Know All Your Customers: Get KYC Everywhere

Be-Bound Team
Jul 31, 2018 · 5 min read

The KYC — Knowing Your Customer — process has become mandatory for a variety of business types in many countries, not to mention a real value for business growth and security. But digital KYC isn’t possible where Internet network is low or absent. This means that potential clients are left out and companies are restricted from reaching their full market potential. Be-Bound makes it possible for every company to reach every customer. KYC works wherever you take your business.

See how KYC works with Augmented Connectivity:

The Old Standard — Paper KYC

KYC is relatively easy when it’s done the “ traditional” way, face-to-face. When someone wants to open a bank account for example, they go to their favorite bank, ask for an appointment, provide documents — an identity card, a photo and a proof of residence. They can sign the contract in front of the friendly bank teller, and everything is simple, secure and trustable. The process happens between people who see each other and interact in the company’s office setting. Then, these forms, copies of ID documents, and contracts need to be filed and stored in the company database.

The New Standard — Digital / e-KYC

We are moving to a fully digitalized world and companies of all sizes are processing the information needed for KYC online, allowing more efficiency, and savings in cost and time for both business and customer. And e-KYC can now be done by street vendors, small affiliate stores, or totally anonymously via mobile to server. This is when things can become a bit tricky, because digital relies on mobile networks. But mobile internet networks can be unreliable : in rural areas the networks can be unstable or weak (not enough infrastructure), or in urban areas, networks can be saturated (too many people using the bandwidth at once). The problem is not about a lack of devices or software; it’s purely location related. If you want to enroll new customers where connectivity is unstable, you are in a bind. So what can companies relying on KYC to enroll new customers do?

The Challenges for Companies Using e-KYC

Failed Networks Impede Business

When networks fail, KYC becomes a nightmare, and actually impossible because only a sampling of the new subscriber’s details are collected. For example, a street vendor takes a photo of a new customer’s identity card so that the data can be sent to the company’s backend team for verification. But neither the customer or vendor can wait forever, and if ID cannot be verified and approved within a reasonable amount of time, the new subscriber cannot be activated. The company loses a deal. In these cases, even though most of the acquisition process has been done, the KYC fails due to lack of internet. Business is impeded day in and day out due to this blockage.

Big Financial Stakes

When KYC cannot be completed, a potential new customer is lost, if not forever ,then probably for a long time, even if 90% or more of the onboarding process has already been done. Though KYC might seem like a small final step — a technicality even — it can mean the difference of significant financial gains or losses for companies.

Be-Bound’s Augmented Connectivity extends the reach of company’s mobile apps, and in fact gives them the widest geographic reach possible using today’s infrastructure. With Augmented Connectivity companies can bring a true app experience to 95% of the world population. Companies simply integrate Augmented Connectivity into their app, and their KYC service will work everywhere there is a phone signal.

Sending KYC (or any) Photos Shouldn’t Be So Hard

Some people might think that you can send a photo via SMS. After all, we’ve all sent a photo in a text message before. However, what you might be missing is that when a photo is sent with your texts, there is a different acronym attached : MMS (instead of SMS — which is the texting network). When you see MMS , it means that your photo was sent using a data network (i.e. 3G/4G) — not the SMS network. This means that mobile phones cannot transfer photos without a data network (internet). So no app is capable of facilitating KYC in rural or saturated areas. The photo size will simply be too large for unstable networks to handle.

The Solution : Apps Send Photos Via 2G/GSM

Be-Bound’s added value when it comes to KYC is that Augmented Connectivity makes it possible for photos to finally be sent using the actual SMS/GSM network. Our optimization of data is so powerful, that we are able to compress the size of ID photos to be sent on the GSM network when necessary. This facilitates the KYC process. With Augmented Connectivity, all elements necessary for KYC (from attachments to photo ID), can be sent back to the home office from any location, no matter the mobile network condition. As long as there’s a phone signal, your KYC process will be successfully completed.

(For developers who want to know more, check out our article, Image Compression for Developers)

How Does Augmented Connectivity Improve KYC?

You collect a user’s details, take a photo of their ID card and send the details over the mobile network as usual. At this point, Be-Bound’s optimization process is activated.

1) First, we optimize the size of the photo of the ID. This is done using a machine learning based compression algorithm that reduces the file size by 30 or even more. With this, a 200kB photo can be reduced down to 5 or 6 kB. When there’s only a few kB of data to transmit, even a weak or unstable 3G network will suffice. With a smaller file size, the data will be more easily transmitted. Moreover, data optimization will save storage space on your servers.

2) Then, Be-Bound checks the quality of the data connection and in case the bandwidth is really too low or there is no data network at all, we transition to the GSM network. The file is split into several small parts and sent over the GSM network. Transmitting a few kB of data is possible even on GSM networks within a few seconds. Typically, it will take around 20 seconds to transmit a 5kB file.

3) Your team receives the photo without even knowing it has been optimized. They check the ID and send back their approval. The enrollment is complete in a matter of minutes.

KYC has major stakes for corporations, with consequences to reputation, licencing, trust, reliability, control, productivity, and adaptability. And because its mandatory in many countries, you often cannot avoid it. If your business involves the acquisition of new customers in patchy areas, then you can either cross your fingers and hope that not too many users are using the bandwidth, and risk a failed KYC and thus a failed client onboarding. Or, you can choose Be-Bound and rest assured that business will work everywhere. Say goodbye to the days when you missed out on customer growth because of bad internet connectivity.

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