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. 


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, 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.


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:

  • FDA CFR 21 Part 11
  • 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. 

AML Technologies: Helping Businesses Stay Compliant

For most people, money laundering is a crime that just happens in movies, TV shows as it doesn’t have anything to do with them. Unfortunately, money laundering is a huge problem for businesses all over the globe. Other types of financial fraud are also common for businesses, especially financial services and FinTechs that allow users to exchange funds. With the use of proper AML technologies, organizations can stop the flow of money laundering. 

These businesses and institutions can be used to finance criminal empires and support terrorist funding without being aware. This opens the business to legal actions and huge fines by a regulatory body for not complying properly with AML regulations. Banks, financial institutions, credit unions, and others must stay compliant with AML technologies, by utilizing the latest technologies and by training employees.

Below we have listed some of the best and modern sophisticated technologies to keep an eye out for as AML continues to evolve.

Sophisticated AML Technologies for Developing Effective AML Compliance Programs

Developing effective AML compliance programs isn’t a choice for businesses, financial institutions are legally obligated to comply with AML regulation. Financial institutions of all kinds must utilize new AML technologies as it is one of the best ways to stay compliant. 

AML regulations state that banks collect customer information and monitor all suspicious transactions and activities. Suspicious activities of all kinds must be reported to financial regulatory authorities like FATF. Here’s our pick for technologies that help financial institutions comply with existing AML regulations.

1. Automated AML Screening Solutions

Financial institutions and other money-related businesses have millions of clients. Monitoring every single of these customers is almost impossible without using automated AML screening solutions. 

AML technologies automatically check the clients of a business against national and international checklists. These lists can be made up of global and regional lists, watchlists, PEP lists, and other lists. With automated screening, businesses will be able to identify high-risk individuals and complete a fair and complete risk assessment. These actions fall under the term “RPA (Robotic Process Automation)”, which means the technology uses AI to screen and monitor accounts for potential money laundering. 

The best AML screening solutions use AI-powered automated AML screening to assess all the risks and perform monitoring.

2. Transaction Monitoring Tools

Suspicious activities according to the government can be a single transaction or a pattern of unusual high-risk transactions. For example, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) states that any transaction in the US for more than $10,000 should be reported. 

However, financial criminals are also aware of these regulations so they use several transactions of less than $10,000 to stay out of suspicion. To detect all suspicious financial transactions, a business should look for complex patterns. 

Monitoring every single transaction is without a doubt one of the best ways to stay compliant with AML regulations, but using automated software will make this a much easier task. Tools such as DIRO online bank account verification can help in reducing financial fraud by verifying if the person using the account is legit or not.

3. AI-Based Solutions

Artificial Intelligence has already infiltrated almost every part of our lives. It can instantaneously analyze a huge amount of data and use specifically designed algorithms and detect anomalies that humans can’t.

AI can have countless implementations in a spectrum of industries, ranging from cybersecurity to fraud prevention to data management. Artificial intelligence is not exactly a tool, if used properly it has characteristics of an AML screening and transaction monitoring solution. 

4. Machine Learning Solutions

Machine learning is a small part of AI and it is a type of software program that utilizes data and algorithms to recognize patterns in transactions that can be deemed suspicious. Over time, the machine learning program detects changes in customer behavior, which makes it easy to identify suspicious activities.

These machine learning solutions are built to analyze data and anticipate the behavior of a customer. If a client’s transaction habits suddenly change, then these solutions will notify the businesses of any suspicious transactions. Thus sudden changes in a customer’s financial habits may include unusually large deposits and withdrawals, change in frequency of transactions, and so on. 

Need for Effective AML Technologies

Non-compliance with the AML regulation can cause you to pay huge fines imposed by regulatory bodies. The total amount as fines imposed in 2020 surpassed 14 billion dollars, with Goldman Sachs and Westpac the largest organizations being fined. Non-compliance won’t just lead to fines, it can also make it harder to detect and prevent criminals from entering the financial institution’s internal systems. 

Each country has its own regulatory body and law enforcement specialists whose only aim is to protect the financial system. In the U.S FinCEN is the regulatory body that watches over all the financial institutions and ensures that the regulations are being followed. 

With the rapid increase of money laundering and digital transformation in the banking industry, complying with AML regulation has become even more important for regulators and businesses. While businesses are legally obligated to comply, doing so will help in preventing money laundering.

General KYC/KYB

Know Your Customer Compliance: How Much Does It Cost To Verify Customers?

Trust goes both ways, both the customers and businesses need to trust each other for maintaining a healthy relationship. Even in the digital age, earning trust is crucial. If a brand can offer trust in all its services, customers will stay loyal to the product and services. With the heaps of data breaches and financial fraud, firms have to make their customers believe that they are capable of protecting their information and transaction history.

To maintain a brand reputation, firms have to make sure that fraudsters don’t gain access to the internal systems and harm customer data. As most businesses are moving towards an online environment, the process of verifying customers is changing. 

Financial services are regulated by domestic and international bodies that provide a set of rules around Know-Your-Customer (KYC) regulations. Following up with the KYC compliance is important for reducing fraud, preventing money laundering and other financial frauds. 

Maintaining Balance Between Time & Cost 

The need for complying with KYC requirements has complicated the account opening process. A survey conducted in 2017 stated that the customer onboarding process increased 22% in 2016. The time taken is expected to increase by 18% in 2017. To put a number on that, banks took an average of 24 days to complete the customer onboarding process. Banks and financial firms need to improve their customer onboarding process using online verification methods.

Why Developing a 360-Degree Customer Profile is Crucial?

Building a complete 360-degree customer profile can’t happen if businesses rely on only a single source. A lot of information has to be acquired from a series of sources. Traditional systems can’t handle the data sources, and developing a complex set of integrations is costly and time-consuming. Having a proper customer profile helps banks and financial institutions to assess the risk level. With market dynamics changing constantly, there aren’t just enough tools to build the profiles. Building a comprehensive customer profile relies on three factors. 

  • Access to data from multiple sources
  • Collecting and managing customer data in one place
  • Assessing the information and converting it into actionable insight.

How Much Does KYC Know Your Customer Cost?

According to a report, financial institutions end up spending more than $500 million annually for KYC compliance. If we talk about JPMorgan, in 2013 they added 5,000 employees to their compliance team and spent $1 billion on controls. These trends show that the costs revolving around KYC compliance are growing.

KYC compliance processes have internal and external costs. Internal costs directly affect the verification process. The internal costs of KYC compliance include systems, licensing fees to operate checks, and staff/offices. External costs for KYC compliance include regulatory guidelines that require new training for all staff. 

Depending on the business’s scale, firms can have hundreds to thousands of compliance staff for customer verification and monitoring transactions. 

Steps Included in Know Your Customer Verification

KYC procedures are usually defined by banks and they involve necessary actions to ensure their customers are real, assess and monitor the risks. Strong KYC procedures help in preventing and identifying money laundering, terrorism funding, and other illegal schemes. 

KYC verification includes ID card verification, biometrics verification, and document verification (bank statements, utility bills, and more). Banks have to comply with KYC regulations and anti-money laundering regulations to detect and eliminate fraud. To comply with KYC regulations is a responsibility banks have to follow through. Non-compliance with KYC and AML regulations can lead to heavy fines imposed by regulatory bodies. 

From 2008-2018, a total of USD 26 billion in fines have been levied for non-compliance with AML, KYC.

Know Your Customer KYC and Customer Due Diligence Methods

The KYC policy is crucial for banks and financial institutions used for the customer identification process. The regulation is born out of 2001 Title III of the Patriot Act, which aimed to provide tools for reducing terrorist activities.

To comply with the domestic and international regulations against money laundering and terrorist funding. The implementation of strict Know Your Customer procedures have to be implemented. Banks build their KYC policies incorporating four main elements including:

  • Customer policy
  • Customer identification procedures (data collection, identification, verification, politically exposed person/sanction lists).
  • Risk assessment and management (due diligence, part of the KYC process)
  • Continuous monitoring and record-keeping

The process includes verifying customer identity using documents, including government-issued documents. 

Keeping information Up-to-date

To be able to verify customers, the data has to be up-to-date. A customer of a bank from 2018 may now be part of some sketchy activities and continuous monitoring helps the bank achieve that. According to surveys, 58% of all businesses rely on outdated data for verifying customer identities. 46% of businesses reference data that is not accurate and comes from different inconsistent sources.

Costs are Going Up For KYC Verification

Until there’s a standardized process available worldwide, the costs incurred by businesses for KYC verification will keep on growing. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost of Know Your Customer verification for some companies grew at a rate of 170%.

Bank General Onboarding

Customer Onboarding: Providing Seamless KYC and User Experiences

As a business, you’ve built your marketing campaigns and you have interested buyers ready but your customer onboarding process isn’t up to the mark and it’s hard for your business to acquire new customers. The customer onboarding process needs to be efficient and seamless. Whatever the reason, you won’t be able to grow your business without having a proper customer onboarding process.

According to reports, before the Covid-19 pandemic customer account opening process was the make or breakpoint in the relationship for a customer with a brand. That situation is even worse when firms were forced to shift to online methods.

The online sign-up process may seem simple at first, but the choices that a business makes regarding the customer onboarding process make the shape of the process. Finding and implementing ideal technological solutions are often the difference between success and failure. 

Providing a seamless onboarding process to the customer increases confidence and trust while building a great brand reputation. 

Customer Onboarding and KYC

For various organizations, performing Know Your Customer is a vital step in customer onboarding. While KYC isn’t a legal requirement for every business, it still helps in preventing fraud and verifying customer identities. A business should be aware of whom they are doing business with and what kind of risk they pose to the business. 

Sadly, if not carefully considered and optimized, KYC can lead to an onboarding experience that’s slow and tedious. An imperfect process often results in an increased customer drop-off rate. 73% of all customers have stated that the increase in intolerant poor experiences will force them to switch to another business with a better onboarding process. 

So what can an organization do that balances the need for security and speed while onboarding customers. The first thing to do is to use a risk-based approach, different customers have different needs. So being able to handle new clients the same way isn’t ideal. Understanding the different risk levels customers pose and adapting the onboarding requirements to fit specific scenarios offer better results. 

Document verification technologies can be used to verify customers. Verifying ID documents offers a certain level of secure ID verification for businesses.

You need to consider which technologies make sense when onboarding customers in specific situations. Having various options to verify customers and optimizing the workflows to meet the needs of the customers is the best way to enhance the customer onboarding process. Using deep data analysis, ID verification technologies, online document verification tools, and manual verification intelligence can lead to maximum conversion rates and enhanced ROI. 

Improving Customer Experience during Onboarding

Even the smallest of steps count while eliminating friction from the customer onboarding experience. Some common measures to improve the customer onboarding experience include:

1. Minimizing Data Collection

Most customers aren’t too comfortable with sharing their personal information with businesses. Banks, financial institutions, and other businesses need to carefully consider which information they need from the customers. The more information you ask from the customers, the fewer chances are a customer to stick around. Businesses also have to consider the complex set of data privacy laws, the more data they collect, the more risk they face of going through a data breach. Also, managing huge amounts of data isn’t cheap. 

Ask for the really necessary information. Firms can survive without asking for non-essential data from onboarding customers. 

2. Reducing Onboarding Time

 According to a survey, banks in the USA take up to 2 weeks to successfully onboard a new customer. To reduce the onboarding time and eliminate friction from the process, go through the onboarding process. Ask various members of your team to go through the process to figure out the major problem points. For most banks and financial institutions, this step can reduce the drop-off rate incredibly.

3. Measuring Benchmarks

It’s just not enough to go through the onboarding process once and forget about it. As a business, you should track the performance of the onboarding process. Measuring the success and failure points of your customer onboarding process can help your business get better success. Keep an eye out for metrics such as form abandonment and conversion rates. 

You should also monitor the backend process to reduce false positives and the rate of fraud. Analyze how effective your customer verification process is.

4. Optimizing Experience for Different Markets

Businesses need to understand the market in which they operate. Having an insight into the target market can help in optimizing a customer onboarding process based on customer behavior and industry trends. Different audiences have unique expectations from an onboarding process. Even something as small as asking for additional information can lead to instant customer drop-off. 

5. Providing a Safe and Secure Process

More than 70% of all customers consider security as the most crucial part of any account opening process. With the growing rate of fraud across industries, customers are wary of opening new accounts online. To ensure a customer has the best onboarding experience, brands have to establish a certain degree of trust in the process. 

Organizations need to offer the right trust signals and should have robust technologies set in place to detect and prevent suspicious activities early on. 

How does DIRO Assist in Customer Onboarding Experience Enhancement?

Manually onboarding customers is time-consuming, ineffective, and incredibly tough because of the pandemic. Businesses need to go digital and provide a smooth, frictionless onboarding experience to customers. 

With the integration of technologies in manual workflow, organizations can streamline and strengthen the overall process. DIRO’s online document verification software provides instantaneous document verification. With DIRO online document verification tool, businesses can verify customers from all over the world as it verifies 7000+ document types.

DIRO cross-verifies document data from the original web source, thus eliminating the use of fake and forged documents by 100%. It also provides 100% proof of authentication backed up by verifiable credentials. By using DIRO online document verification software, firms can add an element of security and speed to their customer onboarding process.