The Demand for Secure, Remote Customer Onboarding

In a digital world, today’s client expects to be able to signup “any time, anywhere,” and enjoy a completely frictionless onboarding experience.

The Financial Services industry is facing an unprecedented, ever-changing landscape of customer expectations and technology.

The rise of branchless FinTech firms like Monzo, Starling Bank and Tide are increasing the demand for the industry to offer all clients the ability to buy financial products or open an account completely remotely on a mobile phone or desktop.

Yet many firms are struggling to efficiently perform remote onboarding checks in a timely, regulatory compliant and secure manner. These Firms are often relying on manual processes in stark contrast to the efficient processes and user-friendly experiences that today’s end-customer now expects and demands. In this blog, we will address the challenges that regulated firms face when verifying their clients and how they can make the most of the opportunity that remote onboarding creates.

The Challenge to Regulatory Compliance

The increase of remote account openings has raised concerns about security and fraud during the onboarding process, this can make the onboarding of companies, in particular, quite a challenge. 

On average traditional financial firms can take up to 30 days to onboard clients (source), taking this amount of time can lead to low customer satisfaction and even the abandonment of the sale.

In today’s regulatory environment firms are obliged to perform an increasing number background checks and verification of an increasing number of people within an organisation. Not only does an identity check need to be performed for each director, and beneficial owner of the organisation but additional checks that validate whether the organisation is on any financial sanctions lists and whether the individuals associated with that organisation are classified as a "politically exposed persons" (PEP). Firms need to balance delivering a friction-free onboarding experience to their clients whilst meeting stringent anti-money laundering (AML) or other regulatory compliance checks (for example the Client Appropriateness guidelines issued under MiFID II). 

Facial or biometric recognition software is some of the latest technology to be applied to the client onboarding use case, making it easier for businesses to perform essential Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) procedures, but remotely and in real-time.

How Facial Recognition can be leveraged

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Facial recognition technology is becoming more widely used in regulated industries, as it allows for robust KYC checks to be done remotely, without the need for the client to be physically present at a branch. Selfie-based authentication can be performed at any time to prevent false or fraudulent accounts being set up 

The technology has developed further to scan an individual’s facial features (captured during the selfie-taking process) and compare them against images used in  formal identity documents such as Passports, ID cards and driver’s licenses.

How Liveness Checks Can Combat Fraud

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Cybercriminals are increasingly trying to spoof these remote processes by using photos or videos of an individual’s authorised face to ensure that these spoofing attacks are prevented certified liveness detection has become a vital feature for modern biometric-based authentication solutions.

Checking for “liveness” verifies that the person attempting to confirm their identity is a living subject and not a copy or imitation. Liveness detection techniques reduce the chances of a spoofing attempt being successful.

NorthRow’s liveness detection in our RemoteVerify solution combines facial recognition, voice recording and a video-based process to verify that a client is legitimate and flags any suspicious accounts or spoof attempts.


“RemoteVerify provides a seamless client onboarding experience, whilst helping to ensure robust Know Your Customer compliance checks are being performed, reducing your risk of fraud and flagging spoofing attempts in real-time.”

Glenn Jones, Lead UX Developer at NorthRow

These advanced liveness detection technologies provide regulated firms with a significant competitive advantage in terms of speed, accuracy, and anti-fraud capabilities.

Making Remote a Reality

 Today’s customers want the convenience of opening an account or buying the financial product in minutes from a mobile phone, and firms need to efficiently respond to this increasing customer demand for remote onboarding. 

NorthRow’s RemoteVerify solution allows you to perform remote identity and document verification, on your customers. Our application can be used on an iOS or Android smartphone, tablet or desktop. Any device, any time, anywhere. Contact the team to learn more on how RemoteVerify can accelerate your onboarding processes.