Thursday, September 23, 2021

What are Some Benefits of eKYC for Non-Financial Sectors?


eKYC (electronic Know-Your-Customer) is a concept that you've probably heard or read about. With the migration of a wide range of products and services to the internet, the necessity for digital customer onboarding has grown. 

The procedure entails a series of tests carried out in the early stages of the customer connection to ensure that s/he is who s/he claims to be, taking into consideration his/her identity documents and persona. A range of rules, such as anti-money laundering (AML), counter terrorism financing, electronic identification standards, and trust services (eIDAS), have had an impact on this process. eKYC solutions are seen as a response to traditional problems that come with customer onboarding.

All organisations and economic agents are going through a significant digitalisation process. Digital transformation has been one of the most significant shifts in organisations over the last decade, causing those who ignore it to miss out on possibilities or fail in their industries entirely.

Companies and organisations are battling to transform and digitise processes that previously seemed inefficient. However, specialised solutions have emerged to accomplish this work, transforming and optimising processes using cutting-edge technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. As the future grows evidently more tech-reliant, eKYC stands as a strong pillar for many security, regulatory and consumer-related aspects for various businesses.

eKYC for financial services is obvious in its benefits, as it is mainly driven by regulatory compliance while keeping up with the customer demand for self service channels. On the other hand, could non financial sectors, especially when not driven by regulatory compliance, reap some benefits from eKYC in favour of businesses and consumers?

Here are a few benefits that eKYC has to offer non-financial sectors:

1. Better Operational Measures for Government Agencies

Apart from financial institutions, government bodies and agencies can greatly benefit from the implementation of highly advanced security innovations, and eKYC matches the capabilities necessary for more effective processes.

In many parts of the world, government agencies rely on systems and digital platforms that are either outdated, inefficient or occasionally unreliable. Fortunately, the tide is turning and the digital era has transitioned to include the improvement of many of these government-related systems. However, security and authentication measures must still be kept as a top priority, since there are a lot of verification phases related to many services that fall under the government.

Whether it’s for documentation renewal and identification confirmation or paying of fines and registering new companies, eKYC can help iron-out authentication processes. In other words, eKYC technology adoption can help to enable uncompromised accuracy when it comes to customer identification and verification. This can be used to ensure safe and secure application processes under government agencies, or the facilitating of supervisory oversight from an internal operations perspective, as well as the improvement of control measures against criminal activities.


2. More Trustworthy Secondary Market Merchants

Secondary market merchants can benefit from the eKYC notion of stronger security measures and better authenticity brought on by advanced tech. Seeing that eKYC can protect the interests of various bodies through the validation of legal, regulatory and policy developments, the secondary market can begin to effectively identify reliable prospects and merchants from unreliable players in any given platform.

Safety is a big concern here as well. In fact, there is a current major focus on the regulation and safety aspects across many verticals, especially since digital inclusivity leads to a higher volume of users on countless platforms. This means that cybercrime, fraudulent activities within financial and non-financial context, as well as digital conflicts are all rapidly on the verge of breaking many areas of any given market. For instance, many media outlets within Malaysia alone had reported a rise in cybercrime activity since the MCO, totaling to a 441.7% increase.

In order to mend trust between businesses and customers, regulators and service providers are working together to implement practices and limitations to prevent crimes. eKYC is a crucial part of that strategy, in order to stop malicious behavior in its tracks through stronger authentication requirements.


3. Restore Visitor's Confidence in the Hospitality Industry

What's interesting about the technological preferences between the hospitality and financial industries is that they share many striking similarities, especially when it comes to the need for seamless verification and security. What's more, a post-COVID future relies heavily on the trust and comfort of customers as well as tighter control under regulatory and policy measures. As the hospitality industry opens up again, a new battle ensues to attract patrons to physical spaces when hesitancy is at an all-time high.

eKYC works to provide features that can help to restore the confidence of visitors, using components like facial recognition technology via face image retrieval or face comparison devices to help identify prospects or optical character recognition based on documentation or passport details.

This security is coupled with the potential for better contactless services through verification features that don’t require customers to touch devices or linger around registration areas too long. eKYC ultimately helps in the fight against COVID-19 by creating better environments with social distancing in mind and safer hospitality spaces in general.


4. Verified Gig Economy Service Providers

The Gig Economy can be described as the rising trend of work structures that comprise freelancers, outsource providers, remote workers and specialist teams that perform tasks for companies as third-party entities. As the unemployment trend continues to peak, a great number of employees are turning to the Gig Economy as a way to make ends meet. Many of them have built thriving businesses with an influx of clients attracted by competitive rates or other value propositions, and major job platforms are helping to connect both sides with each other.

Notable platforms like Fiverr are making waves for the Gig Economy’s success moving forward. However, verification and security are still prominent issues within this space. Service providers are responsible for the safety of clients and freelancers, managing disputes and fighting against scammers or other unruly activities. eKYC brings the added benefit of solid authentication to the table, through a myriad of features.

The Gig Economy's identity and security problems can be fixed with Digital ID reinforcement through seamless eKYC and onboarding processes. This can help reduce transaction risks, ensure accountability among users and control the digital platform's many vulnerabilities.


5. Easier Processes for Insurance Agencies

Insurance is yet another example of a sector that relies heavily on consistent verification processes, and it's a prime example of how eKYC can most certainly help to ease the burden of identification through better authentication measures. When customers sign up for a new insurance plan, or wish to modify their existing insurance policy options, agencies need to use their systems to verify or register new prospects into their database.

Security is at stake, efficiency is at stake and costs are at stake too. eKYC can reduce the costs of customer onboarding for many businesses, increase accessibility for customers and boost efficiency for service providers such as those in the insurance sector. 


6. eKYC Solution for the Real Estate Sector

The eKYC approach can be heavily implemented in the real estate industry as one of the many areas where money laundering is a problem. The debut of the new digital eKYC solution comes at a time when the real estate industry is under pressure from regulators to improve its anti-money laundering practices.

For first screening, possible eKYC-related offerings include elements like corporate and individual checks against sanction lists and adverse media stories, as well as biometrically-linked electronic identification verification for all involved individuals to establish their identity and that they are genuine people.

eKYC is Key to Survival

Many sources can be found that state the obvious: what happens when businesses fail to keep up with technology and fight the early adoption of crucial innovations? The solution is simple: they are abandoned. The fact is that technology is rapidly developing. And, as a result of such quick change, some people, particularly criminals, become more inventive. 

As COVID-19 continues to rage around the world, cybercrime and fraudulent financial activities are on the rise as criminals take advantage of people's worries. For example, following MCO, various Malaysian media sites have reported a 441.7% surge in cybercrime.

Such crimes wreak havoc on the market and cause firms and their customers to lose trust in each other. It motivates many businesses to collaborate with local governments to establish new policies and procedures aimed at preventing crime to ensure their own and the economy's existence. 

eKYC is a critical method for catching hackers in the act. Furthermore, eKYC features boost customer access to banking and other services by providing platforms that are compatible with a variety of devices. It may be possible to do away with the need for a physical presence to verify a customer's identity. During the current crisis, it serves as the ideal link between financial institutions and their customers.

eKYC Could Help Save Numerous Sectors

Beyond prominent financial aspects, non-financial sectors such as the hospitality sector are clearly seeing a multitude of advantages with the implementation of eKYC, especially amid the COVID-19 crisis. Some of the major ways eKYC is helping the situation includes contactless services (where contact is minimised between customers and service providers). 

At a time where the MCO has been lifted in some areas within Malaysia, and travel bubbles (as seen in Langkawi) are beginning to emerge, hoteliers have a heavy duty of ensuring all points of physical interaction are reinforced with better safety measures. This includes finding ways to manage the numerous touchpoints between staff and guests, while minimising the risk of long queues for check in and check out points. 

Families will come in large groups for holidays, and hoteliers can expect endless crowds, which means that there's an urgent need to speed up customer onboarding processes. eKYC has the potential of optimising on-ground processes to a point where contact is at a minimum, and efficiency is improved. Faster, contactless onboarding could be the difference between success and failure at this point in time, and eKYC might be the prevailing answer to many issues.

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