Insto: Instant Account Opening

Today I am very excited to announce Insto; our instant account opening tool. With Insto we wish to solve three major problems for Financial Institutions and American consumers:

  1. Digital account opening is a KYC compromise.
  2. Digital account opening does not work for everyone.
  3. Account opening is expensive.

Digital account opening is a KYC compromise

From a KYC perspective, all fully automated account opening products are a step down from in person account opening.

They primarily rely on SSN verification for individuals and almost none of them do automated account opening for businesses.

Government issued photo IDs and other physical documents are either not collected or if they are collected, require a manual approval process.

Digital account opening also adds an increased risk of identity theft, since it is hard to know who is really sitting behind the screen.

Digital account opening does not work for everyone

Since SSN verification is the primary verification method, anyone who fails this verification step is unable to open an account digitally.

This was a personal pain point for me when I first came to the US. I was unable to open any bank accounts online (not even with Simple). But this issue is not restricted to Immigrants alone. Anyone with little to no credit history is unable to open an account digitally (over 40% of Americans).[1]

Account opening is expensive

Surprisingly most banks pay anywhere between $20-$150 for account opening.[2]

This also affects the end customer. Banks usually make up for this cost by lending customer deposits, but in instances where deposits are not high enough, then banks charge monthly fees.

Charging fees hurts financial inclusion as people who do not have enough deposits also do not have enough funds to pay the monthly fees.


Here is how we are solving all three:

Digital account opening is a KYC compromise

  1. Just like other account opening tools, we first do traditional SSN verification.
  2. Then we use our state of the art government ID verification technology to verify the user’s government ID instantly.
  3. Finally we use our video auth tool to ensure that the person behind the computer is indeed the same individual we are opening an account for.

There are two motivations for pushing the state of the art on digital KYC:

  1. If we can deliver a KYC solution that is superior to in person KYC, then more banks will be willing to let customers open accounts digitally.
  2. A strong KYC solution would reduce the risk of identity theft; which would be a huge benefit for the American consumers.

Digital account opening does not work for everyone

Instead of only relying on SSN verification, we are adding government ID and facial recognition to the mix. This brings online account opening close to in person account opening.

On top of that, our computer vision and OCR stack is pretty generic. So, it is also capable of identifying and verifying other document types like proof of address, SSN cards, etc.

In a nutshell, Insto can work around any bank’s KYC policies and procedures for opening deposit accounts. No need to call people to a bank branch when you can verify all their documents digitally and instantly.

Account opening is expensive

Unlike other account opening tools, we have built the entire stack in-house. This allows us to offer flat rate fees to banks versus charging them per account opening.

A flat rate allows banks to on-board as many customers as they want without an incremental cost.

Our primary motivation here is to incentivize banks to offer low cost deposit products for the underserved market.


There are few more features that make Insto a very compelling product (it’s white labeled, has a business account opening solution, does social media verifications for KYC, etc.). You can read more about them on our website.

If you wish to play around with Insto, you can go to our live demo.

If you wish to learn more about Insto and want us to give you a quote, reach out to us at banksales@synapsefi.com.


[1] Even though account opening does not require credit score checks, almost all SSN verification services use credit history to verify validity of SSN numbers. So according to them, if you have no credit history, you do not have a valid SSN.

[2] The cost makes sense once you realize that almost all account opening products are aggregation services built on top of a bunch of different smaller products. Since each smaller product is a company with a staff and overhead, the overall cost ends up being much higher than it needs to be.


Originally published at Synapse’s Blog on Aug 14, 2017.

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