One API to Help Developers Streamline the Client Onboarding Journey

Client onboarding within regulated industries can be a very frustrating experience for all parties involved.

Manual, cumbersome and drawn-out client onboarding processes require multiple communications with the customer to collect and verify different identity documents. The result? Poor client experience, a high attrition rate, lost revenue and dissatisfied customers

If this is the first interaction your client has with your brand and it is a poor experience, this is not a great start to the relationship.

Client onboarding can also be very demanding from a resource point of view. In fact, the number of people working in compliance as a function is growing year by year, and the costs are spiralling. For example, when HSBC was fined a $1.9 billion fine in 2012 for failure to prevent money laundering by Latin American drug cartels and facilitating trading with sanctioned countries (source). After the fine, HSBC tried to improve it’s compliance processes and they ended up employing an additional 5,000 new staff members to spot suspicious activity.

In this new digital environment, clients expect a seamless onboarding journey and their patience for the time-consuming nature of traditional onboarding processes is fading fast.

Developers and Product Managers Delving Into Their Client’s Needs


Many companies are now delving into their client's needs and implementing customer onboarding solutions that involve leveraging tools like NorthRow to automate the collection and verification of the clients’ identity quickly.

Today’s developers play an integral role in customer onboarding automation. Indeed, it is the responsibility of the developers to turn customer onboarding automation from a mere concept into a working reality that actually enhances the client experience.

Restricted By Regulatory Compliance

In the past, developers may have been hesitant to engage with automating the client onboarding journey as it is so closely tied with compliance processes, such as anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC) and customer due diligence (CDD), where regulation is often difficult to decipher, confusing and constantly changing.


As a developer, who lives and breathes code, this may seem quite a tiresome project, especially if you work in heavily regulated industries like, payments, property, financial services or wealth management, where you need to access multiple services.

This post will attempt to address the constraints and equip developers with a better understanding of customer onboarding automation.

Audit Your Existing Processes

Before you start automating, it is best to practise to do a full audit of your existing client onboarding processes. What data partners do you currently use for your client identity verification? What documents do you request from your clients? What regulations are you required to fulfil? How long does it take to fully onboard your clients?

Once you have identified the issues you can then work out where you can simplify and optimise client onboarding via automation.

It is best that you incrementally automate your processes to ensure you create as little disruption, as possible.

Place fewer Touch-Points On Your Client Via APIs

Creating fewer client touch-points is the goal for successful client onboarding and here are 3 key questions the developers need to ask themselves?:


(1) How fast can you accurately obtain client information before they can start using your product/ service?

(2) How fast can you accurately can you meet your compliance requirements and fulfil robust client due diligence checks?

3) How can I consolidate all client due diligence checks into a central repository easily?

The answers to all 3 of these questions is via Application Programming Interfaces or APIs.

Why APIs Are the Way Forward?

The amount of data available for business consumption is immense, the multiple types and the sheer volume of data available are very challenging for business operations. Data is stored in many siloed locations in structured and unstructured forms. Accessing and harnessing that data is an ever-growing challenge for businesses globally How do you organise multiple streams of data originating from numerous sources in a coherent and insightful manner?

In the era of big data, Application Programming Interfaces or APIs are the only solutions to harness multiple data sources.

What is an API? An API allows two applications to communicate with one another. In other words, an API is a messenger that delivers your request to a provider that you’re requesting it from and then delivers a response back to you. APIs work in the background by acquiring multiple siloed data sources (via databases, CRM, platforms, devices, websites and other APIs) and by connecting this data together to create value for the end-user.

Connect One API for Access to Multiple APIs

Connecting one API is manageable, but connecting hundreds of APIs accurately and securely creates its own set of problems. For each API, a developer needs to consider the technical issues, contractual agreements and compliance factors relevant for that API.


A more efficient alternative is connecting to one API that can access multiple APIs or data sources libraries and services.

This means that developers only need to integrate one API into there client onboarding workflow, removing the heavy lifting of integrating multiple API services which can get very expensive and complex, and reducing the effort for development teams while ensuring security, availability and ability to scale.

NorthRow’s Single API Solution

NorthRow single API provides secure access to over +200 high-quality global data sources. Our clients no longer need to sign multiple contracts and build multiple API with multiple parties; instead, NorthRow’s API lets our clients use a single contract and API to securely access to data from multiple data partners.

NorthRow single API solution helps clients to make sense of multiple data streams, to better protect them against compliance failures and defend brand reputation, and at the same time delivering operational efficiency.