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Fraud General

5 Best Ways to Protect Businesses From Cyber Attacks

Businesses of all kinds have an obligation to try and protect their users. Protecting users from cyber attacks is a responsibility that every single business has to take on. Your existing and new customers need to know the best practices they can follow to stay protected. With bad actors becoming more and more creative, you need to be more vigilant and teach your customers to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. 

In this guide, we’ll outline the best 5 ways to protect users from cyber attacks. Let’s dive in.

Best Cyber Security Practices

Even the smallest of mistakes can cost you very dearly if you don’t pay attention online. There are some basic things organizations can do to protect their users and their data. If a hacker or bad actor can gain access to confidential information, it can cost your business millions of dollars. Here’s how to stay safe online:

1. Learn How to Detect Attacks

Cyber attacks can come in any shape and size. They can be in the form of phishing, ransomware, or pretexting. Out of all these attacks, social engineering attacks are the most dangerous and hardest to figure out. Organizations should have the ability to detect them as soon as possible. 

Every single member of your organization should learn how to detect social engineering attacks. Anyone who clicks on the wrong link or sends personal information to the wrong person, it’s an invitation to a data breach. 

Here are some of the most common methods used by bad actors during social engineering attacks:

  • Requests for the user or shared credentials
  • Request for financial or contractual information
  • Requests for user personal information
  • Unusual or suspicious links and files
  • Unusual or suspicious phone calls

2. Educate Users about Devices

To protect your users from cyber attacks, you need to educate them on some things. It helps in ensuring that every member of your organization is aware of the best practices to protect themselves. Businesses should also hold seminars after employee onboarding to prevent cyber attacks. 

Whenever your employees leave their desks, they should always lock their devices. Also, setting up personal passwords goes a long way in fraud prevention. You should educate users and refrain them from using third-party apps that aren’t trusted. 

3. Multi-Factor Authentication and Password Management

If you’re storing user data, and your users can log in to your website, then it’s essential to use multi-factor authentication methods. While a password helps in protecting you, MFA just adds another layer of security for the users and the businesses.

Make sure that all the employees and users change the default passwords as this is one of the biggest ways people get exploited. Also, never ever share passwords. MFA is a key to securing your devices and systems, as it forces the user to verify their identity. As the user has to provide a unique numerical code after entering the username-password, it prevents the risk of credential stealing.

4. Keep Up With Software and Hardware Practices

Software and hardware physical security practices can help ensure that you’re doing all that you can to keep your business secure. It can be anything, from using built-in defense functions or regularly updating software and hardware.

Choosing systems with built-in layers of defense boosts your organization’s cybersecurity the minute they’re running. There are endless solutions containing built-in security functions including data encryption and endpoint protection, these obstacles make it harder for bad actors to access your systems.

When it comes to software updates, most businesses and users ignore their importance. Prioritize updating the software and firmware on all the devices, as this allows them to function at an ideal level.

5. Choose the Ideal Technology

Finding a technology provider that offers all the solutions you need, all the while operating while being transparent isn’t easy. It may take some time to decide which vendor is the right fit for your business. 

Most vendors offer their customer hardening guides, these guides teach users how to keep their devices secure.

Choosing the ideal technology is crucial to a strong cybersecurity strategy. This also includes using the right technology for customer onboarding. DIRO online document verification technology can boost the onboarding process and eliminate the risk of fraud.

When you onboard the right type of users, you automatically reduce the risk of data breaches, account takeover fraud, and so much more.

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General

Verizon 2022 Annual Data breach Report

The 15 year old tradition is still standing strong with this week’s DBIR Annual Report. In the latest data breach report, Verizon highlighted their analysis of over 5,212 breaches and 23,896 security incidents to find the most common trends used by fraudsters. The 4 most commonly used methods include enterprise estates, credentials, phishing, and exploiting vulnerabilities.

In the report, it was stated that the hackers prefer to exploit the human element (errors, misuse, and social engineering). By combining these elements and the entry points above, hackers find access to organizations and begin stealing data. As a matter of fact, Verizon Data breach report states that 82% of all breaches this year were because of the human element. Human elements can be anything, including errors, misuse, and social engineering. 

Other factors were also included in the high number of data breaches, including:

  • 45% were related to credential resume
  • 25% of breaches were due to social engineering
  • 50% were related to remote access and web apps

Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Report – Takeaway

The core of this year’s data breach report was that the weakest link out of all are humans. The reason for that is simple, it’s because users continue to click on malicious links, and they continue to lose or hand out their credentials. Users all over the world are making the same kind of mistakes that hackers love to exploit. This is what provides hackers the back passage to sensitive systems of a business. While humans are making mistakes, it’s not a surprise as humans are bound to make mistakes. If these reports are scaring you, then worry not, it’s not all bad news, because you can always find ways around this problem.

While eliminating the human element from this equation sounds challenging for businesses, there are other options as well. Verizon recommends the usual approach can reduce usual approach to reduce some challenges, such as two-factor authentication and/or implementing password managers for users, all In an effort to avoid the impact credentials introduce. 

Using this approach, you can reduce the likelihood of attackers being able to exploit poor passwords to gain access to applications,  systems, and data. These capabilities have been available online for use, but the number of data breaches is increasing every single year. 

Let’s focus on credentials for a moment. Why? If you do a quick search for credentials in the report, it appears over 86 times. With that in mind, the report suggests, “unfortunately, if you can access the asset directly over the internet by just entering credentials, so can the criminals.” If we can improve on authenticating users without the use of usernames and passwords, then organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches. 

Another way to reduce the risk of data breaches is by onboarding customers smartly. With DIRO online document verification, businesses can streamline their KYC and KYB verification processes. 

With smarter customer onboarding practices, organizations can save time, money, and effort. DIRO offers a range of verification solutions that can be used for:

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General Verification

What is Signature Verification?

The widespread use of digital signatures has raised tons of questions. Most of these questions are related to user security. Numerous individuals and businesses see the benefit of transitioning from the traditional method of signing documents. The traditional method requires printing, scanning, hand-signing, and re-scanning of the documents and they are a huge security threat. Overall, they’re unsure how the digital signature verification process works.

The solution is to remove the mystery regarding the digital signature verification process.

How do Digital Signatures Work?

The terms digital signature and electronic signature are often used interchangeably, but they are very different from each other. The first point is understanding the difference between electronic and digital signatures. Digital signatures are a type of highly secure electronic signature, and they have a robust verification process. 

eSignature or Electronic signature on the other hand refers to any virtual mark (Like an image file) that is included in a document to signify approval. Digital signatures work by leveraging an encrypted system that is based on a standard technological framework called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Certified authorities provide individuals with a digital certificate, which is stored by them mostly on a USB stick. 

Whenever the individual wants to sign a new document, they’ll have to attach their digital signature to the document using special software. An encrypted “hash” that is specific to that document is then created. The individual that’s sending the document then has to match the digital hash with a public digital certificate, in turn verifying the signature. 

Most digital signature providers use a mathematical algorithm to generate digital signature keys. 

  • Public key
  • Private key

Whenever a signer digitally signs a document, a new cryptographic hash is created for the document. This is done to verify the authenticity and integrity of the document. The recipient of the digital document can decrypt the encrypted hash by using the sender’s public key certificate. Once that is done, a new cryptographic hash is created from the receiver’s end.

While verifying digital signatures, both the cryptographic hash are compared to check their authenticity. If the hashes match, the document is original and it hasn’t been tampered with.

The Role of Digital Signatures

Over time, digital signatures have become a norm for all businesses. In many regions, including parts of North America, the European Union, and APAC, digital signatures are considered legally binding and they hold the same value as traditional document signatures.

In addition to digital document signing, they’re also used for financial transactions, email service providers, and software distribution. Digital signatures are crucial in specific industries where authenticity and integrity of digital identity are important. 

Industry-standard technology known as public key infrastructure makes sure to authenticate a digital signature is valid.

Why Should You Use PKI or PGP with Digital Signatures?

Using digital signatures that are supported by PKI or PGP improves their strength and significantly reduces the possibility of security threats. You can reduce security issues that often come along with transmitting public keys, by simply verifying that the key belongs to the sender, and verifying the identity of the sender. Verifying the identity of the sender is crucial when you’re dealing with a digital signature.

The level of security of the digital signature is completely dependent on how secure the private key is. Without PGP or PKI, proving someone’s identity or revoking a compromised key is next to impossible. If the private key is not well protected, it could allow malicious actors to assume the identity of someone else and go through the process without proper verification. 

By relying on third-party verification services, businesses and individuals can verify digital signatures. This can ensure that the digital signatures are not being used by someone who doesn’t have the authority. 

As paperless, and online transactions are growing day by day, the use of digital signatures can help you protect and secure the integrity of your data. By understanding and using digital signatures, you can protect yourself, the information you share, confidential documents, and transactions. 

How are Electronic Signature Verified?

And how are electronic signatures verified? Numerous legislation like the ESIGN (The Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act), UETA (The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act), and eIDAS (Electronic Identification, Authentication and trust Services) offer the validity of electronic signatures. 

The process for verifying electronic signatures is a lot similar to traditional methods that are used to verify physical pen and ink signatures. Verification is essentially about proving an electronic signature was made by the intended signee by verifying the data, location, and time of the signature. This helps in ensuring that the document wasn’t tampered with. 

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General

Use of Biometrics for Improved Onboarding Experience

The pandemic has changed a lot of ways we do basic activities. The retail space, banking, education, hospitality, and several other industries took the brunt of the pandemic. Fortunately, the reliance on technology improved how we used to do basic activities. These technologies have specifically increased the efficiency of customer onboarding and employee onboarding. So, instead of using physical documents and in-person verification, digital onboarding methods are being used.

Many banks are now generating lower levels of revenue, with some banks reporting a decline as low as 70% from the year before the pandemic. Many banks had to lay off employees and permanently close some of their branches. Banks that have stayed open have adopted new technologies and shifted their day-to-day operations around the technologies available to them. Customer onboarding, ID verification, customer authentication, and other processes all became digital.

While the digital transformation was already underway in the banking sector, the pandemic pushed the transformation into overdrive. Evolving customer expectations, growing FinTechs, and changing regulations around technologies are also helping in speeding up the digital transformation process. By implementing digital ID and document verification solutions, banks can improve the onboarding experience while managing fraud.

Utilizing Biometrics Technologies in Banking

Every person in the world has a unique set of fingerprints and unique hand geometry. Biometric identity verification systems examine these and other biometrics identifiers to identify individuals. The utilization of these systems improves security, speeds up the verification process, and prevents cybercriminals.

In this socially-distanced economy that we’re currently living in, cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent and sophisticated. Fake identities and synthetic identities are on the rise which makes it harder for banks to detect fraud. Almost half of U.S consumers have experienced some kind of ID theft in the last two years, more than 37% of people have experienced application fraud, and almost 40% of consumers have experienced account takeover fraud.

But it’s not always easy to implement these new methods, and banks have to follow strict compliance standards they have to follow during customer onboarding, which can make it difficult to find a one-stop solution for all kinds of consumers. They need solutions that comply with digital privacy guidelines and updated financial regulations. They also have to make sure that the onboarding experience isn’t too difficult or time-consuming for consumers. Luckily, the consumer opinion regarding new technology is changing, which means the adoption of these technologies can be easy.

Use of Biometrics for Customer Onboarding

Biometrics is the most reliable way of authenticating identities and it’s a great method of preventing ID theft and spoofing. Banks know that the use of biometric verification can be helpful as they were the first industry to use them. Banks are now also relying on facial biometrics as multi-factor authentication. This is because facial recognition does not require customers to be physically present at the branch, because of fingerprint scanners, palm scanners, and iris scanners. 

Banks all over the world are using layers and layers of biometrics technologies in their daily operations. Banks are now discovering that they can use facial biometric verification since the beginning of customer relationships. This reduces complications for a customer, alleviating the pressure to remember a confusing PIN or token. Using biometrics across banking makes transactions more secure and overall increases security. Moreover, it boosts operational efficiency, all the while making the experience easier for the customers.

Use of Biometrics for Employee Onboarding

As more and more employees are working remotely because of the pandemic, that’s why securing the employee onboarding process is as important as customer onboarding. Employee security breaches are a big concern for all large organizations that deal in sensitive data of any kind. Having a biometric in the employee onboarding process is quite similar to customer onboarding.

Employee-owned smartphones are loaded with a mobile app that initiates their enrollment into your business. Or companies can build a custom employee onboarding program by combining online document verification services and biometric verification. 

Digital Transformation Across Industries

Before the Covid-19 pandemic changed the world, retail banks and credit unions completely relied on manual onboarding processes. This clumsy process was time-consuming, inefficient, and insecure. Collecting identity information can be laborious and waiting for the information to be verified can take even longer, thus making the process inefficient.

Online onboarding technologies verify customer identities by comparing customer photos and IDs. And verify online documents such as utility documents, bank statements, and other documents. This improves the user experience and reduces abandonment rates. Plus it can be done remotely, without customers needing to stand in big lines and it also reduces the document handling costs for banks and other businesses.

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General

What Risks Cryptocurrency Holds to Financial Institutions and the Regulatory Landscape?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that’s intended to be used in buying or selling goods and services. Cryptocurrency comes in multiple forms, and it can disrupt the financial institution. As the utilization of cryptocurrency increases, so do the risks to the financial industry. The risks may include fraud losses and regulatory compliance. Fortunately, the Anti-Money Laundering act of 2020 (AMLA 2020) requires the Bank Secrecy Act to be implemented throughout the crypto industry. As crypto exchanges are being used for the sale and purchase of goods and services, the crypto businesses are now considered Money Service Businesses (MSBs). As crypto exchanges are being considered as MSBs, it states that crypto exchanges have to follow:

  • The travel rule
  • All the BSA Regulations including CDD, SARs, CTRs

How regulators will implement these regulations will be the next step moving forward. Several methods can be applied to the financial services industry to make sure that compliance is followed as per the regulatory directions.

Crypto’s Risks to Financial Service Industry

There isn’t any way to bring change in the industry without a significant amount of risk. The reason behind the huge amount of risk in the crypto industry can be credited to the widespread adoption of poor AML, KYC, and other fraud prevention methods. The reasons for this are multiple:

  • Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) isn’t required on crypto exchanges or ATMs at this time. 
  • Regulators have to build new regulatory guidelines within the AMLA 2020 that requires crypto exchanges to operate as MSBs, although crypto exchanges don’t fit perfectly into the current framework. Additionally, crypto exchanges/ATMs being categorized as MSBs allow anonymous transactions of up to $1,000. Unless these customers exceed the $1,000 limit, then the only information required is limited to a phone number or email address. 
  • Crypto exchanges don’t fit into the definitions of MSB because they’re more like a financial institution in the way they operate.
  • Financial compliance professionals and crypto ATMs/exchanges have limited knowledge of each other. Crypto operators aren’t incentivized to monitor and report AML and fraud policies, that’s the primary reason why the need for compliance is weak in the industry. 
  • Lack of FinCEN enforcement of crypto exchanges.

It’s not only in the U.S, but illegal crypto exchanges are operational throughout the globe.

Risks to Crypto Consumers

Consumers face the most risk when it comes to the crypto industry. Crypto is a volatile industry and it exists in a non-regulated 24-hour financial market and is uninsured by any authority. Trending schemes and scams in the crypto industry are:

  • Money laundering through crypto exchanges
  • Romance scams 
  • Fake investment scams
  • Crypto for human trafficking, organ trafficking, and adult services
  • Crypto for art and antiquities money laundering 
  • Fake crypto exchanges
  • Crypto pump and dump
  • Blackmailing scams
  • Ransomware

What to Do to Eliminate Risks?

To prevent money laundering using crypto exchanges and ATMs, as well as to assist law enforcement, there are multiple detections and compliance strategies that can be used to reduce the risk from the crypto industry.

The first step to reducing risk from the crypto industry is to thoroughly screen your customers, and authenticate whether they are who they claim to be. Regulatory bodies have to pay extra attention to sanction lists, PEP lists, and high-risk countries. Complete due diligence should also be done on all clients that are onboarded to the institution. Complete due diligence also includes:

  1. Conduction through KYC/KYC checks
  2. Collecting beneficial ownership information for businesses (including parent and intermediary companies)
  3. Conducting risk analysis on politically exposed people
  4. Monitoring transactional activities
  5. Adverse media screening

All these tactics from onboarding to investigations can significantly improve the potential risk in your organization allowing you to improve compliance and reduce fraud losses. One of the major issues with the crypto industry is the lack of education in the regulatory industry. To reduce the risk of fraud, educating the crypto exchanges and businesses is essential in eliminating the risk of fraud. Investing in technologies like online document verification software and online KYC verification software is vital to reduce the risk of fraud and screen customers thoroughly.

As of right now, crypto regulations are not perfect, but changes in future regulations will help in the betterment of the industry. There are currently crypto compliance working groups that are being formed to fight fraud in the crypto industry.

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General

Electronic Signatures and Digital Signatures: All You Need to Know

Individuals and businesses use the terms electronic signature and digital signature interchangeably, and there are some key differences and specific reasons for why you may have to choose one over another. In this guide, we aim to clarify the difference between electronic and digital signatures. You’ll also learn which type of signature should determine the document signing workflow.

What Is an Electronic Signature?

According to the US Federal ESIGN Act, electronic signatures are:

“Electronic sound, symbol or process, attached to or logically associated with a contact or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

To put it in simple words, e-signatures are used to refer to any signature that is added electronically as opposed to a physical paper document. Electronic signatures are most commonly used to verify the content of a document, however not all electronic signatures offer assurance to law and order. If your business operates in an industry that’s highly regulated while dealing with personal or customer information, then using a more secure option is the key. 

What is a Digital Signature?

Digital signatures are a type of electronic signature and both of them are used to sign a document. There are some key factors that make both of them unique from each other. 

Paper-based documents and workflows are full of security concerns. The most common concerns customers and businesses face while dealing with paper-based documents are:

  • Is the person who provided the document real? How can businesses verify if the signature is valid and hasn’t been forged?
  • How can businesses safeguard that the content within the document hasn’t been tampered with?

Notaries came into existence to help businesses to support those concerns. Notaries of today play a vital role in ensuring that the parties of a transaction that the document is authentic and can be trusted. 

However, the same problem exists in electronic document workflows. Digital signatures were developed to help to solve this problem. They are essentially the digital equivalent of adding a notarized signature to your paperwork. In the case of digital signatures, a third party known as the Certificate Authority (CA) is responsible for verifying customer identity.

Certificate Authorities tie your identity to a PKI-Based digital certificate that allows the users to use their certificate to create digital signatures locally using a token or remote using any of the cloud-based signing platforms. 

When you add a digital signature to a document, cryptography ties your digital certificate with the data being signed into a unique digital fingerprint. This is what makes the digital signature secure and compliant, thus making it more secure and powerful for law enforcement agencies. To summarize, a carefully thought-out and secure cryptographic operation allows digital signatures to assure:

  • The document is authentic and comes from a verified source
  • Identities have been verified by a certified authority
  • The document is authentic and hasn’t been tampered with

What Types of Signatures are Legally Binding?

The majority of the regulatory bodies now demand digital signatures over electronic signatures because digital signature provides authenticity and integrity. Deciding what type of signature you want to implement should be dictated by the type of documents you need to sign. These are the type of digital signatures that are binding:

  • US ESIGN
  • FDA CFR 21 Part 11
  • US UETA
  • US State Professional Engineering Seals
  • UN Model Electronic Signature Law
  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
  • eIDAS 
  • CNCA

Which Document Signing Platforms Support Digital Signatures?

Fortunately, most of the document signing and workflow platforms enable users to apply secure digital signatures. Here is a list of platforms that support digital signatures:

  • DocuSign: Supports digital signatures and electronic seals by integration with GlobalSign
  • Adobe Sign: Two types of digital signatures, certified and approved.
  • Microsoft Word: Microsoft also supports two types of digital signatures using a token certificate visible and non-visible. 
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General

Embedded Finance is Changing Banking for Firms and Customers

Embedded finance is streamlining banking and digital payments for consumers who need secure digital banking services. At the same time, it is facilitating growth and innovation for new brands and launching new products and services with ease. Almost a decade ago, challenger banks and neobanks gave birth to the FinTech revolution. As technology evolved, the role of FinTechs became more prominent in the industry.

Traditional banks took notice of the potential of FinTechs and how they can help in providing a seamless customer experience during onboarding, digital banking services, and payments. After the Covid-19 Pandemic, the digital banking revolution was pushed forward. Today, there are apps for almost every financial service customers can think of including insurance, investments, mortgages, pensions, and digital assets. The next step in building seamless digital banking services is Embedded finance.

So how embedded finance can help non-finance brands to offer financial services to customers and how it can help in making banking services seamless for consumers.

What Is Embedded Finance?

The simplest way to explain embedded finance is in-app payments whether a customer is using a taxi app “Lyft” or buying takeaway through a food application. Embedded finance involves integrating a financial service into a non-financial application. For users, it provides quick and seamless payments and an incredible customer experience. 

There’s no limit to the use cases of embedded finance and the primary function of embedded finance is providing seamless customer payments. But the use case of embedded finance is starting to go beyond just payments and more and more non-financial industries are entering the financial ecosystem to provide better digital banking services to the customers. By properly implementing embedded finance, all banking tasks can be achieved virtually, such as investments, borrowing and lending, insurance, credit card applications and so much more. 

Embedded Finance, FinTechs, and Non-Finance Companies

With the constant developments in the banking sector, it is possible that the current landscape of the financial industry will be completely different in the next 10 years. Unlike the digital transformation of the banking industry, embedded finance has had a slow start/ Over the last couple of years, the use of open banking APIs for customer onboarding, KYC verification, payments, and fraud prevention has become standard.

Open Banking APIs are essential for embedded finance to survive and grow as open banking APIs allow software systems of different companies to seamlessly communicate with one another. Open banking has also gained momentum all over the world as it opens the door to open finance. 

As embedded finance services rely on APIs and BaaS (Banking-as-a-Service) to integrate financial services into non-financial services, any brand or company or FinTech can now offer a plethora of financial services without actually having to convert into a bank. All this transformation in the industry offers customers more choices and a seamless digital baking experience. 

Businesses operating outside of the financial industry can use open banking APIs and embedded finance to deliver financial services and reach out to the unbanked and underbanked population. Tesla’s Insurance package is the prime example of non-finance businesses venturing into the financial industry. Embedded finance is a great opportunity for brands as they can build new products and services and reach out to a whole new segment of customers to increase their profits.

Benefits of Embedded Finance: Customers and Businesses

The benefits of embedded finance go beyond just opening up new revenue streams for businesses. Even a few years ago, the development and launch of a new financial product required significant investment in terms of both money and manpower. Businesses had to overcome several challenges just to put out a new service in the market. That has changed because of embedded finance, as FinTechs now handle the development, integration, and compliance factors, and brands can rent or buy the financial product and provide their customers with a new segment of financial services.

As for the customers, the benefit is in terms of convenience, security, and seamless payments from anywhere, anytime just by using smartphone apps. The reason why customers across the globe have come to love embedded finance is that they can conduct every activity with a familiar UI. This leads to elevated levels of positive customer experience, as customers don’t have to be redirected to some complex and difficult-to-use webpage to make payments. 

This doesn’t mean that traditional banks will cease to exist altogether, while open banking APIs and embedded finance are being utilized on a global scale, millions of customers still only trust banks to handle their money.

How Embedded Finance and FinTechs Enhance Banking Industry?

1. FinTech is a Growing Ecosystem

There are tons of technological ecosystems that are turning heads, such as InsureTech, PropertyTech, InvestTech, but FinTech is a culmination of all these ecosystems. Whatever the new technology, embedded finance will still provide the foundation for a new ecosystem. Account aggregation and online customer/ID verification can’t be possible without FinTech as a foundation.

2. Embedded Finance Eliminates Complexity

All the embedded financial products are ultimately all about removing complexity from financial activities. Companies use embedded financial components to remove complexity from the process and increase user experience. 

Instead of visiting another webpage, a consumer gets access to payments in the current ecosystem. This increases customer experience, strengthens security, and reduces the complexity of the process.

3. Embedded Finance Will Offer Better Financial Control

In this newly growing financial landscape, customers need better control over their finances. With customers becoming more comfortable with technology, their outlook on their personal finances is also changing. It’s critical that embedded finance applications leverage as much customer data as possible. This provides customers with more control over their financial data.

4. Use Existing Resources

Most businesses shy away from embedded finance because of the expenses. But, the truth is that organizations don’t need to worry about the expenses and resources needed to acquire new customers and build high-end infrastructure. By including a financial angle to create new financially embedded products, you can easily modify the current system.

5. Improved Customer Experience

Embedded finance helps companies create a seamless journey for their customers. offering more services to the customers will eliminate their need to deal with third-party vendors for completing their transactions. This leads to higher profits, and the direct connection between customers and the company will improve the customer experience.

Future of the Banking Industry

Without a doubt, the constant technological development in the financial industry may act as a threat to traditional banks as tech-savvy customers will choose digital services over physical ones. The truth is that neither banks nor FinTechs can survive without the other one. FinTechs don’t have the expertise or resources like bank account verification software or online KYC verification software to keep up with KYC and AML compliance changes and handle millions of customers. Traditional banks on the other hand don’t have the expertise in developing strong and robust digital platforms for their customers.

In this situation, the ideal step to enhance the financial industry for both businesses and customers is to build strong Bank-FinTech partnerships that can take advantage of the best features. 

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General

Information about New Indian Digital Currency

If you don’t know already, the Digital Rupee is India’s own regulated cryptocurrency that will be soon launched by the RBI. On February 1, while announcing the annual budget for 2022-23, Union Finance Minister “Nirmala Sitharaman” announced to the whole country that RBI will be launching an Indian digital currency in the financial year 2022-23. The currency will be called “Digital Rupee” and will be based on blockchain technology. Digital Rupee will be the rival for other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more. There’s a lot of speculation about the Indian Digital Rupee. 

During the budget announcement, the finance minister said that India’s digital currency will be launched by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). She also stated that the Indian rupee digital currency will be a cheaper and more efficient method of sending and receiving money throughout the country. The launch of the new Indian digital currency is already under work with RBI making sure every step is followed through carefully. The RBI is working on an implementation strategy that makes sure that every part of the general populace has access to the currency while ensuring the safety of the users. As of now, there’s no set/fixed Indian digital currency launch date.  

The Digital Rupee can help the country lessen the usage of the older cash system.

Indian Digital Rupee: Coming This Year?

New Indian digital currency will operate on the well-known blockchain technology, which is the basis for all the other cryptocurrencies globally. There’s no news on whether or not users will be able to mine the currency, if yes, will it be considered legal?

India isn’t the first country to launch its own cryptocurrency. Before the Indian rupee digital currency, China already started and tested its cryptocurrency in several cities. The US and UK governments have also been considering starting their own cryptocurrency. 

While the government hasn’t proposed any bills on crypto, the two primary regulatory clarifications from the finance minister have made it clear that digital currency is a growing industry. As RBI will be launching the cryptocurrency, there will be some heavy regulations surrounding the currency, ensuring safety, efficiency, and fair transactions. Plus, as RBI will be entering the blockchain scene, it suggests that governments are seeing the benefits of blockchain technology and how it can help the consumers. 

Although, the hefty 30% tax on crypto transfer gains is sure to halt the new users entering the space. From here on, we can only wait and see where this Digital Rupee idea proposed by the Indian Government will head to.

What is CBDC in India?

Central Bank Digital Currency is what CBDC stands for. CBDC is the legal tender issued by a central bank in digital form, it’s the same as a fiat currency and is exchangeable one-to-one with fiat currency. The only difference between the two is their form.

What’s the Difference Between CBD & Cryptocurrency?

CBDC is a digital or virtual currency, but it’s not similar to other private currencies that have gained popularity over the last decade. As per the RBI, virtual currencies aren’t as useful as traditional money as they aren’t commodities and they have no intrinsic value. Whereas a CBDC is centralized, cryptocurrencies are decentralized and don’t represent the finances of a particular person or entity. 

The CBDC can also reduce transaction demand for bank deposits, but they reduce settlement risks, being-risk free, CBDC can lead to a shift from traditional banking services. If banks lose deposits, their ability to create credit will be limited and central banks can’t provide credit to the private sector. 

What’s the Need for CBDC in India?

There’s been a slow yet accelerating shift of digital payments combined with an all-time low interest in cash usage, especially for small value transactions. While CBDC is highly unlikely to replace the use of cash, the currency to GDP ratio, if switched to CBDC, would cut the cost of printing, transporting, storing, and distribution of physical currency.

Future Plans by RBI

The RBI has been figuring out the use cases and building an implementation strategy for introducing the CBDC with almost zero disruption to the cash-only economy. According to the Central Bank, several crucial elements need to be designed and tested before the digital rupee in the form of CBDC can be introduced. The RBI is working out implementation models and strategies, and use cases of the digital currency.

When’s the Expected Launch of Digital Rupee?

Even if the RBI is ready to launch the Digital Rupee for everyone, it’s impossible before the crypto law is passed and approved in Parliament. Some changes will be required in the RBI Act as well before the digital rupee is launched in India. Some of the most crucial changes in the RBI Act are:

  • Coinage Act
  • FEMA
  • Information Technology Act

Without the crypto bill, and small changes in the RBI Act, there’s no way that the Indian digital rupee is launched in the country. 

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General

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. 

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Secure Online Payment Processing Practices: Protecting Customers and Businesses from Risk

Fraudsters are always looking to exploit the weak points in a system, be it ordinary banking activities or online payment. Shoppers can’t just stop making online payments due to the fear of being exposed. Customers deserve a smooth, friction-free, and secure payment experience and it’s the responsibility of a business to make that environment.

To protect customers and the business from fraudsters, merchants need to understand the best parameters and best secure online payment processing practices. By employing the best practices for secure online payment processing, businesses can ensure that every payment goes through seamlessly, be it credit cards, debit cards, or digital wallets.

Three Factors for a Secure Online Payment Processing

There are several factors that payment merchants should keep in mind while trying to build a secure online payment environment. The payment method should provide a smooth and simple experience for all types of payment methods, including credit and debit cards and digital wallets. Here are the three factors to consider to reduce payment risk:

  • Fraud
  • Security
  • Compliance

1. Fraud

How well a business manages fraud will determine its success. Fraud management is the key to businesses and may require changes to the payment methods and additional buyer identification verification. A high level of fraud can result in credit card companies stopping a merchant’s right to process payments, and it can lead to reputation loss for a business.

2. Security

As fraudsters try to find and exploit the weaknesses of a payment processor, it is up to the merchants to find all possible vulnerabilities and fix them. This will help in building a secure online payment processing environment. 

3. Compliance

Merchants need to follow the regulatory rules and regulations dictated by regulatory entities, as per their geographical location. These rules and regulations are built to protect customers and businesses from all fraudulent activities. Payment merchants need to have a clear understanding of the regulations that they’re obligated to follow to ensure secure payment processing for customers and businesses.

Best Practices for Secure Online Payment Processing

1. Matching IP Address and Billing Address

Checking the details available during a transaction can help in uncovering fraud in real-time. This can help businesses save huge sums in terms of both money and resources. Payment merchants can use the latest technologies that help in verifying the IP address of the buyer with the billing address mentioned on the credit card to verify if the credit card holder is a genuine buyer. 

2. Encrypt Information

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are standard practices that can be used to encrypt data when browsing the internet. Securing transactions with SSL protocols ensure that sensitive information is encrypted and can be accessed by the authorized recipient. 

3. Use Payment Tokenization

To build a secure online payment processing environment, merchants can use credit card tokenization. Credit card tokenization can de-identify sensitive information by converting it to a series of randomly generated numbers known as “tokens”. As a token, information can be sent and received through the internet and payment networks without sharing information that can lead to a customer being exposed.

4. Make Strong Passwords Mandatory

Fraudsters gain access to millions of accounts annually just by guessing commonly used passwords, such as names, birth dates, and common words. Merchants and eCommerce businesses can protect customers by requiring them to use stronger passwords. In case a customer forgets their complicated and secure password, they can reset it by using the “forget password” option. 

5. Leverage 3D Secure

One of the easiest ways fraudsters gain access to a consumer’s accounts is by guessing the passwords. 3D secure is a method of customer authentication designed to prevent unauthorized use of credit cards and protect eCommerce merchants from losing money in a fraudulent transaction. 

Payment merchants, credit card networks, and financial services institutions share necessary information among themselves to authenticate transactions. All merchants are required to comply with the latest regulations by the EU for better online customer verification and 3D security is one of the best ways to achieve this. 

6. Request CVV

The CVV (Card Verification Value) should be made mandatory across all payment networks. This CVV should be asked before every transaction for authenticating the user of the card, this can prevent “card-not-present fraud and fraudulent transactions over the phone.” Even if your credit card numbers have been exposed, asking for CVV information can help in the prevention of fraudulent transactions. 

7. Use Strong Customer Authentication

SCA can be leveraged by payment merchants and credit card companies to reduce fraudulent transactions significantly. SCA contains two or more elements to authenticate a customer. It requires something you know (a password or PIN) and something you have (a badge or smartphone), or something you are (fingerprints or voice recognition).

8. Continuous Monitoring

One of the best practices for secure online payment processing is continuous monitoring. Merchants need to use a payment gateway that automatically detects and manages fraudulent activity. With built-in fraud management, businesses can set rules, based on their situation and tolerance for risk, that limit or reject transactions that seem suspicious. 

9. Manage PCI Compliance

Merchants that process, store or share credit card data are required to be PCI compliant as per government rules. If a non-PCI compliant business suffers a data breach, they can end up paying hefty fines and penalties, plus they’ll have to deal with reputation damage.

Payment processors play a huge role in helping out merchants and maintaining compliance, but businesses should take a proactive role in understanding compliance requirements.

10. Train Employees to Detect Fraud

A business is as good as its employees. It should be the responsibility of a business to provide its employees with enough knowledge and skills to recognize suspicious activities and how to deal with them. When the team understands the secure payment process, they’re better prepared to identify fraudulent activities while they’re underway.

By using these practices for secure online payment processing, businesses can reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions while improving brand reputation and customer experience.