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SmartSearch: Regulated businesses wasting hours on physical docs

Jake Carter

November 18, 2021

oms infotrack

Regulated businesses are wasting hours processing physical documents for ID checks, according to anti-money laundering specialist SmartSearch.

The survey of 500 regulated firms in the UK revealed a third (30%) of regulated businesses claimed it takes up to a week to process hard copy documents, with a further 21% saying it takes more than a week.

These findings form part of SmartSearch’s Electronic Verification Uncovered campaign which is calling for all regulated businesses to switch to EV, as digital onboarding can be completed in just a few seconds.

The data shows that 28% of regulated businesses claimed that using hard copy documents was a more reliable method for establishing ID.

This statistic is particularly concerning as fraudulent documents are also more frequently being produced, with SmartSearch’s research finding almost half (48%) of respondents had reported a rise in financial crime attempts in the past 12 months.

John Dobson, chief executive of SmartSearch, said: “The process for reviewing a physical document is incredibly inefficient. Particularly when working remotely.

“Requesting a photo of the document, a selfie from the client, waiting for them to send these over. Then checking the two match and reviewing the legitimacy. All this is time that could be better spent.

“Electronic verification works by using credit reference data, combined with other reliable sources, creating a unique ‘composite digital identity’ which is virtually impossible to fake. The best systems can complete a check in just two seconds.

“The Financial Conduct Authority has endorsed the use of electronic verification, and those looking to make the switch should not hesitate. Not only will businesses save time, they will also be contributing to the fight against money laundering.”


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