Customer Due Diligence

Security should be the first and foremost priority of financial institutions and banks. You wouldn’t want to provide access to financial systems to fraudsters of any kind? It makes sense for banks and financial services institutions to vet their customers and potential customers thoroughly. Verifying customers before giving them access to financial services is crucial. This is needed to prevent money laundering, embezzlement, account takeover fraud, and all types of fraud. And this is why customer due diligence is an important part of onboarding new customers.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what is customer due diligence and what it means for banks and other financial institutions.

What Is Customer Due Diligence?

Customer Due Diligence (CDD) is the process of identifying your customers and checking if they are who they claim to be. Organizations need to properly risk-assess customers and give them a risk profile before onboarding them. To achieve CDD, businesses need to obtain a customer’s details and cross-reference them with those of an official document that confirms their identity.

CDD is a regulatory requirement for banks, financial institutions, and other businesses starting a relationship with a new customer. The purpose of this is to prevent financial crime and prevent potential crimes that can happen by doing business with highly risky customers.

In customer due diligence, FIs have to analyze customer information from several sources, including the customer sanction lists as well as public and private data sources. The amount of information you collect depends on the risk profile of your customers. Basic customer due diligence requires the following:

  • Information about the identity of your customers, including their name, address, and a photograph of an official ID document.
  • An overview of your customer’s activities and the markets they do business in
  • Basic understanding of other entities that your customers do business with

Customer Due Diligence is at the foundation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance. CDD is aimed to help financial institutions verify their customers, confirm they’re not on any sanctioned lists, and assess the risk factors.

Customer Due Diligence Practice for Banks

Financial institutions have to build and follow a risk-based strategy to comply with customer due diligence as part of KYC and other regulations. This helps make sure that the organizations remain compliant with basic regulatory laws and regulations of the markets in which they operate. 

The level of CDD in banking depends on the type of business-customer relationship and the customer’s risk profile. In a broader sense, banks need to take the necessary steps to make sure that a customer is who they claim to be. This can help in preventing fraudulent activities such as identity fraud or impersonation.

What Does a Customer Due Diligence Process Look Like?

An effective customer due diligence process includes collecting a series of detailed customer information before initiating a customer-business relationship. But that’s not all, a customer due diligence process is operational long after the customer is part of a business.

Here are the requirements for a robust customer due diligence process.

  • Customer Information: To make sure that customers are who they claim to be, businesses need to collect customers’ basic information. This basic information is the full name, photo identification, address, phone number, email address, occupation, tax identification, and more. 
  • Business Information: CDD processes should have additional information regarding a customer’s business model, source of funds, and UBO.
  • Customer Risk Profile: Another crucial part of customer due diligence is building a risk profile for every customer. This risk profile is made by collecting information such as location, business type, and customer identity. Based on this information, a risk profile is built (low, medium, high), which is to show the level of money laundering risk they pose. A customer’s risk profile determines how much due diligence is needed for a customer. High-risk customers need more detailed diligence compared to low and medium-risk customers.
  • Continuous Monitoring: The customer due diligence process doesn’t stop after customer onboarding by a bank/financial services industry. An ideal CDD measure should include some kind of ongoing monitoring system and keep an eye on high-risk clients, suspicious transactions, sudden changes to customer profiles, and so on. 

Your customer due diligence process should answer all the fundamental questions:

  • Is the applicant the person claiming online?
  • Does the risk profile of the applicant raise any red flags?

Low-risk customers can be fast-tracked through the approval process. All because of the online customer verification software and online bank account verification software. Because of automation, customer verification has become 40% more streamlined. This means that the customer onboarding process for low-risk customers should be cut down to under 2 hours.

However, the decision time for higher-risk individuals may still take longer. Most of the time it takes around 48-72 hours to onboard high-risk customers. Assuming that 90% of the customers will be low to medium-risk customers, the cost and efficiency gains of automated ID verification and AML screening can reduce the costs dramatically and improve user experience.

Streamlining Customer Due Diligence Process

Complying with KYC and AML requirements has made the account opening process complex and time-consuming for most businesses. Different banks take different amounts of time for onboarding new customers. But, on average a bank takes 24 days to complete the customer onboarding process. And with a growing number of regulations, it’s only going to get worse. 

Moreover, increased onboarding time and friction will cause higher abandonment rates by customers. These costs can exceed the costs of any type of fraud considering the lifetime value of lost customers. 

This is why it’s high time businesses need to streamline the CDD process to save money and get new customers.

1. Identity Verification

While there are a series of other ID verification methods, more and more businesses are now relying on automated identity verification to smooth out the onboarding process. Automated ID verification relies on AI, machine learning, and biometric verification to authenticate identity documents. In some cases, banks may even ask customers to perform a liveness check to ensure that the applicant is physically present instead of customers using a pre-recorded video.

2. Ongoing Monitoring & Screening

Not just ID verification, AI and machine learning software can easily provide financial institutions with a more effective transaction monitoring system. This reduces the risk of false positives for suspicious activity.

Same as building risk profiles, individual transactions can also be scored and combined with advanced algorithms that track expected vs actual transaction behavior and update customer risk ratings in real-time. 

Better ID verification, AML screening, and transaction monitoring solutions are enabling financial institutions to keep up with the changes made by regulatory bodies. These technological solutions can help financial services institutions to spot patterns and suspicious transactions by monitoring current transaction data and comparing them with historical transaction data.

Importance of CDD

When you consider the amount of harm fraudulent activities can do, it makes sense the amount financial institutions spend on complying with KYC and AML compliance. These countermeasures are designed to prevent money laundering and other financial frauds.

Here are the main reasons why banks need to take CDD seriously:

  • Big compliance fines: The enforcement of AML regulations is on the rise, since 2009, regulators have levied over $32 billion in AML non-compliance fines. In 2020 itself, FinCEN fined banks in the United States for over $11.11 billion.
  • Sophisticated Cyber Crimes: Criminal are using more sophisticated methods to remain undetected, including globally coordinated tech, insider information, the dark web, and e-commerce.
  • Reputational Risk: AML non-compliance puts financial institutions’ reputations on the line. The average value of the top 10 banks is $45 billion. 
  • Rising Costs: Most AML compliance activities require a huge manual effort, making them inefficient and difficult to scale.

Enlightened Approach to CDD

A growing number of banks and FinTechs are discovering how to automate their CDD process and if needed the enhanced due diligence process. By using the latest tools and technologies such as online document verification and online KYC verification software, businesses can improve the customer due diligence process.

When is CDD Necessary in Banking?

  • Starting a Business Relationship: Before starting a new customer-business relationship, banks have to perform due diligence checks, verify who the customers and ensure that they aren’t using a fake identity. 
  • Occasional Transactions: Certain transactions may require you to follow CDD strategies. For example, transactions over a certain monetary amount (over USD 10,000) or if the customer is transacting with high-risk persons or regions.
  • Suspicious Activity: Banks have to implement CDD checks if the customers have a suspicious history and shady activity related to money laundering or financing terrorism.

Unreliable Identification: If the information offered by your customer is unreliable, suspicious, or doesn’t meet requirements, banks should implement additional CDD measures. 

Reducing Customer Due Diligence Time: How to Go From Weeks to Minutes?

The regulations made for saving customers and businesses from fraud are diverse and institutions have to keep pace with developing strategies to remain compliant. As such, creating a smooth onboarding process that is robust and efficient isn’t a mean feat. The biggest challenge in staying compliant is for businesses to keep evolving requirements while reducing friction and delays. A process full of friction and delays lead to increased poor customer frustration and drop-offs. 

When onboarding new customers, financial institutions need to know who they are dealing with before getting into a full-fledged business relationship. To verify customer identities, due diligence is important.

Customer due diligence is an important part of your business’s risk management. Different customers have different levels of risk, so CDD is conducted based on risk level. You should assess the potential risk level of each customer, and adjust your due diligence strategy. For the majority of clientele, standard due diligence practices that just require the authentication of customer identities will suffice.

In certain lower-risk scenarios, simplified due diligence is enough. When carrying out simplified due diligence, you just need to identify your customers instead of identifying and verifying them.

On the other hand, there might be instances where standard due diligence isn’t enough, in this case, you’d need to adopt an enhanced due diligence process.

Let’s break down 3 different levels of customer due diligence:

  1. Simplified Due Diligence (SDD): Simplified Due Diligence is used in situations where the risk of money laundering or terrorist funding is minimal and CDD isn’t important. SDD happens in accounts that have low transactional value, the risk of illegal activities is minimal at best.
  2. Customer Due Diligence (CDD): This type of diligence happens when information is obtained on customers to verify their identity and assess the risk profile of customers. These types of diligence checks are done on customers when opening a financial account in some form.
  3. Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD): EDD is done for customers to assess the identities of high-risk customers and monitor their transactional history to mitigate the chances of future risks. Most jurisdictions need politically exposed people lists (PEPs) to go through the EDD process. Other factors that require EDD for a customer are high transaction/value accounts, accounts that deal with high-risk countries, or accounts that deal with high-risk activities.
  4. Due diligence is vital for mitigating fraud, not only to comply with regulations and avoid hefty fines, but it is also a smart business strategy. Not knowing your customer identity is a risk factor for most businesses. 

International standards require a risk-based approach to be added to the customer due diligence. Companies have to assess the money laundering risks each customer poses and adjust their due diligence checks. 

Customer Due Diligence Checklist

1. Conduct Basic Customer Due Diligence

The first step is to conduct a simple investigation, such as identifying and verifying a customer’s identity. Businesses are needed to verify the identity of the customers they’re dealing with. These requirements apply to all new customers as part of Know Your Customer regulations. 

There are multiple methods businesses can verify customer identities. The first step is online document verification, which involves assessing the legitimacy of a customer’s identity document.

In addition to online ID verification, businesses should also look forward to verifying customers’ financial information and their business activities. 

2. Take Help from Third Parties

Most of the time, businesses will opt to work with third-party solution providers while conducting customer due diligence. Third-party solution providers can be auditors and providers of CDD solutions such as online document verification. Businesses need to make sure that any third parties they work with are reliable and are trusted enough to share confidential data.

3. Figure Out if EDD is Needed

If the customer is considered as high-risk, the businesses may need to go beyond ordinary customer due diligence. Enhanced due diligence is necessary if you’re entering into a business relationship with a politically exposed person (PEP), and if the transaction involves a person from a high-risk country. 

4. Keep a Thorough Record

A bank/financial institution is forced by law to keep a record of all financial transactions for at least 5 years. This includes any information collected through CDD measures, account files, and any related analysis.

Businesses also have to securely document and store all the information, as this information contains sensitive information, and it would be challenging if the information was lost.

5. Keep Up-to-Date Records

It’s vital for businesses to keep records of their customers. If any changes happen regarding your customers, you’ll need to redo their risk assessment and carry out further due diligence if it’s required.

Speeding Up the Process

Regulated businesses have to apply risk-based customer due diligence measures to prevent their businesses from getting threatened by money laundering or terrorist financiers. To avoid these financial frauds, KYC & AML checks have to be completed. With proper due diligence checks, businesses can reduce the financial, reputational, regulatory, and strategic risks of other entities.

Traditionally, businesses perform due diligence checks using manual paper-based processes. Manual work requires a human, and it takes up a lot of time, the process is full of errors and offers no visibility to the customers. The manual process usually is frustrating, and time-consuming. That’s why integrating new technologies into the CDD process is always a good idea.

How does DIRO Help?

DIRO’s online document verification software offers instantaneous document verification that can easily strengthen the KYC & AML process. DIRO offers stronger proof of authentication with verifiable credentials. With DIRO being able to verify over 7000 document types from all over the globe, it can strengthen the AML and KYC verification process.


Open Finance and Changing Role of a Bank Manager

The digital revolution in the banking industry has been put into overdrive since the pandemic, and many sectors are changing customer landscapes. Business banking is no exception. Banks are now facing growing pressure to introduce new processes in line with customers’ heightened expectations.

One finance can transform SMB banking by replacing traditional manual processes. It also allows businesses to support digital onboarding and automated monitoring, and it can reshape the role of a local bank manager.

What Is Open Finance?

Open finance is the next step after open banking APIs and it extends to a wider range of financial data. The primary purpose of open finance is to provide consumers and businesses with better control over their finances which allows users to transform the way they access financial services.

In layman’s terms, open finance leverages consumers’ financial data with their consent, and by using this data, banks can build new products and services such as online accounting, banking, and eCommerce platforms.

Challenges Faced by Bank Managers

For a long time, banks and bank managers have played an integral part in the high street and the wider SMB economy, however, since the last decade, things have been changing throughout the financial institutions.

In the last 10 years, the biggest banks globally have closed tons of their branches. With growing large portfolios, reducing favor of credit cards, and ineffective and old internal systems, bank managers have been having trouble in recent years. Even before financial services had to battle with the pandemic, onboarding times were slow and customers often faced poor customer experience.

With traditional processes, bank managers are focused on admin work instead of adding value to their customers. Strong customer relationships and their presence in the community are important, winning and keeping business is a vital job when the competition is FinTechs that offer better services to the customers. The challenger bank, Starling, is the success story in the industry, and they’ve had a huge impact on the industry.

In the old times, banks relied on their bank’s managers to build relationships and tackle digital competition. As customers are becoming more tech-savvy, it’s not possible to tackle digital services with the old and traditional services.

How Banks Can Utilize Open Finance to Their Benefit?

Bank managers have 3 core responsibilities:

  • Onboarding
  • Monitoring current customers
  • Being active in new product offerings

Let’s dive deeper into these core responsibilities:

1. Digital Onboarding: So, what does online customer onboarding looks like with open finance? Instead of the usual back and forth of documents for ID and address verification, in just a handful of clicks on SMB simply connects their bank with their accounting, banking, and commerce platforms. Then banks are able to pull all necessary data for customer verification into the internal systems for an instant decision.

2. Automated Monitoring: Instead of banks asking customers for documents to keep monitoring updated, customer data can be leveraged to maintain continuous monitoring.

3. Meaningful Insights: Open finance allows bank managers to have a real-time and ongoing view of customer financial health. Bank managers don’t have to focus on 9-18 months of credit bureau data which boosts relevant and timely outreach. By leveraging open finance, bank managers can have a variety of tools in their arsenal that they can use to serve their customers better.

Adoption of Open Finance for Banks and Consumers

FinTechs are rapidly evolving and adopting financial technologies based on customer demand, the path for larger financial institutions is less clear. Now that Visa has started using open banking provider Tink, it’s just a matter of time that other providers will follow suit. Whatever happens in the industry, for banks to survive and to expand, they need to keep up with the latest technologies.

Fintech KYC/KYB

FinTech 2022 – A Brief Insight into Global KYC Regulations

Financial services globally are heavily regulated by regulated bodies. The number one concern of the government about FinTech companies is the growing rate of fraud. Over the years, FinTechs have achieved incredible growth and flexibility. They can launch new services quickly, focus on scalability, and adapt fast. Although, the rapid growth of FinTechs doesn’t come without its challenges. As technology is added to the finance sector, regulatory bodies have implemented stricter regulations. Let’s take a look at what these regulatory challenges are for the present state of FinTechs.

Major KYC/AML Regulations for FinTechs in 2022

In many regions, the FinTech sector was unregulated a couple of years ago and became the ground zero for scams and frauds. Because the FinTech industry is so vast, it impacts several industries and the authorities can’t develop a single approach to the problems. 

For many areas, governments worldwide have updated the existing Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. Some regulatory bodies have implemented FATF’s risk-based approach to tackle fraud. However, FinTechs are affected in numerous ways, so an industry-specific customer due diligence (CDD) approach is vital.

United States Regulations

FinTechs in the US aren’t regulated by any particular regulation. However, the firms are subjected to federal and state laws for registration, ID verification, and background screening is vital. The first fighter of fraud in the country “FinCEN” has issued a number of AML/CFT policies for FinTechs. The country’s FinTech companies have to perform customer due diligence during onboarding and submit Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to the regulatory body.

United Kingdom Regulations

Just like the US, the United Kingdom doesn’t have any regulatory framework for FinTechs. However, any FinTech that offers traditional financial services, such as banking has to comply with the FinTechs set by regulatory authorities. If FinTech wants to operate in the UK, they have to get authorization from one of the UK’s financial regulators – the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) or PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority).

EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Directive

The latest AML Directive (AMLD6) has a more profound impact on different sectors of the FinTech industry. From cryptocurrencies to wallet providers, AMD 6 has a far better influence and impact on fraud prevention across industries.

  1. Cryptocurrencies

Any platform that offers cryptocurrencies will have to go under tougher regulatory controls. All virtual currency exchanges have to register with the relevant authority, conduct necessary CDD protocols, and submit suspicious activity reports (SARs). Financial intelligence units (FIUs) have to maintain customer records with the name and address of the customer buying and selling digital currency.

  1. Prepaid Cards

According to the new AML directive, the limit for the prepaid card has been set between €150 to €250 and there’s a limit of €50 for online transactions. Additionally, cards are only allowed in the region unless a foreign provider meets the AML standards. Payments can only be accepted if the jurisdiction meets the AML standards.

  1. Beneficial Ownership

AMLD6 now requires all businesses to maintain publicly available and interconnected ultimate beneficial ownership (UBO) registries. National authorities will have access to these registries for trusts and bank accounts.

  1. High-Value Goods

High-value goods have been a part of money laundering activities for a long time. The use of high-value goods is now subject to new reporting requirements with updated thresholds. These goods include art, precious metals, artifacts, tobacco, and other items.

What FinTechs Can Do for Effective Compliance?

The FinTech industry is highly diverse and every sector has to re-evaluate and reform their customer due diligence programs according to the updated regulations. As a part of the FinTech industry you need to consider a few questions:

  • Are you complying with the country’s KYC/AML laws that you are serving in?
  • What customer due diligence protocols are you following as a business?
  • Is your customer screening process effective or is your drop-off increasing?
  • Is your customer due diligence process equally effective worldwide?


Digital Account Opening and BSA Teams

Small and large businesses are the same as they are required to follow the same Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulations. The associated costs and workload are manageable for big institutions with big teams, but it’s tough for smaller compliance teams. Fortunately, by implementing digital compliance tools, banks of all sizes can enhance their compliance procedures. Automated compliance tools enhance customer experience, boosting the acquisition and conversion rate of customer onboarding.

Online document verification software and online ID verification software have the potential to relieve pressure on manual compliance teams. Online verification platforms are designed to automate workflows and reduce the risk of fraud and false positives. Banks that operate with automated solutions improve compliance efficiency by more than 50%. This also reduces the workload from BSA teams and enables a renewed focus on big-picture compliance initiatives.

Complying with The Requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act

Maintaining compliance with BSA regulations can be highly expensive for most banks. Community banks may not have the budget to manage personnel for potential fraud cases. To be able to comply with the allotted time limitations is tough and expensive. However, the costs for non-compliance are even more as regulatory bodies tend to charge huge fines.

In theory, BSA providers have to use protective measures. The result is that most banks are hesitant to invest in the latest technologies or services because of how they’ll affect compliance. Even the most common banking procedures like bank account opening can become inefficient if the staff has to spend a lot of time on KYC/AML procedures.

How does Digital Banking Impact Compliance?

BSA teams usually find that legacy technologies aren’t compatible with the development of fast and accurate compliance workflows. The alternative is new technologies that can replace legacy systems to automate key procedures. Newer and more advanced technologies should also maximize compliance protection programs. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has stated that technological innovations are vital for smooth BSA compliance.

The best technologies for account opening offer multiple benefits.

1. Automates KYC/AML Evaluations

KYC and AML compliance during the account opening is the foundation of BSA compliance. Technologies provide workflows that are built to analyze data and context clues vital for detecting fraudulent activity while providing fewer false positives.

Banks can set up unique technologies to build a comprehensive profile for each applicant. Banks have to control every element of the KYC decision workflow in real time.

2. Reducing False Positives

Any transaction monitoring system generates a lot of false positives. False positives just add to human hours as they have to be investigated quickly and reported if they seem suspicious. And its worst, banks close down legitimate accounts or reject worthy applicants as a caution against false positives.

BSA/AML automation systems trigger way too many false positives which increase the burden on the BSA compliance team instead of reducing it. Doing identity checks is important but if the technology is profiling most applicants as suspects, then the solution isn’t doing the job necessary. The right type of technological solutions aims towards reducing false positives offering the BSA team relief from the overload of work.

3. Streamlining the Compliance Process

Using ideal digital solutions offers your compliance team a few critical advantages to maintain compliance. Automation is the key to success. Manual interventions slow down the processes, be it account opening, fraud investigation, or auditing. When certain factors are effectively automated, the staff has room for managing other tasks. With the right automation steps in place, your team has the bandwidth to address the risks as they emerge, thus streamlining the compliance process.

Automation of BSA Compliance to Stay Competitive

Digitization in banking comes with a lot of perks, this also reduces the workload for the bank’s BSA teams, in turn improving compliance efforts to avoid fines by regulatory bodies. Using digital account opening software isn’t just a way to streamline compliance, it’s also an opportunity to improve competitiveness by offering customers easy-to-use solutions.

Proof of Address

Proof of Address Guide in US, UK, and Canada

Moving to a new country? Opening a new bank account is one of the first things that you need to do, as there’s no way to survive without money. To open a new bank account in the US, all you need is a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID. Opening a bank account, or renting a home requires proof of address verification.

Finding a proof of address document in a new country can be challenging. There are different rules and regulations in each country. Different organizations can also decide which documents will they accept as proof of address verification. Depending on the country you’re in, what counts as address proof varies. However, in the US, UK, and Canada, one or more of  the below-mentioned documents will work:

  • Driver’s license
  • Proof of employment
  • Academic records
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills
  • Rent arrangements

Utility bills can be of any kind, water bills, electricity bills, internet bills, or phone bills, they can be used separately or together. But for utility bills to be submitted as a proof of address verification document, they have to be less old than 90 days.

In this guide, we’ll be telling you all about the proof of address verification in the US, UK, and Canada.

Why is Proof of Address Verification Required?

Proof of address or proof of residency is a document that’s used to verify where a customer lives. It differs from other types of ID documents that are used for verification, as not all ID and government-issued documents include your current address.

The proof of address documents should show where a person lives. If you don’t have a particular proof of address document, then you can purchase a post office box in the U.S., for receiving mail, but that doesn’t count as a residential address. For account opening and other purposes, you’ll be asked to show an ID proof and 1 proof of address document. Customers can’t use the same document for both proof of ID verification and proof of residency verification. Some organizations may have other policies, but it’s best for customers to carry 2 different documents with them. 

The proof of address verification allows customers to access multiple services and also offers banks and financial institutions a paper trail to keep track of customers. If you’re planning to move to the U.S., U.K., or Canada, then it is essential to prove your residency. If you plan to send money or receive payments, then you’ll need to open a new bank account.

While you’re in a new country, it would be helpful to collect as many proof of address documents as possible. Having multiple documents is important, as different companies have different policies. 

Regardless of what proof of address you use, it’s also important for documents to be fairly recent. The document that you provide should contain your full name and address. If you’re using an address proof that doesn’t have a valid date, then you have to provide the last three recent bills.

Proof of Address Verification in the U.S.

The most common proof of address verification document in the United States is the driver’s license. It’s also the most commonly used ID verification document. The problem for new residents in a country is getting a driver’s license, alongside documents that show proof of identity such as a passport, permanent resident card, birth certificate, and others.

If you want a list of acceptable proof of address verification documents, then you can visit the DMV website for a full list of documents. If you don’t want to go through the website, then here are some of the most commonly accepted articles:

  • Utility bills
  • Rental contract or lease agreement
  • Mortgage statement for homeowners
  • Documents from your school, such as enrollment papers or a report card
  • Insurance policies or premium bills
  • Bank or credit card statements
  • Tax form
  • Posted mails with your name and address

How to Get a Photo ID Card?

While it’s not as commonly used, you can also apply for a photo ID card in the state of the U.S. you live in. This ID document can also be used as a proof of address document when needed. You can apply for a photo ID from a government agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To apply for a photo ID in the USA, you need:

  • Your green card, valid Employment Authorization Card with Forms I-8744, or another US Visa with an I-94 form.
  • Social security card
  • Proof of address

Keep in mind that every state has its own rules. Be sure to reach out to your local DMV to learn about the rules and regulations.

Also, non-residents can’t have a social security number. Regardless, you can still get a photo ID from the DMV without an SSN.

Proof of Address Verification in Canada

Same as in the US, your driver’s license is a common proof of address document in Canada. But there are other documents you can use for proof of address verification.

  • T4 slips from your employer
  • Your tax returns
  • Rental agreements or receipts from landlords
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Utility Bills
  • Car registration
  • Academic records and transcripts
  • Insurance policies
  • Bank or credit card statements
  • Notice of assessment

Documents such as T4 slips, and academic records are the most easily available proof of address documents. Utility bills and lease agreements are the second-best easily available proof of address documents.

Proof of Address Verification in the UK

In the UK, proof of address verification documents are needed at almost every step. Proof of address verification in UK is a crucial step in customer onboarding. Let’s say you want a proof of address document for bank account opening, you’ll need documents such as:

  • A letter from your university, college, or school
  • A letter from your employer confirming your address
  • A letter from someone you know who is a customer of that bank who can act as a verifier for the bank.

In the United States and Canada, you can also use a rental agreement, insurance policy, credit card statements, and utility bills for proof of address verification.

Additional Documents for Proving Address in the UK

Another method for proof of address verification documents is to use a company that helps residents arriving in the country. These companies and service providers can help in streamlining the overall process.

Conclusion: Proof of Address Verification

Chances are, whenever you move to a new country, you’re likely to have at least one document that can be used as proof of address verification.

You may have an employment letter, university transcript, cell phone bill, rental agreement, or others. Once you’ve got a proof of address verification document, you can start opening a new bank account.


What is Blockchain? How Does It Work in Favor of Business?

Blockchain for business is invaluable for entities that transact with each other. The distributed ledger technology allows participants to access the same information at any time to improve efficiency, build trust, and remove friction. Blockchain also allows businesses to rapidly scale and perform various tasks across industries. Blockchain for small business offer four main benefits:

  • Consensus: Shared decentralized ledgers are updated only after the transaction is validated by all involved participants.
  • Replication: Once a block (a block of information) is created, it is automatically created across all the ledgers for all participants in that channel. Every involved party in a business can access and share a “trusted reality” of the transactions.
  • Immutability: More blocks can be added to the chain but it is impossible to remove a block, so every transaction can be recorded permanently which increases trust among the stakeholders.
  • Security: Only trusted and authorized parties are allowed to create blocks and access the information and data stored in them. This makes blockchain technology incredibly secure.

How to Implement Blockchain for Business?

Blockchain has left the crypto market and it has gone mainstream. Industries around the world are using blockchain to transform their business operations. Blockchain provides a sense of trust, reliability, and efficiency that wasn’t possible earlier on. With the use of blockchain, businesses can reinvent the supply chain, food distribution, financial services, government data management, retail services and so much more. The benefits of blockchain in business are seemingly endless, the only limitation is implementation.

Innovative Applications of Blockchain for Businesses

Widespread blockchain use for business will change the way your business runs its day-to-day operations. Here are the most common uses of blockchain technology for business:

1. Smart Contracts

The release of the Ethereum project reinvented the word “smart contract.” The project is “a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts, applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, fraud or third-party interference”.

‘Smart Contracts’ are automated computer programs that can carry out the terms of any contract. What makes it even better is that these contracts will be unbreakable. Top companies like Slock, which is an Ethereum-enabled internet-of-things platform, leverage this application to allow customers to rent bicycles where they can unlock a smart lock after both parties agree to the terms of the contract. This is one of the best uses of blockchain for business.

2. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is another brilliant application of blockchain for small businesses. One of the most innovative brands in the market named Storj claimed that “Simply using excess hard drive space, users could store the traditional cloud 300 times over.” 

The average cost of blockchain regarding cloud storage is more than $20 billion. By integrating blockchain into cloud storage, significantly reduces the cost of storing data for companies and personal users. If that’s not one of the best benefits of blockchain in business then what is?

3. Faster, Cheaper Payments

Blockchain started with Bitcoin, also it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used to initiate faster payments. Making crypto payments on the blockchain is beneficial when you have international or remote workers. Blockchain allows you to pay the salary of your employees in less than an hour without outrageous transaction fees associated with banking systems.

Paying employees by using cryptocurrency may help you save money in numerous ways. Plus, with blockchain, you can keep track of your transactions and payments. This way, you won’t ever overpay on your taxes or underpay. If you’re wondering how to implement blockchain in business, then you should try to move in this direction.

4. Improved Marketing Campaigns

Good marketing is crucial for your business, but the number of businesses that are competing in the space makes it harder for your business to stand out from the crowd. Businesses are usually familiar with using social media, billboards, and other forms of marketing. Blockchain may make your marketing efforts more effective. 

Blockchain can be used by marketers to keep track of client information and consumer behavior. Using this data, skilled marketers can build robust marketing campaigns that provide better ROI. Additionally, blockchain allows marketers to verify that the traffic they’re getting is real people. 

5. Fraud Mitigation

Banks, financial institutions, and other businesses can use blockchain technology for businesses to identify with whom they are working. Blockchain facilitates reliable ID Management to prevent fraud. If customer information is stored on a blockchain network, it mitigates the risk of identity theft, money laundering, financial fraud, and so on.

Any information placed on the blockchain can’t be changed, it allows people to take control of their data. Once a customer’s identity verification has been completed, other parties can use the data to confirm if they are working with a real person and not an identity thief.


Online Payments: Reinventing Customer Experiences

The idea of the digital economy has been around for a long time, but the Covid-19 pandemic finally pushed the idea into a reality. Several businesses have made the idea possible by launching digital financial products and services. Before the pandemic, online payments were becoming highly famous among customers. Cash payments have been steadily declining since the year 2000, falling by around 10% every year, and the pandemic completely changed the process. According to industry experts, cash transactions will be eliminated in the next decade. 

However, traditional banking alternatives to cash still contain huge fees and inefficient practices. However, businesses are finding that traditional banking alternatives to cash aren’t equipped to deal with the modern instant economy and digitally demanding customers. 

Customers want a financial system that will allow them to send and receive money instantly and without much hassle. Leading more businesses to place more value on the online payment model. 

Open banking APIs allow businesses of all kinds to set up their own payment methods outside of traditional banking services. Open banking APIs leverage customer data, so they allow businesses to tailor build digital financial products and services for customers.

What are APIs and Their Value?

An API is software that allows two different applications to communicate with each other. One of the biggest and most common examples of APIs are food delivery apps or ride apps like Lyft, which offer customers an option for making payments inside the app. In the long run, it helps in improving customer experience.

For the customers, the online payment process becomes fairly simple and it’s all possible due to APIs.

As the banks themselves aren’t equipped enough to handle online payments, this leads to slow payments, expensive transfer fees, and a completely inefficient process. After all, banks don’t have the technical prowess to handle growing customer demands. 

This is where open banking APIs come in. An API (Application Programming Interface) acts as a third party between accounts. APIs are specifically designed to offer a better online payment experience for customers.

Benefits of APIs

As customers are becoming more digital-friendly, they want more options for online payments. For banks and other financial institutions to keep up with customers’ demands, they need a seamless and secure payment method.

As traditional banking methods are expensive and inefficient, non-banks and FinTechs can struggle to find a payment infrastructure that can meet their customers’ expectations. Fortunately, open banking API can in fixing this problem by offering benefits such as:

1. Faster Payments

API software can support regulatory and operational tasks of plugging into payment schemes meaning that they can make online payments faster compared to banking methods. 

Businesses will be able to receive and make payments instantly, instead of waiting for days for a payment to be confirmed.

2. Faster Settlement & Reconciliation

APIs can make for better payment settlement, so accounts and debts are settled quickly. This means users are aware of their account activities at all times. This is coupled with faster reconciliation, so accounts show all the activities in real-time, ensuring better financial management.

3. Enhanced End-to-End Payment Experiences

The embedded payment feature reduces the need for customers to enter their financial details over and over again. APIs allow businesses to provide seamless online payment which can support customer needs. And, as the user’s accounts are never in direct contact with the bank’s servers, APIs offer an extra level of financial security compared to traditional payment methods.


How Digital ID Verification Can Mitigate Crypto Fraud

Cryptocurrencies have seen incredible growth in the last decade and they are emerging as a mainstream market and a viable investment choice. The digital currency has become more famous since the Covid-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has ruined the growth of many industries, it has advanced and expanded the use of online banking and digital payment services, and digital assets like cryptocurrencies.

While the growth is good news, the bad news is that cybercriminals love the use of digital money. The use of digital currency is like a magnet for criminals because of two primary reasons.

  1. Global online access to money
  2. Complex and confusing systems make money laundering easier

With an unregulated market, cryptocurrencies are loved by fraudsters all over the world. Identity verification solutions assist in making cryptocurrencies safe for users. As the cryptocurrency markets are growing, the need for robust ID verification solutions is needed even more.

Exchanges Need to Enhance their Rules & Regulations

One of the major reasons why money laundering and other cybercrimes are growing in the cryptocurrency market is that not all exchanges have weak ID verification methods in place. According to a study, 56% of cryptocurrency exchanges have weak or nonexistent KYC policies that do no good to prevent money laundering.

To make things worse, some exchanges intentionally hide their country of origin to avoid complying with any type of KYC guidelines. This only plays a helping hand in the global money-laundering problem.

Compare this with banks and financial institutions, which are using groundbreaking ID verification technology using AI, Machine Learning & massive data sets to manage increasingly strict regulations.

Some major cryptocurrency players keep up with the demand for improved AML/KYC compliance. Using third-party solutions is a more effective solution to onboard the customers.

Banks and Regulatory Bodies Want Crypto Verified

Tons of banks still consider crypto as a volatile currency and full of risk. A reputation that is upheld by constant cases of fraud and poor crypto exchanges. These behaviors don’t foster the atmosphere of trust that is vital for the future of cryptocurrencies.

Digital currencies need to create trust among users and make them a part of mainstream financial services. Better monitoring and analysis capabilities will help mitigate the opportunities for bad actors to hide illicit financial activities among legal transactions. Also, the compliance regulations must not hinder the user experience.

One way for crypto exchanges to smoothen the frictions associated with AML/KYC compliances is by using Machine learning technology.

A survey showed that 80% of compliance professionals believe that machine learning could potentially improve the reduced compliance risk. Machine learning solutions are already in place at multiple banks, with a majority of $1 million annually for building strong ID verification solutions.

DIRO Online Document Verification for Secure Crypto Transactions

Cryptocurrency exchange needs to employ strong robust KYC/AML procedures to reduce the risk of increased fraud. DIRO’s online document verification solution verifies documents like bank statements, utility bills, driver’s licenses, and so on. Verifying documents is one of the primary methods of eliminating fraudsters using cryptocurrency for money laundering.


Identifying Fake Bank Statements: How to Fight Fraudulent Applications

Prospective tenants, bank account openers, and other bad actors can use fake bank statements to commit a series of illegal activities. While fraudsters are getting smarter, they also utilize technologies to make near-perfect bank statements. Manual verification methods can’t keep up with the standards set up by bad actors. Identifying fake bank statements is the need of the hour to reduce fraud as much as possible. There are some common methods that can be utilized to identify fake bank statements.

How to Fight Fraudulent Applications?

Unfortunately, the problem of fake bank statements is still prominent and it has grown even bigger with the pandemic putting millions of people out of jobs. As a matter of fact, the problem with fake banks has become an even bigger nuisance for banks, financial institutions, building owners, and so on. The percentage of fake bank statement use increased from 15% to 29% in September 2020.

What makes this situation worse is that one in every 4 applications tends to go unnoticed. The increase in the number of undetected fraudulent applications can be allotted to the lack of proper verification solutions. Also, manual methods of verification can’t detect highly sophisticated forged bank statements. Automation and data utilization can be used to fight fraudulent applications.

Identifying Fake Bank Statements

1. Ensure that All The Figures Match Up

One common mistake that fraudsters make is that they don’t put in too much effort to ensure that all the numbers on the bank statements add up. If there is no money for automated verification processes, then you’ll need to take up your time to figure out if the numbers add up.

While identifying the bank statements, it is always a good idea to keep one thing in mind: people who fake bank statements will often use round figures. Proper round figures are usually a red flag while identifying if a bank statement is real or not. 

2. Take to a Bank Rep

If as a business you’re uncertain that you have received a fake or genuine bank statement, then one way to be sure is to reach out to a banking representative. Call the bank yourself, don’t rely on any information that’s listed on the bank statement. Once you get through to a banking representative, confirm all the details you want to confirm. 

In most cases, a banking representative will ask for a mail copy of the document. Chances are that you may not get much support from the bank. Various banks will try to prevent the manipulation of documents by adding some kind of digital signature to the PDF files, although this feature is usually to protect investment accounts. 

3. Search for Inconsistencies and Errors in Documents 

The first potential red flag regarding the bank statements is the major & minor inconsistencies in the documents. Are the font size and the font type consistent with other document types of the same bank? Is the bank’s logo accurate and up to the standard? People who create fake bank documents often get lazy and these inconsistencies can help in preventing online fraud. Do the numbers add up in the document and do the ending balance make sense? Are there any withdrawals that are suspicious? If the bank statements contain any of these inconsistencies, then you may need more research.

4. DIRO’s Online Document Verification

While you can rely on manual methods of verification for a lot of things, they still have some limitations. By utilizing technologies, you can easily distinguish between fake and real documents. DIRO’s bank document verification software verifies documents instantly and provides strong proof of verification backed by verifiable credentials. DIRO’s online document verification tool can verify over 7000 documents from all over the world by cross-referencing document data from an original web source.

The technology can eliminate the barriers of manual verification and enhance the overall document verification process and eliminate document-related fraud. 


Doing Business in Brazil: Here’s All You Need to Know

The times are changing and businesses want to reach global markets. The increasing interactions and transactions with people around the globe. All this is supported by the latest advancement in communications and information technology. The major driving forces behind globalization are “shipping, data, and capital flows”, businesses can use these to their advantage to enter new markets.

Expanding to new markets, leveraging existing technologies, and building a loyal customer base are challenging with great rewards. Banks and financial services institutions offering services to the unbanked and underbanked face several challenges while entering new markets. 

Doing business internationally is difficult compared to operating domestically. Apart from cultural and language barriers, businesses need to comply with multiple regulations that they’re unfamiliar with. So, what does a business consider before trying to do business in other countries? To make the transition to new countries easier, we at DIRO have decided to offer insights on what it takes to enter new markets. In this guide, we’ll be sharing all the information necessary about doing business in Brazil.

Doing Business in Brazil

Brazil has a huge population and it has all the pillars that support a strong digital economy. A large portion of the population is equipped with fast internet connectivity and smartphones. To give you an idea, Brazil has the second-highest number of Facebook and Twitter users. What makes their digital economy even stronger is that it has more smartphones than people.

Most of the population is youthful and is up for new technology adoption. 85% of the population lives in urban areas. When it comes to entrepreneurship, Brazil is one of the top entrepreneurial countries in the world. 

Brazil Stats:

  • Population: 212 million 
  • Median Age: 32
  • GDP: $1.868 trillion
  • GDP growth: 1.8%
  • Income per capita: $12,300
  • Internet access: 70.2%
  • Smartphones: 44%

1. FinTechs

One indicator of Brazil’s financial growth is the number of FinTech companies. In 2019, 380 FinTech companies were successfully running their business in Brazil. The biggest name out of them all is Nubank, as they reported opening 1.5 million digital savings accounts first 6 months of their operations in 2018. Already 64% of the Brazilian population has adopted some type of FinTech.

2. Digital Payments

In 2020, the total transaction value for digital payments was over $50 billion. Combining that with an annual growth rate of 11.8 percent, the value is expected to cross the $75 billion mark in 2023. 

3. mCommerce

As we mentioned above, Brazil has a huge number of smartphone users. With the significant use of smartphones, and the youthful tech-friendly population, the mCommerce industry can grow. 

4. Cybercrime

With the high number of smartphone users, the rate of cybercrime is high in Brazil. 76% of the Brazilian population have reported that they’ve been personally affected by cybercrime. The rate of cybercrime is the highest out of all countries. This may be a major challenge for banks and financial services providers trying to enter the market.

Current Situation of AML/KYC in Brazil

1. Anti-Money Laundering

 Brazil is a member of the FATF and has had AML laws since 1998. Although, the FATF has great concerns about deficiencies identified in its June 2010 mutual evaluation report. While Brazil didn’t implement necessary changes, in 2019 the FATF mentioned its concerns regarding Brazil not being able to keep up with international standards to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. 

2. Regulators

When it comes to regulatory bodies in Brazil, there are 3 main regulatory bodies. These regulatory bodies are in charge of implementing and amending AML and KYC laws. The bodies are the Central Bank, CVM (Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission), and Financial Activities Control Council (COAF).

3. RagTech

Regulatory bodies and industry leaders are in favor of innovation in the compliance industry to streamline the process. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to improve the compliance process for both customers and businesses is in the works.

4. Data Protection

The Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD) was released in 2018. Brazil’s first data protection regulation is largely aligned with the EU’s GDPS (General Data Protection Act).

Identity Requirements and Systems

 Brazil has two different Identity systems.

  • Registro Geral (RG)
  • Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas (CPF)

The Registro Geral is the official national ID document and it contains a person’s official ID document, containing a person’s name, DOB, parent’s names, signature, thumbprint, and a unique number. Since 2017, the RG cards are machine-readable. 

The Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas (CPF) is a federal taxpayer number for Brazilian and other residents. The government has recently issued an e-CPF, a digital document that can be used as a publicly provided cryptographed signature key. 

Brazil had planned to launch a more sophisticated digital ID program in 2019. The National Identification Document (DNI) connects to a national database of biometric information collected from 100 million Brazilians. 

However, the plans for DNI were put on hold due to an internal dispute.