is in check, it gives the operators more leverage to protect participants from harm. These checks also protect the participants from manipulative operators who try to put hurdles when withdrawing. Since the ID and related info is already submitted, it means that the operators cannot demand it when someone wins the bet.

Under the new rules, the shady online operators who demand unnecessary identity checks only when the customer tries to withdraw winnings cannot exploit the system. Just because of the new rules 15% of complaints regarding this particular issue can now be resolved. 

What this means is that the operators need to check someone’s age before they gamble and not after. This deterrence prevents children and underage individuals from gambling online, and hence, inhibits gambling-related harm.

The UK Gambling Commission has not prescribed exactly how the procedure should be carried out. But then this discretion should not give them freehand, as they have to comply and implement the rules to the best of their abilities.    

A Short Intro to the UK Gambling Laws

The new legislation aims to protect children and illegal gambling. It also assists gamblers to make safer bets and protects them from gambling-related fraud. Moreover, it protects children and people under self-exclusion options to help them overcome gambling addiction.

According to the definition of Gambling Act of 2005, it is “betting, gaming or participating in a lottery.”

Then there are six main types of gambling;

  1. Arcade: Adult and family games 
  2. Casinos: Both online and live casinos
  3. Lotteries: This includes tombolas, sweepstakes, and raffles.
  4. Betting: Online or bookmakers
  5. Bingo: Online and bingo halls
  6. Gaming machines: Examples include betting and fruit machines.

With the exception of arcades all gambling portals are regulated. Arcades are partially regulated. AGCs (gaming for adults) and FECs (gaming open to families) require gambling licenses from the Gambling Commission. UFECs (arcades that are open to families but do not serve alcohol) only require a local permit.

The latest risk rating by the UK Gambling Commission is as follows;

Gambling Sector Current Overall Risk Rating
Remote (casinos, bingo, and betting) High
Lotteries (remote and non-remote) Low
Gaming machines, technical gambling software (remote and nonremote)  Medium
Casinos (nonremote) High
Bingo (nonremote) Medium
Betting (nonremote) On-course Low
Betting (nonremote) Off-course High
Family entertainment centers Low
Arcades (nonremote) Medium

This classification helps in understanding the new rules and their needs. It also helps to see the areas where the Commission is focused on. 

In this risk-based supervision and risk management, digital identity services will be promoted. The entity responsible for risk management is the Gambling Commission among others. The due date is set for October 2019. Also, enhancing overseas capabilities on an ongoing basis is on their agenda. 

Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) will be working with the New Digital Identity Unit along with private and public partners to promote digital identity services.    

What is the minimum age to legally gamble in the UK?

One needs to be at least 18 years old to legally gamble, be it online or live. Gambling operators, sportsbooks and online casinos are legally required to confirm that the participant is at least 18 years old. They usually confirm the age through ID and other supporting documents, if the need be.

An exception here is that 16-year-olds can participate in lotteries, football pools, and scratch cards. 

What will happen if an operator does not verify the age? 

The UK takes gambling violations very seriously. The players will not be given their winnings if they get caught. It means that the players must take it seriously that when they read “you must be 18 years old to access this website.”

Here is a short table that compares the legal age for gambling in different countries. 

Country Legal Age for Gambling
Germany 18 or 21 depending on the state
Greece 21
France 18
United States 21

The Rules regarding Lottery are a little Different

The UK’s National Lottery follows stricter rules. The lottery has been running since 1993 and includes different games like Lotto and Thunderball. Gamblers in the UK can participate in pan-European and EuroMillions lottery, which include nine different countries.      

Please note that 28% of the lottery prize goes to “Good Causes,” and this has raised over £40 billion to date. 12% of the prize pool goes to the state and 15% covers the cost of running the lottery and selling tickets. 

According to the Uk Gambling Commission Act 2005, the list of offenses is quite long. Here we share a small part of the major gambling-related offenses.

Offense Fine
Gambling by an underage individual £1000
Employing an underage person to provide gambling facilities 51 weeks in prison and/or £5,000 fine
Cheating, attempting to cheat, or assisting 

someone to cheat at gambling

51 weeks in prison and/or £5,000 fine
Operating gambling facility without 

A licence or permit

51 weeks in prison and/or £5,000 fine
Violating advertising regulations 51 weeks in prison and/or £5,000 fine
Offering a machine without a licence or permit 51 weeks in prison and/or £5,000 fine

Let’s review the new rules by UK Gambling Commission to license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) and their implications. These have risen the standards for alternative dispute resolution (ADR). More importantly, these have boosted the obligations regarding how licensees interact with those customers that might be at the risk of gambling-related harm. 

The latest changes will be applied later this year and the next year.

Changes to Alternative Resolution Providers (ADR)

The new rules make it an obligation for gambling businesses to only use those ADR providers that meet the additional standards along with the ADR regulations. Customer service, governance, and decision making fall under these additional standards. This makes the role of an ADR provider clearer. It also reassures the customers that the provider is objective (independent of gambling operations).   

The gambling operators are also required to interact with customers that might be vulnerable to being harmed. This has strengthened the requirements to interact with the customers.   

Note that these rules will come into effect on 31 October 2019.

The commission aims to make operators more responsible and encourages them to cooperate under voluntary arrangements for research funding. The funds will go to the  National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in Britain. This aims to support greater transparency of the funds that the gambling businesses contribute over time.

These rules regarding operators and their contribution to research, prevention, and treatment of gambling fraud/harm will come into effect on 1 January 2020.

The Easiest Way for Gambling Operators to Comply with the UK Gambling Commission New Rules

At Shufti Pro, we excel at real-time age and identity verification. Our mission is to follow and assist in implementing KYC and AML (anti-money laundering) regulatory compliance. Read our blog post for details on how we provide age verification for online gambling platforms.

We normally perform age verification immediately after completing the online identity verification. 

Identity verification is a multistep process where the end-user (gambling player in this case) is assessed for authenticity. This also helps establish the fact that they are who they claim to be. Once this is done, we can move on to age verification. For this, we normally require a government-issued ID document. Usually, driving license, ID card or a passport is used to verify age.   

With optical character recognition (OCR) we readily extract information from documents. This works so well for operators since they can perform age verification as part of the identity verification. 

How API-based Technologies Can Transform the Future of Online Marketplace

How API-based Technologies Can Transform the Future of Online Marketplace

API Based Technologies: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are giving advanced ways of digitizing businesses. Multiple online marketplaces are extending their services using external and internal APIs. This helps online businesses increase customer traffic by providing them better user experience. It is estimated that out of 7.7 billion global population, 1.92 billion people are digital buyers (which is increasing incredibly). The reason is the advanced API technology that is playing a key role in the online marketplace in attracting customers. There are around 224 marketplace APIs available which include internet APIs, browser APIs, and a variety of product APIs. Online businesses are going beyond basic API management to create a full-fledged API marketplace to connect the producers and consumers rapidly.

What are APIs?

APIs are a set of procedures and functions through which applications are built to access the services, data or features of a system. Today, companies avoid the installation of multiple software and their management. All they do is that they use APIs as SaaS (Software as a Service) and integrate several APIs depending upon the need of their business. Those APIs then connect the producers and consumers to provide desired services. API management on the other side is a platform that manages the APIs. It helps APIs behave evenly according to their standards and services. API management supervises all the security, speed and compliance-related policies provided to the businesses.

How does the API-based technology works?

Multiple APIs (depending on the need) are integrated with the application. The API interface runs and delivers information from the application that you are using to the system over the internet. The response from the system then comes back and delivers the data to the application. Through each step in this process, the interaction is continuous between the system and the application. APIs ensure the interaction between the services, data, applications, and systems. This data varies from cloud applications to the online marketplace, it is the responsibility of APIs to assure connectivity.
The market volume of AI-based technology is rising rapidly from the last five years…
A broad interest in enterprise-oriented technologies is seen in the past few years. These technologies include SaaS, AI, big data, IoT, and microservices. APIs are the focus of all these areas. The communication and deliverance of several services are possible through APIs. Today, the accumulation of customers in the online marketplace due to the integration of APIs with their system. These APIs provide better user experience and facilitation to the companies.
Salesforce is a software company that generates its 50% revenue through APIs. Whereas, eBay is generating 60% and Expedia is generating 90% revenue through APIs. 75% of mobile applications use internal APIs to provide its customers with multiple features and services. The integration of Facebook and Twiter APIs is increasing the demand for more APIs.

API Based Technologies and Online Marketplace

Identity Verification APIs

Over $445 billion is lost annually due to security breaches. The security of online stores should, therefore, be taken into consideration. Security APIs are available for e-commerce stores to integrate with their system that provides encrypted APIs to secure their system from attacks. Identity verification APIs help online businesses to identify and verify the customers onboard to avoid credit card fraud and online payment scams. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) Complained APIs are integrated with the systems to ensure that fraudsters do not enter into the system and perform malicious activities. There are multiple verification techniques available through APIs that system integrates according to their system need. Verification can be done using multiple documents, facial recognition, video verification or handwritten notes. For these verification methods, separate APIs are available which can help the online marketplace to secure their system. Even if it is an online account opening service by banks, the banking industry needs to ensure that the traffic coming into their system is honest. API Based Technologies help financial institutions which are offering online services to their customer to verify that they are protecting their system from all kinds of vulnerabilities.

Speed Efficient APIs

To provide customers a fast onboarding experience, many speed reliability APIs are available that ensure robust processing. These APIs not only facilitates the customers but also at the administration end, provide smooth system management. Also, shipping and delivery APIs are part of the online marketplace to track the parcel until it is delivered to the customer. These APIs help reduce the error rate and complexities associated with the sorting done manually. To coordinate with the customer regarding their parcel status, shipping, and delivery APIs help to achieve the goal of better user experience.

Payment Handling APIs

Payment Handling APIs provide the customer with an easy interface to add their card and payment details. These APIs help both customers and administration analyze and manage transactions properly.

Future Prospects of API based Technologies

In natural language processing, predictive analytics APIs are emerging. These APIs combine enormous data which includes text, visual data, location, network and information gathered through mobile phones. The APIs are getting more secure with encryption and cryptographic technologies. APIs are profiting several industries with many reliable services which include commerce, retail, financial services, the gaming industry, and entertainment.
In the future, APIs will be managing all the data more efficiently and jump into the data management of the sensor’s level. The advance level security of blockchain will be made sure through APIs. the data gathered through IoT devices will be managed and flew through APIs. Not only this, almost all industries are using APIs to advance their systems to provide better user experience and generate more customers.
Just like Amazon Cloud Service is using data-driven through API Based technologies, a different system integrating with APIs can utilize the API-driven data for multiple processings and training purposes. That data can be used for verification and AI model training purpose. By examining the endpoints of API, documentation will be generated automatically.

Conclusion

An online marketplace is revolutionizing with the help of multiple integrated APIs. APIs help reliable communication of applications with another system. They also provide user-friendly interfaces to engage the customers. These APIs are internally linked with their system to provide a secure, reliable and better user experience.

Millenials Bank

Why Millennials don’t care about Conventional Banking Services?

Millennials are different from the baby boomer generation. They earn less than what the previous generation was earning at their age. It is odd that the banks have been unable to capture the market of millennials – the perfect target audience right now. However, faster customer identity verification can make banks millennial-friendly. 

Overview of Millenials

Millennials are the first of their kind – the true digital natives! 

They are internet savvy and armed with smartphones, which they check dozens of times a day. We are talking about people currently in the age group of 18-34. Smartphones play a huge role in their lives. 

The banks have started to think in terms of apps and online services. Also, the young generation is prone to fast internet.

What does internet speed have to do with customer identity verification?

A lot!

Banks are not selling toys or stationery. They have to comply with the financial regulations in providing their services. Say, a millennial wants to open a bank account. The ideal or expected way would be to open it over the internet. But not many banks are providing these services currently.

Why Banks have a hard time Capturing Millenials 

The millennials are not happy with the conventional banking system. They do not have to depend on any particular bank or service in most cases. An army of Fintech companies and products are swarming the markets. 

But despite the banks’ marketing, they are not there where they would like to be, in fact, they are far from it. If there is a bug in the app of a bank, the young customer would not like to wait for it to get fixed. They would like to know, which service is better and faster. 

Moreover, the banks have not yet figured out the perfect products that cater to this market. Millennials are putting off buying large ticket items but, in the future, they will be holding a significant amount of wealth.

Cybercrime is the elephant in the Room 

Let’s address the elephant in the room; privacy and security. We are spending more time gawking at the screens of computers and phones than ever before. You can buy stuff online, apply for a visa, date someone, and the list goes on. However, among this significant amount of data, security is of utmost importance,

Privacy breaches, hacks and other forms of cyber attacks have made this generation weary and cautious of banks. Since the majority of wealth exists digitally, this raises concerns for privacy.

A Safe and Bright Future

One obvious tool to handle security concerns is the verification of identity. When a customer is about to send or receive payment, the verification should be foolproof. This relates to the identity of the user. 

Each time we interact online, it leaves a footprint, which creates their digital identity. As technology gets more advanced, so do the tools. Banking and security services that are powered by AI and machine learning can collect the data better, faster and with better accuracy. Faster identity verification solutions are a healthy sign for banks. 

Conclusion

There are troves of rich data available for businesses. How fast banks capture and utilize it to offer banking products to customers will define who can corner this market first. Banks need to get aggressive in integrating state of the art technology in their services. Otherwise, more technology-based services will take over.

Kyc for icos

How KYC for ICOs can Make Cryptocurrency Great Again?

Give people a mode of money transaction free from banks. That was the thought behind cryptocurrency. And blockchain technology – that powers the majority of cryptocurrencies – was the perfect tool to achieve that.

But things have not gone as planned. Mention Bitcoin in a gathering and you will surely hear voices of fake KYC Of ICOs and Ponzi schemes.

 

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What went wrong with Cryptocurrency?

The deregulated nature of Bitcoin worked well in attracting money. But it created another problem. When something is not regulated people exploit it. Scammers and double-dealers started jumping on the bandwagon of ICOs with the intention of fooling people into giving their fiat currency.

On the flip side, those that were looking to park their illegal money hit the jackpot. ICOs that genuinely wanted to create value in the world through their coins got the short end of the stick.

The financial regulation bodies started cracking down on kyc ICOs and exchanges. ICO’s could not take investors onboard without taking the risk.

According to a statement by the securities and exchange commission;

“A number of concerns have been raised regarding the cryptocurrency and ICO markets, including that, as they are currently operating, there is substantially less investor protection than in our traditional securities markets, with correspondingly greater opportunities for fraud and manipulation”

So, what’s the solution?

A tried and tested solution is Know Your Customer or KYC compliance.

What is KYC ?

KYC stands for know your customer, it is a process that lets companies know their customers. It includes the verification process that prevents fraudulent individuals from abusing their services. Banks have been successfully using KYC services for years.

Different financial regulatory authorities have made it mandatory for banks to comply with KYC verification to make sure that the person they are dealing with is not a fraud.

Banks check and verify personal information through several means including document verification. They also readily appropriate credible third-party identity verification services or KYC service providers.

Documents such as government-issued ID cards and driver’s licenses help smoothe the process of investing.

What is AML?

AML – the anti-money laundering act – prevents people from laundering money. ICOs can put this in place as well to ensure that the people buying their tokens are not on any black or greylist.

KYC and AML regulations put a barrier to entry by checking the identity documents. FINRA Rule 3310 governs the AML compliance of companies.

Advantages of Implementing KYC for ICOs

  • Deters scammers from engaging in ICOs
  • Fights money laundering
  • Protects investors’ assets
  • Fewer legal, tax and credibility issues
  • A healthy relationship with banks

Funds raised by ICO or token sales can attract black money. But KYC and AML compliance can restore people’s faith in the blockchain based economy. Cryptocurrency exchanges can also put these compliance measures to ensure that the ICOs are genuine. Then the token economy will truly benefit the population at large.

Identity verification services

12 Ways Identity Verification Services Helping Online Businesses

The online marketplace has a culminating presence in the business world. Worldwide e-commerce sales are expected to reach an astounding $4.8 trillion by the end of 2021. Additionally, the cumulative number of online shoppers reaching over 2.1 billion. Moreover, recent studies have reported a 277% increase in global e-commerce sales over the past few years. Online merchants must fight to maintain their competitive advantage when stakes are this high. An automated Know Your Customer (KYC) verification solution can enable them to build a seamless experience. Here are 15 ways in which online businesses can enjoy identity verification services.

Ways in Which it Enhances Security

 

  • Clamping Down the Potential for Fraud

Online businesses, in particular, are more prone as well as vulnerable to fraud. Cases of identity theft and credit card fraud are common in e-commerce stores. Businesses often receive requests for refunds when a fraudulent transaction made. An identity proofing solution helps in curbing the potential for fraud by verifying users remotely. This results in the reduction of chargebacks and an increase in profits.

 

  • Protect Your Reputation in the Market

Online stores that are vulnerable to data breaches and has shoddy cybersecurity systems tend to build up a bad reputation in the online market space. Similarly, when a company incurs one too many chargebacks, it tends to lose its goodwill amongst its customers. This can be remedied by implementing an identity authentication method that can verify consumer identities within seconds. By fixing the loopholes in their security structures, businesses can protect their user data as well as protect their reputations in the market and among customers.

 

  • Shield Customers From Inflated Prices

Online frauds including identity theft and credit card fraud end up increasing chargebacks and fines for businesses. This, in turn, makes a dent in the company’s bottom line and thus forces them to increase their prices to cover these costs. Retailers can protect customers from price increases that are uncalled for. With a sound KYC system in place, businesses can eliminate the threat of fraud in the first place.

 

  • Avoid Costly Lawsuits and Fines

Frequent cases of credit card fraud and identity theft in a business can lead to questions about its online security. It can, therefore, lead to elaborate lawsuits from victims affected by identity fraud. On top of that, credit card companies also tend to sanction merchants who do not observe better fraud prevention measures. Additionally, there are businesses that offer age sensitive products or services. They are legally bound to verify the age of their users. All these problems can be easily addressed by an identity verification system such as Shufti Pro that offers an AI-based solution for Identity verification services that also include age verification services along with facial recognition and ID authentication.

 

  • Protect Your Customers

The foremost advantage an identity authentication system presents for businesses is that it enables them to protect their customers from the fallout of fraudulent transactions. Identity fraud can go unnoticed for weeks, even months on end, allowing the perpetrator to accumulate charges on a person’s credit card. Online ID verification instantly detects a fraudulent user and blocks his/her access before they can cause any significant damage.

How Identity Verification Services Can Improve Sales and Conversions?

 

  • Enhancing the Purchase Process

Over 13% of online customers abandon their purchases due to poor and lengthy customer verification procedures. A number of online websites have complicated purchase processes that require elaborate information from customers in order for them to proceed with their purchase. Sometimes customers are even asked to enter details more than once, thus increasing their frustration. This eventually leads to higher purchase abandonment levels which ultimately drives down sales. An efficient identity proofing system for customers can make life easier on both sides.

With a system like Shufti Pro businesses can implement OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to extract data from a user’s documents verifying their identities at the same time. It significantly reduces the time for data entry and allows for increased accuracy, thereby reducing human error. Automated KYC systems have therefore made the purchase process easier for both the customers as well as retailers and has consequently resulted in increased sales.

 

  • Reducing the Cost of Online Fraud

As the rate of online frauds decreases with a more efficient user verification process, the resultant costs naturally fall. The reduced costs ultimately lead to increased profits creating a win-win situation for online retailers. It also reduces the number of chargebacks and fines for companies, ultimately leading to an increase in their revenues.

 

  • Personalising Offers for Customers

Once a customer’s details are obtained through a verification system, a company can make use of them to identify returning customers. This also enables marketing teams to personalise products or services for customers and target them in a more efficient manner. This practice can significantly impact customer experience, making them feel more valued, resulting in their prolonged lifetime value.

 

  • Complying With Global Regulations

One of the biggest incentives for businesses to implement an effective KYC system is to comply with global compliance regulations. Regulatory authorities – both national and international – Identity verification services have been highly active over the past couple of years to curb money laundering activities. In an attempt to make sure that businesses comply with regulatory requirements, authorities have started sanctioning banking institutions. Over the past decade, the financial sector has faced nearly $26 billion in fines.

KYC services enable businesses to comply with worldwide regulatory requirements effectively by identifying and verifying clients more accurately. Service providers like Shufti Pro also offer AML screening services that allow businesses to screen high-risk individuals through global sanction lists to identify Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). Online identity verification, therefore, makes complying with global regulations easier for businesses.

 

  • Building Trust Among Customers

When online businesses take active measures to prevent fraud and comply with legal and ethical obligations, they tend to build trust amongst customers. Merchants that experience little or no cases of credit card fraud tend to have a good reputation amongst customers and end up acquiring customers for life.

 

  • Providing a Seamless Customer Experience

Another advantage of online identity authentication services is that it reduces a significant amount of hassle for customers. It tends to reduce the time it takes for the customers to enter their details. It further reduces the time it takes them to verify themselves and their credentials through facial recognition and document verification. With verification time reduced to under a minute, customers are able to complete the purchase within minutes. KYC service providers like Shufti Pro are able to provide the sort of seamless experience for businesses and their users that can enable them to reduce cut down their purchase abandonment rates.

 

  • Reduce Errors in Shipping

Manual data entry methods are prone to errors – both on part of the merchant as well as the customer. With digital identity verification, e-retailers can reduce these errors through a service like instant capture from Shufti Pro. The service uses OCR to extract data from a user’s document in addition to verifying them. This reduces both the time and number of errors for e-commerce retailers.

 

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ID Verification

Age Verification – Must Have For Age Restricted Retailers

Mobile e-commerce makes up for nearly 29% of the entire e-commerce sales in the US. A majority of the millennial users – 86% – make online purchases through their smartphones. Such unrestricted access to products and services online, makes it harder for businesses dealing in age-restricted merchandise to regulate their services. Verifying customers’ age is difficult in person as it is. It reaches a whole different level of challenging for online purchases. In a day and age where a user can access goods online by simply providing genuine credit card details. Making sure the person using them is of the appropriate or legal age is part of the obligations online merchants have to fulfil. Thus, ID verification becomes crucial, particularly so for age-restricted vendors.

A study conducted in the US estimates that nearly 60 per cent of online businesses selling alcohol had negligible age checks in place. However, with the increasing legal obligations to verify customers before selling them goods, online retailers must take into account online age verification for users. Merely entering a date of birth or verifying customers through their social media profiles is no longer enough. Resourceful teenagers have found ways to fool such methods and gain access to amenities like online gaming and alcohol. Industries like pharmaceuticals, alcohol and tobacco industry have incredibly stringent regulations. Not verifying users under 18 can lead to heavy fines, legal ramifications and, most importantly, lead to reputational damage.

ID Verification for Age Restricted Commerce

Different regions around the world, including the UK, have now legislated age verification measures for businesses like gambling, alcohol, tobacco, online dating apps and adult content websites. Different states in the US are now also observing age regulation laws. This has created the need for an effective method for online retailers to verify their users accurately. Online identity verification services can be an adequate solution for verifying the age of their customers.

An age verification solution for online businesses authenticates its users through online ID document verification. The verification software authenticates the user’s age by scanning their date of birth from their ID document. Online merchants can further corroborate their customers’ identities by facial recognition scans.

E-merchants, dealing in age-restricted commerce, are fast realising the need for an effective online ID verification solution in order to prevent underage usage. Some businesses that fall under the bracket of age-restricted commerce and are in need of ID verification services;

  • Pharmaceuticals

Online pharmacies while being a convenience for patients, pose a major risk of being accessed by underage users with a drug habit. There are certain regulatory bodies that manage records of online pharmacies. However, this is not enough to urge them to verify the buyer’s age. Therefore, it becomes imperative for online pharmaceutical companies to make sure whether their customers are of legal age of purchasing prescription drugs. Online age checks can ensure safer business practices for online pharmacies and help them build trust with regional regulatory bodies.

  • Alcohol and Tobacco

Both alcohol and tobacco are stringently regulated globally. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US prohibited the sale of cigarettes to underage individuals. Similarly, the sale of alcohol is prohibited to anyone under 21 in the US and under 18 in the UK. These laws are as much applicable for online retailers as they are for physical vendors. Appropriate age and identity checks must be observed by online stores before delivering their products.

  • Online Gaming

Children, particularly adolescents, are attracted to online gaming. However, studies show that children are likely to develop problematic playing habits with excessive online gaming. This alone should be enough to convince gaming services to control access to their websites by implementing online age verification. In other instances, online gaming also involves online interaction with players from all over the world. Children can easily fall for a scam, offensive language and even bullying through such unfettered interactions. However, in a lot of countries, children are able to access gaming platforms with simply providing credit card details. Adequate verifying checks must be put in place, particularly for more aggressive or intense games.

  • Gambling

Online gambling has also garnered enough traction over the years. Studies have shown that over 50,000 children under the age of 17 have developed a gambling problem. This problem must be addressed by properly regulating online gambling services. While online betting might seem difficult to regulate, it is up to the platforms running these services to take measures to do so.

 

  • Weapons

With the amount of suggestive content available over the internet, anything nowadays can constitute as a weapon. It is extremely easy to influence children these days as they tend to have access to the internet and mobile devices at all times. Most of the responsibility falls on parental control, however, some of it must be taken up by businesses selling such merchandise ID Verification. This is especially important after the case emerged of a 16-year-old buying a knife off of Amazon and using it to stab a schoolboy. Weapons and firearms must, therefore, be put a stringent check on to regulate their usage.

  • Dating Services

Online dating apps and websites are amongst those online services that have extremely unfettered access. This is particularly disturbing in the light of multiple cases of underage assault have emerged over the years. Both the victims as well as the assailants are found using services like Tinder and Grindr. Governments and regulators are becoming increasingly concerned about such online services, and are pushing owners to implement adequate age checks. It is extremely crucial for online dating services to realise their responsibility in eliminating the disturbing and harmful effects of underage usage of online dating services.

  • Adult Content

The effects of regulation of adult content online can be seen through the enactment of the digital economy act in the UK, which shall be enforced later this year. It requires age verification of users before the distribution and access to adult content.

Age Verification through Online ID Verification

It is evident from the discussion above that access to online goods and services cannot be restricted by mere parental controls. Online businesses must share some of the responsibility in regulating their goods or services. While merchants are able to verify the age of their customers through IDs that are provided by them in person, online vendors find it particularly challenging to verify age online.

Fortunately enough, a SaaS KYC provider like Shufti Pro can offer foolproof age verification services for businesses. Remote verification can be made possible through online ID verification. Shufti Pro’s verification software allows businesses to verify their users through document verification and facial recognition online. Users can scan their ID document remotely through their smartphone or PC camera. The system looks for forged or tampered documents. Its OCR technology can extract data from documents instantly, thereby confirming the age of an individual through their DOB. The vendor can further ask the customer to perform a real-time facial recognition scan that corroborates the identity of the person with the photo provided in the ID. Shufti Pro is able to verify users within 30-60 seconds, allowing no hindrance to the purchase process of goods or services online.

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ID Verification

ID Verification Ensuring Safety Deals in Real Estate Sector

Buying and selling properties for people are major, thought-provoking decisions. It requires weeks, perhaps even months of search, planning and preparation. For people looking to make a solid and long term investment, it is even more important for a person to be more circumspect. The process of acquiring a property can be unbelievably long and tedious. More than anything, it is important to vet both the buyer and the seller in the process. Online ID verification is one process that makes this whole process easier and smoother for both the client as well as the agent.

Since the industry involves high-value transactions, there as an equally high chance of fraud, shady deals and other financial crimes involved. The signing of real estate deals requires signatures on different legal documents that clearly and properly ensure the transfer of ownership. One of the most legitimate concerns that surround real estate deals is money laundering. Financial regulators all around the world have doubled their efforts to curb terrorist financing and money laundering activities.

The Threat of Money Laundering

The real estate market has long been used to hide illicit money that has been gained through corruption, tax evasion, bribery or other similar means. Criminals end up hiding their money through shell corporations that are listed as owners of luxury properties, thereby effectively hiding money that is used further to fund terror cells. This ominous source of money laundering has prompted governments and regulators around the world to increase their scrutiny on the real estate sector as well.

In London alone, 36,342 properties were listed under offshore companies in 2015. World over, there are major luxury properties that are bought and managed by shell corporations. Other reports also indicate that more than £180 million of London’s properties were bought as a result of criminal proceedings. Other locations around the world including New York City, Florida, California and Canada are also attractive havens for money launderers to hide their money through high-value real estate deals. To combat the illicit bought up of high-value properties, certain regulatory authorities around the world are increasing regulations for real estate companies. These regulations around the world have prompted dealers and agents to verify and authenticate both parties in a real estate transaction before completing the sale.

However, it is not only the threat of money laundering that increases the risk of real estate transactions. Identity theft is another crime that is penetrating the real estate market. Fraudsters commit identity fraud by impersonating a property’s owner and by selling it to gain financial benefits for themselves. It, therefore, becomes the responsibility of a real estate agent or company to vet both the buyers as well as the seller before proceeding to sell a property.

Frauds and Scams in the Real Estate Sector

It is not just money laundering that has affected the real estate sector. An increasing number of scams and frauds are also becoming common in the industry. The victims of such frauds end up losing millions of dollars to such frauds and are often deprived of their life long savings. One of the ways to protect oneself from such scams is to be able to identify them effectively. Some useful ways to identify real estate scams involve;

  • Transactions that require money to be wired overseas and no possible way of contacting or meeting the person(s) receiving the money.
  • Sudden changes in address or other credentials, particularly contact details. Such details may not be received beforehand by the buyer.
  • Requests to transfer money to a different bank account(s) than the ones normally used by the client or selling party. One of the major giveaways may be that the account is offshore.
  • The buyer or seller suddenly starts using generic e-mail addresses instead of official ones.
  • The seller makes haste to sell the property giving reasons that cannot be corroborated.

All these and other simple yet obvious signs often point towards a shady deal, that should be investigated further. On suspicion of fraud, such deals must also be reported to the relevant authorities for them to take the appropriate action.

Scammers end up posing as owners of a property and selling it under the same pretence. The original owner of the property can remain oblivious for months as hardly many people check the status of their properties all too often.

Are Scams and Crimes Avoidable in the Real Estate Sector?

Frauds, scams and financial crimes that are associated with the real estate sector are entirely avoidable and preventable with certain precautions and preventive measures. Some of the few measures that can be taken to avoid scams include;

  1. Make sure when buying a property you are contacting the actual owner. Also, make sure to insist upon meeting the seller in person. If a meeting is unable to be arranged, at least try and speak to them via a video conference or a phone call. In certain cases, you may be dealing with a person who has a Power of Attorney to handle the property. In others, you may be dealing with an executor of the estate or a person who has a court order to execute a sale. In all cases, make sure you at least know who the buyer is.
  2. Real estate companies must make sure their employees and agents are well aware of common scams and frauds ( ID Verification ) that are prevalent in the real estate sector. They should take measures to educate employees of different techniques used by criminals and fraudsters to use properties to hide their money. Awareness lectures must be given to employees to make sure they know about typical phishing and social engineering scams.
  3. Another certain way to avoid real estate frauds is to verify both the parties in a real estate transaction. It is up to the real estate company to ensure that entities on both ends of a transaction are legitimate and have authentic credentials. People on either end of a transaction may be using forged or stolen details. It is therefore essential for real estate companies to use a reliable KYC (Know Your Customer) service that can effectively verify users’ identities.
  4. Real estate agents must also verify the authenticity of the property documents provided by the seller and make sure they are in order. All such documents must be checked to make sure there are no errors or misrepresentations. All documents must be in order and clearly legible.
  5. Special care must be taken if either of the two parties in the transaction is overseas. All deals that avoid face to face contact with the owner or other relevant parties must be avoided.
  6. Similar measures must be taken by mortgage providers to ensure the identities of property owners seeking loans. Tenants must also be verified before the leasing of properties.

The Need for Frictionless ID Verification Solutions in Real Estate

Real estate deals are drawn out and tedious as it is. In order to reduce friction in the entire process, businesses must make sure to make the procedure as simpler and faster as they can. Individually collecting and verifying all documents can be tiresome and unnecessarily lengthy. With the help of digitised user verification procedure, as provided by Shufti Pro, real estate companies can authenticate buyers and sellers instantly. The procedure involves ID verification of both parties through ID document verification. This enables them to ensure that they are using authentic credentials to make the sale or purchase.

A number of different documents can be used to verify the identity of a person including ID cards, driver’s licenses, passports or any other form of government-issued IDs. The real estate provider can choose to verify the buyer and seller with the document(s) they prefer and proceed to authenticate the sale accordingly.

Parties to a real estate deal can be further authenticated using biometric facial verification. Facial recognition online can be performed through a facial recognition software that has features like liveness detection and 3D mapping that makes it harder for scammers to spoof the system.

To counter fraud in the real estate sector the online identity verification service presents itself as the perfect solution. Shufti Pro’s ID verification software uses a hybrid technology of AI and Human Intelligence to verify users within 30-60 seconds. It uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to extract user data and processes it accurately. This decreases the chances of human error that comes with manual verification methods. The system can obtain client details from their documents to save them the trouble of entering them every time for a process.

ID verification services from Shufti Pro can be used by real estate providers in a number of ways including the processing of transactions, locating properties, detecting and preventing identity fraud, performing in-depth due diligence of customers and complying with regulatory measures. Shufti Pro is focused on providing top of the line online ID verification services to its clients. It caters to a wide clientele base including the real estate sector. Through its AI enabled ID verification service, it can verify users from over 230 countries. Its face recognition ID verification services allows businesses to authenticate their users beyond a doubt. Through its AML background screening, businesses can screen their customers through global AML sanction lists, that allows them to eliminate the risk of money laundering and other financial crimes.

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Utilising Digital Identity Verification for Imparting Better Healthcare

The importance of patient identification and verification is crucial in the healthcare sector. According to a paper by the World Bank, patient identification can be critical in imparting fast and effective healthcare services to patients and can do wonders for public health management, thereby helping achieve sustainable development. Digital identity verification systems can assist healthcare providers to not only to improve the quality of healthcare they provide but would also enable them to improve organisation and sharing of medical records, ensure insurance claims and reduce medical fraud by protecting patient data.

Healthcare providers in a lot of countries are still using paper-based systems to maintain patient records. The handful of providers that do use digital systems have stagnant IT systems that are incapable of processing and transferring data. This has lead to weak planning giving rise to capacity issues and inefficient care for patients. Relevant government institutions also find it difficult to provide better access to healthcare if they have no way of identifying and verifying individuals. This also keeps out individuals who are in need of necessary healthcare services but cannot have access to it due to lack of identification.

How Digital Identity Verification Can Play a Role in Healthcare

Different processes in the healthcare sector need the identity of patients. From providing the proper treatment to maintaining patient records, the identity and verification of patients is extremely important. There are a number of ways in which digitised identification systems can enable healthcare providers to impart better medical services;

  • Efficient Data Collection for Planning and Research

With the proliferation of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing, systems are now available that have automated entire processes for different industries. Particularly for sectors are data rich, like finance and healthcare, AI and its applications have provided amazing solutions. Digital identity verification systems can, therefore, allow access to patient records and histories in an instant. It allows healthcare providers and government ministries to efficiently plan according to the data collected through these systems. It also allows them to access data for research and development purposes.

  • Managing Patient Treatments and Records

Through proper automated identification and verification procedures, healthcare providers can manage and access patient records instantly. It also allows transfer and sharing of data amongst healthcare institutions, therefore reducing duplicate testing, and allowing for swift and efficient patient care. Patients can control the sharing of personal information as well. As records are updated in real-time, doctors and support staff are able to gain access to patients’ condition instantly by only identifying them effectively.

 

  • Improved Insurance Management

Filing for insurance claims can be a tedious process for hospitals. Automated patient verification systems can provide hospitals and clinics with efficient systems that can process insurance claims and assess the benefits that are included in a patient’s insurance program. It also allows patients to prove that they have access to insurance and have access to healthcare benefits and programs. Outdated systems can sometimes result in double payments, causing trouble for both the patient and healthcare providers.

  • Protecting Patient Records

With increased automation of information, cybercrime has also increased tenfolds. It has equally affected the healthcare sector increasing the ratio of medical identity theft. Patient records are increasingly being sold on the dark web and fetch a significant sum for the seller. Therefore, the protection of patient records must be equally important for healthcare providers. Online identity verification effectively eliminates the risk of fraud and identity theft. Measures must also be taken to protect patient information within the healthcare facility. Putting up anti-malware and anti-virus systems and firewalls are no longer enough. Hospitals and clinics need to robustly encrypt their patient records in order to thwart any cybercriminals.

By properly identifying and authenticating patient identities through automated systems, they can also make sure that a person is not using stolen information. Through digital document verification healthcare providers can identify patients. They can further authenticate a patient’s credentials through an online facial recognition system. This can enable hospitals to establish a true identity of a patient and provide them with relevant care effectively.

Shufti Pro is an online identity verification services provider that uses AI-enabled protocols to identify and verify users for a number of different industries, including the healthcare sector. It produces verification results within 30-60 seconds and allows for instant verification of users. The healthcare sector can benefit from its ID verification services in the form of document verification and face verification. Shufti Pro also has an OCR-based data extraction system that can extract information from documents in an instant. It uses a RESTful API and mobile SDKs for fast and efficient integration into an existing web-based interface of a company.

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Importance of Identity Proofing for Facebook & Social Media

For years, social media has been used as a tool for increased connectivity. Both businesses, as well as individual users, are making use of social media for connecting with the world. Businesses use it to engage a wider audience and attract more customers. Individual users make use of social media in order to stay connected with friends and family and to share their own experiences. However, in a day and age where cybercrime and fraud are increasing by the day, the safety of social media users is threatened. Frauds and scams have become a part of social media and have to be dealt with carefully. Social media holds an immense amount of personal information of users and is a potential gold mine for fraudsters to commit crimes like identity theft and credit card fraud. Therefore, the identity proofing of users is increasingly becoming somewhat of a necessity for social media websites.

How is Social Media Impacting its Users?

The scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and Russia being involved in using Facebook to help Donald Trump win the election has gained much traction for the world to consider the downside of SM. In relatively simpler times, Facebook was an excellent tool to generate “word of mouth” and generate viral marketing views for posts. But as fraudsters took advantage of the lack of liability of identities on such platforms, it became a norm for them to create fake accounts to hoodwink users.

Anyone can create a page or a Facebook account to generate likes and build connections to use them later to commit fraud. The fact is that the growing impact of social media in our lives warrants some accountability. It is fast becoming a tool to influence young minds and thus requires a better mechanism for protecting SM users.

The influence that SM has on its users is fast becoming a reason for concern. The simple power of words is understood by marketing firms and how much of an impact they can have on the reader to influence them into buying a product or service. Not only that, but SM is increasingly being used to influence people’s social and political views. Another downside of having no proper user verification on SM is the increase of frauds and scams. Scammers tend to create fraudulent accounts and rope other users into all sorts of phishing and social engineering scams.

The fact is that although social media platforms may not be responsible for all these activities, they need to perform a certain level of identity proofing in order to make sure the user on the other end of an account is a real person.

 

Identity Proofing for Social Media Accounts

User verifications can greatly reduce the number of fake accounts on social media and can help the platforms establish some sort of accountability to posts done by individual users. More than anything it can help identify the perpetrator of crimes like identity theft, or better yet, thwart them from using the space entirely. Businesses like e-commerce stores and retail outlets tend to implement digital KYC or Know Your Customer verifications to verify their users. Such KYC solutions use different tools like document verification and facial recognition for ID verification of customers. This prevents fraudsters from using fake or stolen information to purchase goods or services.

Why is Identity Proofing Important for Social Media Platforms?

Businesses are coming to terms with the impact of good or bad social media reviews can have on their reputation. In a way, such quick and astute response from customers has put useful pressure on companies to keep their services in check. However, just as a good review from an authentic customer can build up a good reputation for a business, a bad review from a fake profile can ruin it in seconds.

In order for social media to thrive as a useful platform to engage with people and businesses and communities around the world, it is important to implement some sort of verification for its users. Proper identity verification of users can limit the number of accounts a user can create. It can also, therefore, increase the liability of the person using and posting his/her account. Users can be held accountable for what they post or say on such platforms.

As the number of accounts for a person become limited, fraudsters cannot use social media to scam users. If they do they can be tracked down and held responsible for their actions.

Moreover, identity proofing can also curb the spread of fake news and prevent people from unnecessarily spreading false knowledge. As the number of fake accounts and profiles diminishes, different entities would also be unable to use the platform to influence legitimate users. Moreover, it is important for businesses to make use of business verification in order to make sure that their customers are directed to the correct business profile of the company.

Shufti Pro is a KYC solution that is providing a number of ID verification services to a vast range of industries. Businesses can use identity proofing services to authenticate their users’ identities through document scanning and biometric verification through facial recognition. Shufti Pro also offers AML background checks to different businesses and financial institutes to fulfil their Anti Money Laundering compliance requirements.

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ID-Verification

ID Verification – Fraud Prevention in Online Gambling Industry

By its very nature, gambling is quite risky. Add to it the potential for fraud that it attracts, and any platform can become unsafe for players. Online businesses and interactive platforms are particularly vulnerable when it comes to online frauds and scams. Cybercriminals have found more sophisticated and advanced ways to trick online users and commit crimes like identity and credit card fraud. Online gambling platforms are no exception to frauds and are in need of reliable anti-fraud solutions to protect their businesses. Automated systems for ID verification can prove to be a useful solution for protecting the gambling industry from fraud.

The online gaming industry has seen tremendous growth over the years and shows no signs of slowing down. The overall trade is expected to hit the figure of $1 trillion by the year 2021. With such a large trade volume, there lies a huge opportunity for online fraudsters to use such platforms to their advantage. There are a number of different kinds of frauds that plague the online gambling sector, the most common of which are;

Some Common Online Gambling Frauds

  • Multiple Accounts – An online fraudster tends to create a number of different accounts to use on the gambling website. All such accounts are made using fake credentials. These multiple accounts are then used for different schemes. The idea is to make one particular account win while making the others lose deliberately. The fraudster can then reap benefits from the account that wins.
  • Credit Card Fraud – Credit card fraud is common across all online businesses and retailers. The perpetrator tends to use fraudulent or stolen credentials to pay for their bets to charge up their accounts. Once the bank or credit card company finds out about the fraudulent transaction the business faces chargebacks and fines.
  • Money Laundering – Online gambling platforms also have to ensure that their services are not being used to launder dirty or ill-gotten money by criminals. Since gambling businesses deal with large sums of money, it makes it easier for money launderers to use the platform to hide illegal funds.

 

In addition to fighting fraud, online gambling websites have to prevent underage usage. There are strict laws in place that prevent underage gambling. Adhering to these laws, gambling businesses have to practice measures to verify the age of their users. While it may be easier for traditional casinos to point out underage gamblers, online platforms have no way of knowing if the user is underage or not. Therefore, there needs to be an effective method for age verification of users through online ID verification and facial recognition.

Combating Fraud with ID Verification

Online businesses and gambling companies have had to face hefty fines for not having adequate measures in place for user verifications. The Gambling Commission in the UK charged an online gambling company $10 million in fines for not having a sound KYC process. For businesses looking to fight fraudulent activities, they generally tend to implement a Know Your Customer or KYC structure. Governments and regulatory authorities across the globe have also issued requirements for businesses to implement KYC procedures to authenticate each and every client or customer. Such procedures also help in fulfilling age verification requirements for online gambling companies.

Read More: Secure Online Gambling through Identity and Age Verification

A sound KYC system also allows businesses to prevent chargebacks and fines that are a result of credit card fraud and identity theft scams. Having an online identity verification system in place can enable gambling businesses to develop a better KYC system for their businesses. ID verification services can be availed in a number of ways;

  • Document Verification
  • Age Verification
  • Face Recognition ID Verification
  • AML (Anti Money Laundering) Screening Checks

KYC verification systems are now available that leverage modern technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide KYC services to businesses. Shufti Pro is a leading ID verification software that caters to businesses from a number of different industries. The online gambling industry too can avail their ID verification service which is extremely easy to integrate for any business having a web-based interface.

Shufti Pro provides real-time verifications through document verifications, facial recognition online and AML screening checks. It is designed on a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Intelligence (HI). Shufti Pro has universal language support and can verify users from more than 230 countries.

The online gambling sector can reap numerous benefits from an automated ID verification system. They can use a system like Shufti Pro to reduce frauds in their business. It also enables them to lessen the number of chargebacks and fines, ultimately increasing their profits. To eliminate underage gambling the system can verify a users age through document and face verification features. Most importantly, they can eliminate the threat of money laundering activities through AML screening checks. This can increase the levels of trust among their customers and help them run clean practices.

ID-Verification

How the Rise of ID Verification Promises Trillions of Dollars for Online Marketplace?

The affliction of cybercrimes and online frauds has reached such high proportions that the cost of it left the billion figure years ago and the damages have now entered trillions of dollars. Cybercrime ended up costing $3 trillion dollars to the commercial sector in 2015. This number is expected to cross $6 trillion by 2021. More to the fact that cybercrimes are the fastest growing crimes in the US; in that, fraudsters are increasingly enhancing and advancing ways to compromise a business’s cybersecurity measures. All these figures and the gravity of the situation requires enterprises and governments to take a more proactive than reactive approach to avert frauds and cyber attacks. The rise of ID verification systems, in particular, can play an important role in having a productive economic impact for businesses by not just helping to curb fraud but also reducing expenditures.

However, fraud prevention is not the only plus side of having an identity verification system. An online identification system can help reduce costs, ultimately increasing revenues for a business. It also enables businesses to meet their compliance and regulatory requirement, which they are bound to fulfil by law. Thus, identification systems can potentially save trillions of dollars for the online marketplace.

A Decrease in Transactional and Admin Costs

Both the financial services sector, as well as commercial businesses, have generally relied on outdated manual or legacy systems for transactions and payment systems. Such methods are costly and, not to mention, unsafe considering the current fraud landscape. Compared with digital identity systems, in-person identity verification can also be costly for the business as well as the consumer. For instance, if a person wishing to open a bank account needs to present a certain set of identity documents for the bank to ensure that the person has legitimate and verifiable credentials. Having to verify their identity in-person has both time and monetary costs for a consumer, not to mention that each visit costs the financial institute $4.25. Compared to this, a digital identification system allows a person to authenticate their document and other credentials electronically, thus saving them both time and money Not to mention the fact that a single mobile transaction costs only $0.10. Thus, the customer onboarding process can be made more efficient through an automated ID verification service. Eliminating the need for paper-based verification procedures for each individual client, it can greatly reduce the time for onboarding a new customer.

Preventing Fraud Through ID Verification

As discussed above, online frauds are the bane of an online enterprise or a financial institution’s existence. The sort of losses they incur to businesses can be detrimental. The costs of identity theft alone were reaching $221 billion worldwide. The financial sector or the online market cannot afford such losses. A sound online identification system, being fast and effective, can allow a business to detect fraud while it takes place, thus preventing any chargebacks or fines. A bank or financial institute can verify their clients during the onboarding process and make sure they have legitimate documents and other credentials. For an online business, an identity verification system allows merchants to identify fraudsters who are using fake or stolen credit cards or identity documents.

Another major fraud risk is synthetic identity fraud, wherein the criminal generally uses someone’s social security number to build an identity for him/herself. An effective ID verification software can also alleviate synthetic identity fraud. Also, by increasing cooperation between national databases and the private sector can help eliminate the use of fake credentials and identities altogether.

Reducing Compliance Costs

Sectors that are closely regulated including the financial services sector, online payment systems and the healthcare industry. In an effort to develop a framework that meets their regulatory obligations, they have to invest in ample resources. However, with slow and ineffective ID verification systems, their compliance costs are only susceptible to increase. Such businesses are not only in need of preventing fraud and reducing transactional and onboarding costs, but they are also legally bound to fulfil certain compliance requirements. Governments and regulatory authorities issue guidelines for businesses to implement in order to curb financial crimes like money laundering. Such obligations need to be fulfilled by businesses efficiently.

The financial services sector spends greatly on building effective compliance structures. However, manual procedures for verification have proven to be ineffective and slow. Implementing an automated system for customer due diligence and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance can not only reduce costs for businesses but also effectively reduce financial crimes.

It is also prudent to mention that companies that fail to implement adequate KYC and AML procedures have to face hefty fines from regulatory bodies, both national and international. Thus, implementing an effective online ID verification system can avoid these costs for a business as well.

Shufti Pro is a SaaS product that focuses on providing a quality ID verification system to businesses. Its online ID verification system allows you to verify customers through document verification, face recognition and AML screening checks. It provides real-time verification results through AI-based protocols.

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Facial Verification

Face Verification Becoming Vital For Travel Industry

Over the past few years, biometric technology has become increasingly mainstream. This is due in part to the fact that mobile companies these days are increasingly incorporating fingerprint scanners and facial verification in their smartphones. Facial recognition systems like Face ID from Apple and Facebook’s DeepFace have made the commercialised use of face verification technology. Contrary to what people believe, biometric verification procedures are more secure and accurate. As the facial recognition technology is frequently incorporated by businesses it is important to view its advantages in detail. This article attempts to outline the ways in which the travel industry is reaping benefits from it.

The travel and hospitality sector rely heavily on customer care and fast and efficient service. Companies in the travel industry including airlines and hotel chains deal with large volumes of customers in a day. They have to maintain an efficient yet effective procedure of check-ins and check-outs without jeopardising their security. Moreover, the instant customer verification process can enable businesses to improve their experience, thus drastically increasing levels of satisfaction. Some of the ways in which the travel industry can leverage the facial recognition technology in their favour include;

Customer Service

For any business wishing to improve their sales and revenues, they have to improve their customer service and increase levels of satisfaction. The hospitality industry, in particular, has to maintain robust customer relations in order to stay in the competition. Face verification software fulfils this objective impeccably. Through facial verification online, the airline staff at the airport and the hotel check-in staff at reception desks can speed up the customer verification process. With real-time verification results, all employees can verify customers instantaneously. It can also allow the hotel staff to issue more personalised greetings to customers upon their arrival.

Read More: Online Facial Recognition Could Drive a New Wave of Digital Transparency

If the customer has already uploaded their picture at the time of booking, the online facial recognition software can be used to identify returning customers, thus allowing businesses to offer them better and more customised services. The instant check-ins and the elimination of long ques at check-in counters can be eliminated entirely, which can be often frustrating for customers.

Better Security

The primary function of facial verification technology is security. It can help identify and authenticate the identity of customers in an instant. Thus the travel and hospitality sector can greatly benefit from it, seeing as it increases the security and access for customers. The possibility of frauds like identity theft and credit card frauds increases while a person is travelling. The ultimate brunt of such scams is borne by businesses in the form of chargebacks, fines and a loss of reputation.

With the help of facial recognition, the airport staff can authenticate a traveller against their identity documents, thus enabling them to verify the identity of an individual. Biometric authentication is more secure and allows the travel industry to weed out fraudsters and scammers. Fast access can also be granted to customers through biometric identification in their hotel rooms.

Seamless Integration

Amongst all the biometric verification tools currently available in the market, facial verification probably has the most seamless integration. The technology does not require any additional hardware to be installed by either the customer or the business. If the company has the facial recognition software available, the customer can verify themselves using an ordinary phone camera that is a necessary feature of every smartphone nowadays. Thus there is no need for the development of an additional tech infrastructure in order to integrate the technology. It saves both time and costs for the hospitality sector. There is no need for them to go to the trouble of spending more on developing technology.

Fewer Documentation Requirements

Biometric technologies are eliminating the need for businesses to require elaborate documentation from customers in order for them to identify themselves. All they have to do in order to verify the identity of a customer is to corroborate their facial scans against any one of their identity documents. Biometric verification procedures reduce customer check-in times at checkpoints like passport control and boarding terminals by 40%. In hotels that are using facial verification software for customer and business verifications, the check-in times have been reduced from three minutes to one. As customers arrive in hotels, they identify themselves through the facial recognition process, and their details are entered into an automated system. They are then automatically issued room keys, thus accelerating the check-in process.

The Future of Facial Verification

While there is still a considerable amount of scepticism around the facial verification technology, its benefits are far more than its shortcomings. As technology is advancing more rapidly than ever before, it is important for businesses like the travel and hospitality sector to keep up with the changes in the landscape. More than anything, biometrics can help eliminate fraud and help companies establish safer business practices. As consumers remain wary of facial recognition technology, businesses must assure them of its safety and all the measures that they take to protect customer data.

AML Compliance

Billion Dollar AML Compliance Plan for the Financial Sector

The financial services sector has long been blamed for the spread of financial crimes like money laundering and tax evasions. Over the past ten years, banks and financial institutions all over the world have faced billions of dollars in fines due to non-compliance and failure to implement adequate regulatory requirements. The regulatory authorities in the US, in particular, have been extremely active against non-compliance with Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations. The US Department of Justice doled out fines worth $14 billion to financial institutions. That covered over half the sum of global financial regulatory fines over the past decade. All in all financial regulators have collectively imposed over $26 billion by way of sanctions and fines to banks and financial institutions around the globe.

More stringent compliance regulations can be dated back to the 2008 financial crisis. Ever since then global regulators have been rallying to make the financial services sector safer and more transparent. More than 50,000 regulations were distributed between 2009 and 2012. Several high profile scandals erupted in the wake of increased regulations all over the world. To date, the single highest fine against one financial institute was of $8.9 billion, wherein the bank, BNP Paribas, admitted its fault.

Are Non-Compliance Fines Avoidable?

What is surprising is the fact that these fines and sanctions are completely avoidable. The cost of establishing and maintaining an effective compliance structure is nearly three times less than the losses faced by banks in the form of non-compliance penalties. The financial services sector has been battling with the best way to approach compliance regulations. Compliance structures in banks are outdated and slow. The biggest obstacle for banks to implement an effective procedure is the lag it causes in the client onboarding process. Verifying every client and carrying out the due diligence takes time and tends to frustrate clients, thus lowering satisfaction levels for a financial institution.

Banks end up spending over 2.7 billion pounds – $3.5 billion – every year on AML compliance systems that are both outdated as well as inefficient. Legacy systems are still in use by some banks that churn an inexplicable amount of false positives. As the compliance staff chases after false leads, they end up spending their energies on validating cases of fraud rather than investigating them.

In order to avoid millions, or possibly billions, of dollar in fines, financial institutions build colossal compliance regulatory structures within their business, spending millions. They often have to hire an army of compliance officers, just to keep up with the changing regulatory framework.

Achieving AML Compliance Through Technology

There are, however, better ways to approach AML regulations. Modern technology can contribute a great deal towards building better compliance structures in financial institutes. The Fintech sector has long been working on developing systems that are both effective and efficient. This technology is increasingly being referred to as regulatory technology or RegTech. RegTech systems are now using technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to make compliance functions easier for banks.

One way to approach AML compliance is through suspicious activity reporting. Systems that use machine learning algorithms are used to detect suspicious transactions. These algorithms learn from past behaviour and data to flag fraudulent transactions. More to the fact, they are used to monitor a client’s transactions to determine their normal behaviour. Every time any suspicious or potentially fraudulent transaction is detected on a client’s account, it is either blocked or an alert is issued to the management to take the appropriate action.

Read More: RegTech facilitates effortless AML Compliance

In addition to AML regulations, financial regulators have also issued KYC or Know Your Customer requirements for businesses to adhere to. These obligations further bind financial institutions to conduct enhanced due diligence for high-risk clients. The proliferation of tech solutions in the market has made it easier for banks to fulfil these requirements.

Other tech solutions also provide AML screening checks to fulfil AML requirements for financial institutes. AML checks screen a customer’s name through global sanction lists issued by global regulatory authorities. Screenings of clients can be performed in real time and take place in the background, so as not to disrupt the onboarding process.

Banks can now avail the services of a KYC service provider to authenticate their clients’ identities. This allows them to make sure that their customers are not using fake credentials or stolen identities to open a bank account or avail other financial benefits. The bank asks for a proof of identity from a client during the onboarding process, and authenticates their identity in real-time, with the help of digital ID verification.

The Future of AML Compliance

As the hype for technology-based solutions for implementing compliance structures is at its highest, financial institutes need to evaluate their existing procedures. The financial services sector is fast coming to terms with the prospect of implementing fast and productive AML solutions to decrease their costs. In a way, investing in tech solutions seems the most effective approach for banks to save billions of dollars in non-compliance costs.

 

Open Banking

What is Open Banking & Why Does it Matter in 2019?

Open banking is surely one of those trends that have the potential to change the banking and financial landscape for generations to come. It is estimated that only in the UK, open banking will create revenue opportunity of £ 7.2 Billion by 2022 whereas 71% of SMEs are expected to adopt open banking channels in order to perform their financial and banking activities. 64% of adults will be embracing open banking by 2022. Several use cases are being suggested ranging from KYC for Banks to integration of insurance claims with banking accounts of the retail user. But before we explain why Open Banking will disrupt conventional banking operations in less than 5 years, let us explain what is “Open Banking”?

What is Open Banking?

Open Banking is a process in which banks allow their customers to share their financial information with third-party apps in order to perform several financial activities. Driven by Application Programming Interface (API), Open banking has been part of conventional banking for quite some time in the form of online banking and integration of Visa and MasterCard like services with bank accounts.

But the current wave of Open banking practices and solutions commenced in January 2018 when the UK asked 9 of its major banks to allow their customers to share their data with third-party apps for a seamless banking and transaction experience. In just over 1 year, more than 100 companies have used Open Banking as a mean to launch new services and application.

The UK is not the only market where Open Financial Sector is making waves but countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia have started embracing this technological advancement in order to stir competition, enhance user experience and change outdated business models. Mexico recently implemented a law to strengthen the adoption of Fintech. Several US banks have also started working seriously in Open Banking space, although there is still a regulatory and legal vacuum to support such a dynamic area of innovation.

With KYC due diligence and ID Verification becoming the cornerstone of the regulatory landscape, Open banking was the much-needed incentive for the banking organizations to experiment with technology as many of them complained about regulators’ reluctance with approving technical solutions. Software performing AML Checks for banks. KYC verification, alongside other RegTech, can now be easily available to banks, thanks to open banking protocols and smartly designed APIs.

Examples of Open Banking Solutions

HSBC has launched Connect Money App that allows customers to view their bank accounts from 21 different banks in a single mobile application. Flux launched a digital receipt and loyalty points app, which facilitates Barclays’ customers even in the absence of a physical loyalty card. Llyods introduced account aggregators that enable customers to track their spending behaviors and locate best deals. There are several other third-party service providers that offer API based integration to perform several compliance based actions such as KYC & AML checks. Document verification is also offered through open banking apps to authenticate the credit cards used for online payments.

Millions of actions are being performed using this Solution APIs in the UK alone on a monthly basis as reported by Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE).

How efficient is Open Banking?

Non-banking fintech solutions have completely changed the consumer attitude towards legacy financial organizations. Increase in connected devices and API driven open banking provided an opportunity to conventional banking organization to offer innovative customer experiences, especially to retail consumers and businesses.

Some finance world influencers hold the view that few banks can show reluctance to adopt Financial  channels as they consider it a business risk to share a huge amount of data to third party service providers and getting little to nothing in return. But a counter-argument can be given that most API-driven solutions are focused either at protecting business interests or providing a seamless user experience. For example, in the case of HSBC app, the user can get all their financial information in a single app and a typical Know Your Customer solution can safeguard a banking organization from payment fraud and account takeover scam.

Some consumer groups have also shown resistance in adopting Financial channels, citing concerns that range from data usage to confidentiality of shared data. With scandals such as Cambridge Analytica and news of digital data breaches happening because of lax security protocols also play a significant role in this consumer skepticism about banking. But it has to be understood that Open-Banking APIs are even more secure at data sharing as compared to previous methods used by finance industry. Third-party service providers understand the crucial nature of data they receive from large banks and it is why the majority of them have taken steps to ensure data security. Some solutions offering KYC in banking have complied with GDPR as well to ensure that both the end-consumer and banks availing their services are not at risk of a serious data breach.

Conclusion

Small businesses and individual consumers will be able to make the most of banking but despite a whole generation of innovators trying to create a contextual link up of data and tech solutions, there is still a lot of room for creative problem solving and real-life applications. KYC verification is one aspect that can help create a financial landscape where fraud and scams can be made virtually impossible. KYC compliance seems to be the biggest hurdle and the same goes for other regulations that might be making banks reluctant.

But the bigwigs of financial world should also not forget that with an increasing array of competitors flooding the online marketplace (PayTech, Fintech and challenger banks), Banking is the only way to replace legacy core systems with swift and agile solutions.

 

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