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Optimizing and securing the digital banking customer experience

The following is a guest post by Patrick Kelly, Americas Head of Sales, Shufti Pro. 

Digital transformation has been a boon to the banking industry.

Adopting advanced technologies enabling secure online sales and payments resulted in higher profits from businesses (U.S. e-commerce sales grew 7.2% in this year’s second quarter).

Unfortunately, the increased online transactions also make online banking a more attractive target for criminal activity, such as theft and money laundering.

Although customers demand a seamless online banking experience, more online transactions make banks more vulnerable to risk. Banks must therefore find a way to optimize the digital customer experience while simultaneously ramping up security.

Regulation vs. efficiencies

To comply, banks and financial firms must maintain best business practices while complying with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws and regulations. In addition, global businesses must abide by data-protection laws to safeguard their customers’ personal information. Thus, banks are challenged to create efficient and cost-effective customer onboarding and retention processes while complying with numerous regulations.

One of the most critical tasks is procuring an accurate identity verification (IDV) process to prevent fraud. Consumers place a high value on the speed of the onboarding process, meaning banks must strive for both ‘fast and accurate’ onboarding. Long waits for verifications and confirmations, or worse – being shuffled off to a call center – can be a deal-breaker, resulting in potential customers abandoning the onboarding process altogether. The success of the initial customer experience depends upon the efficiency of a firm’s onboarding process. Banking managers should ask: Is our onboarding process easy to understand? Can new customers effortlessly pass the verification stage? And how long does it take on average? If presented with a speedy and hassle-free sign-up, customers are much less likely to switch to competitors.? 

Anti-Money Laundering concept. AML. US Dollars hanging on ropes

Onboarding with AI

Many of today’s banks face multiple onboarding challenges, including significant failure rates due to slow and outdated legacy systems.

To help overcome the burdensome task of manual ID verification, forward-thinking banks are deploying cutting-edge, automated solutions driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and biometric technology.

These advanced solutions make it easier to authenticate customer identity, and with far greater accuracy, by matching facial imagery, identity documents, and other personal data. 

Organizations should seek a solution provider that can read all major languages and apply visual recognition and data to perform a customer ID verification in seconds, with the utmost accuracy. 

Without a fast, accurate, and globally compliant IDV solution, digital banks cannot hope to achieve their business goals.

However, with the help of AI-powered solutions, banks can not only help onboard legitimate customers quickly, but they can also mitigate identity scams and ensure compliance within multiple jurisdictions.? 

Digital commerce depends on secure digital banking

The exponential growth of digital commerce means that banks handle millions of daily transactions. And every one of those transactions poses a threat due to financial criminals trying to exploit vulnerabilities.

Technological advancements and the surge in online payments have created a demand for improved measures to combat money laundering and keep banks compliant with AML regulations.

As each transaction is unique, an endless array of possible threat vectors puts banks in a difficult position when identifying suspicious activity.

Banks must analyze and keep records of all transactions made by their customers. A bank that falls short in monitoring its transactions can face substantial financial penalties and catastrophic reputational damage. Which is why robust AML screening is so important.


AML screening involves verifying potential customers by checking their details against global sanctions lists across numerous jurisdictions.

There are adverse media checks, 1700+ watchlists, and Politically Exposed Person (PEP) lists to check against, which can take days or weeks when done manually. Add to the fact that a lack of standardization in KYC IDV (e.g., 50 states, 50 types of driver’s licenses) has meant that every bank or payment processor conducts customer due diligence in its unique way, making it increasingly difficult for banks to stay across.

By utilizing AI-driven automation technologies, banks can easily authenticate user information within seconds at a far greater level of accuracy – approaching 100 percent – than they ever would have been able to manage manually.

IDV must keep ahead of threat landscape  

The principal purpose of KYC must be to authenticate the true entities – not only of customers but also Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs), third-party businesses, and other corporate entities.

Unfortunately, online criminals and fraudsters constantly seek methods to thwart new security measures.

If a firm fails to collect enough information during the initial KYC process, a client may engage in criminal or corrupt activities without detection until it is too late. This has led to companies faced with regulatory sanctions, lawsuits, hefty fines, insurance issues – and, of course, lost business.? 

To stay ahead of the criminal curve, IDV solutions must focus on enhancements to keep ahead of the changing KYC regime and criminal threat landscape. IDV solutions built on constantly advancing technologies will empower forward-thinking firms to mitigate fraud, enhance the customer experience and keep costs aligned with profits.

Those businesses that can deliver an enhanced customer experience while demonstrating KYC/AML compliance will improve their brand image and gain a competitive edge. 

  • Patrick Kelly

    Patrick Kelly is an experienced professional in digital identity and multi-modal biometrics designed "to prove you are who you say you are." He is the head of sales for Shufti Pro in the Americas.