The Impact of Neobanks on AML and KYC Compliance: Ensuring Security in a Decentralized Era

by Jan 11, 2024

The Impact of Neobanks on AML and KYC Compliance: Ensuring Security in a Decentralized Era

Jan 11, 2024 | Blog, In The News, KYC, News & Events

As global financial institutions collectively face the reality of managing a consumer base that has aggressively adopted an increasingly digital presence, traditional banks are also facing a rising challenge in competing against a rapidly decentralizing model of banking in the form of neobanks. Neobanks often attract customers thanks to their lower fees, convenient online access, and optimized user experience; with a forecasted growth in account holders of over 45% estimated to occur within the next three years, (source) there is no denying the importance of ensuring this decentralized method of banking is held to equal standards as classical banking entities.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at what neobanks mean for the future of AML and KYC compliance, as well as why the implementation of proven documentation and identity verification methods are critical to stopping crime in its tracks. Read on to learn more!

What Are Neobanks?

Neobanks, also popularly known as “challenger banks”, are digital banks that exist operate exclusively online, without any physical branches. Instead of brick-and-mortar locations, neobanks rely on mobile applications and web platforms and offer standard banking services such as checking and savings accounts, loans, investments, and money transfers. Moreover, neobanks often utilize their platforms to provide personalized financial advice and insights to their customers, who can access the app by downloading it onto their devices and setting up an account. Just as with traditional institutions, neobanks must also utilize verification methods to ensure the validity of their clientele, and to adhere to AML and anti-fraud legislation as per the requirements of their operating jurisdiction.

The Emergence of Neobanks in the Current Market

With major market players like Wealthsimple, Revolut, Chime, Acorns and other entities becoming household names and experiencing mass adoption across North America and Europe, it is extremely vital that digital institutions take their approach to anti-crime measures seriously.

AML and Neobanks: Navigating the Challenges and Solutions

As mentioned above, it is integral to overall market safety that even the disruptors within the industry follow AML banking protocols. AML measures play a significant role in reducing criminal activity online and require financial institutions to implement rigorous security protocols that include customer due diligence, ongoing monitoring of customer transactions, and reporting suspicious activity to regulatory authorities.

Neobanks face unique challenges in upholding some of these protocols, as a less centralized and far more opaque clientele base presents a higher risk of fraud due to behind-screen anonymity that must be rectified. In order to stay compliant, leading neobanks typically turn to vetted KYC and a robust CDD software that allows them to verify customer identitiesand produce accurate risk profiles in a streamlined, highly-efficient manner.

The Importance Of Digital Identity Verification for Neobanks

Operating entirely online may afford neobanks a lower overhead cost and expedited services for their clientele, but doing so is not without its share of increased risks and challenges. Verifying digital users is much more complex, particularly when it comes to spotting fraud attempts and uncovering additional data about figures who prefer to lurk in the deeper recesses of the market.

Digital identification methods tackle such challenges head-on with a wide array of complex verification methods, including biometric authentication, document verification, and cross-referencing multiple trusted databases across the world. While the manual application of such measures would be unviable for the majority of institutions, having a software platform like iComplyKYC makes it possible to stay on top of new applications, as well as continuously evaluate your existing client base with ease. Automating KYC processes not only dramatically increases overall efficiency across your operations, it can significantly lower expenses, and helps to avoid financial penalties incurred for failing to measure up to compliance standards.

Neobanks: An Ongoing Disruption

Neobanks are, by nature, a disruptive force within the realm of traditional banking. As new and established players vie for market dominance and seek to establish a reputation of trust and competency amongst their traditional competitors, financial and legal regulators are paying close attention to the potential ramifications of continued rapid adoption across global markets.

While such institutions provide a powerful financial alternative to traditional banking and demonstrate some of the notable potential to be found in adopting fully digital practices, they also show just how rapidly digital crime continues to adapt and seek out new opportunities to abuse platforms with poor security measures. With users steadily climbing year after year, it is reasonable to expect neobanks and their fellow industry disruptors to set a new pace and a new standard for AML regulations as these newer technologies continue to advance.

A Proactive Approach to Compliance Challenges

Partnering with a proven KYC and AML software provider like iComply is one of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve and make sure your institution has everything you need to stay compliant with evolving legislation.

Set the Foundation for Success with iComply

Learn how iComplyKYC can help you streamline your AML and KYC procedures with ease, and full compliance in over 250 global jurisdictions by contacting our team today.

learn more

Is your AML compliance too expensive, time-consuming, or ineffective?

iComply enables financial services providers to reduce costs, risk, and complexity and improve staff capacity, effectiveness, and customer experience.

Request a demo today.