Technology is the future of FICA and digitised customer onboarding

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Digitisation is transforming business and impacting consumers through every stage of their daily lives. While rapidly becoming a way of life, onboarding consumers digitally is still in its infancy, but is becoming a major focus for every financial institution across the country. According to Simon Slater, chief operating officer at e4, a digital solutions company, the amendment of FICA, which now incorporates a risk-based approach to customer due-diligence, enables Accountable Institutions (AIs) to adopt their own, more flexible approach.  He says this move will quickly solve onboarding challenges as AIs, such as the banks, embrace the vital role technology can play in the process.

Slater says that technology’s role in addressing FICA requirements is rapidly growing because AIs now have more flexibility to manage compliance and risk independently. The FICA amendment, he says, has seen a swift uptake in the use of technology solutions: “In part prompted by the rise of the fintech companies and the potential challenges posed by several new digital challenger banks, the major incumbent banks have all risen to the challenge of addressing both onboarding and compliance utilising technology solutions.”

The strength of these technology solutions, according to Slater, often lies in the use of data sources combined with intelligent rules engines, to verify customer information behind a great front-end channel. It is here that artificial intelligence will also start to feature more in onboarding solutions.

There are several components to the ultimate onboarding technology solution according to Slater. Centred on the customer, the solution requires a simple web front-end or mobile app, that is easy to use and intuitive. Proof of identity is next, and the solution will need a direct link to Home Affairs to verify a person’s identity. Depending on the channel, this can include the use of fingerprint biometrics, which provides a very strong real-time check, coupled with or alternatively using up to three-way facial matching of a customer’s image (enabling a ‘virtual’ face-to-face process). A virtual video link can also be offered, coupled with liveness detection to cater for all risk levels of customer verification. Finally, technology can now also solve the challenges around income, affordability and employment verification.

To solve proof of residence, Slater says these types of technology solutions are reinventing the process digitally at new levels: “We have managed to create a marketplace for address providers to compete on a price and quality basis, to enable AIs to verify digital evidence for proof of residence, against multiple sources of addresses. This is the level of onboarding that suddenly becomes possible in a digital environment.”

Real-time approval via instant processing of new customer applications is the ultimate goal of digitised onboarding. Slater says that from a FICA perspective, the next goal is to assist AIs to address the ongoing verification of existing customers. Often referred to as Know Your Customer (KYC), the technology solutions developed to onboard new customers can also be utilised to refresh a customer’s data based on their risk profile.  This is the road ahead.”

Slater is very upbeat about the future of new technology within AIs.  Sustainable solutions to help solve the ability of AIs to onboard a customer and meet their FICA requirements are finally available.

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