Saffron Building Society has selected Experian, the global information services company, to authenticate new savings account applications quickly and efficiently, as it prepares to launch its new online account opening service.
The move reflects Saffron's increasing multi-channel focus as it seeks to grow its customer base through its online services.
With Experian's Authenticate service, new and existing customers who apply for Saffron savings accounts online will no longer need paper based proof of identity to hand, as their personal details will be automatically verified by Authenticate. The system checks the applicant's personal information against Experian's data sources to confirm identity and highlight risks of money laundering or fraud. The authentication result is returned quickly and customers can be given an instant decision on their application.
Saffron's decision to electronically verify customers' identities reflects a wider move in the financial services industry towards electronic authentication. According to a new report from Experian, 59 per cent of financial services organisations using electronic authentication say it has improved profitability because customers can deposit savings faster, while nearly half (49 per cent) say it has improved customer service and almost as many (47 per cent) say it has reduced fraud.
Andrew Rushworth, Operations Director at Saffron Building Society, says: "Using Authenticate to verify online account applications underlines our commitment to improving our customers' experience across the range of channels we now use to help meet customers' savings needs. The speed of the service will allow us to process account applications more efficiently, providing new customers with a fully functioning account soon after the account is requested. It will also make the opening of accounts easier for our staff as our online savings range continues to grow."
James Blake, Head of Experian's UK Authenticate team, says: "Growth in the number of financial services companies introducing online offerings, combined with consumer expectations of online services in general, has put pressure on the sector to streamline applicationn processes. The breadth and depth of data that Authenticate uses to remotely verify customers, means Saffron Building Society can bring customers on board much more quickly whilst satisfying increasingly tough regulatory requirements. In the case of its savings customers, it also means that they can start depositing sooner, tying in with the FSA's drive to improve liquidity across the building society sector as a whole."