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Many smaller organisations still reliant on paper processes

Traditionally, the financial services industry has insisted on paper copies of documents to confirm a person's identity when bringing on new customers. But the time and resources required to provide and process paper-based forms of identity made it a laborious task for FS organisations and their customers alike and meant many began to transition to electronic authentication back in 2007.

According to our research, 75% of financial services organisations now use some form of electronic authentication to verify customer identities in the applications process. However, there are still a number of smaller companies battling with piles of paper identity documents and a significant 37% of these are still using paper-only methods when authenticating new customers. Although the companies that do use electronic authentication cite a number of benefits including increased profitability and improved customer service, the research found that SMEs are often less aware of these advantages. In some cases, misconceptions still exist. For example, a number of organisations that we questioned thought that paper methods are in some way safer than electronic ones.

Electronic authentication can relieve the administrative burden of having to contend with mountains of paper documents to verify customers and also help bring customers on board far quicker. It is important that we, as an industry, take steps to educate smaller companies on the advantages of electronic authentication, so they too can reap the benefits of abandoning paper processes.

Micah Willbrand, UK Head of Authentication Services, Experian





Comments: (1)

Michael Wright
Michael Wright - Tilte, Taxd, Welleasy - London 18 May, 2010, 17:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Micah - it looks like paper will continue to be the scourge of business processes for many years to come - but there is hope for the paperless society !

One of the questions that Striata gets asked as we transition our banking clients from paper statements to secure document delivery (eStatements delivered by email) is "how will customers now prove their identity?".

We have always held out that using a printed statement from another bank or utility to identify your new customer is basing your security on top of someone else's and will result in a security house of cards.

In addition, the modern printers are so good now that producing your own statement from scratch and printing it on a colour printer will fool most front line staff. Do the people processing the documents know what to look for in the paper and printing to prove it is an original copy ? Not likely!

Online verification is much more accurate and probably quicker to process - and we can dismiss the argument that customers have to have a paper statement to verify their identity.

We're all for eliminating the paper, printing and postage - a saving of up to 80% for most companies that adopt paperless billing. 

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