Unlocking success: best practices for cross-border digital onboarding

Monday 17 June 2024 09:01 CET | Editor: Alin Popa | Interview

Jeff Sakasegawa, Trust and Safety Architect at Persona, shares best practices for digital onboarding across jurisdictions.


First, who are the main actors involved in the process of cross-border digital onboarding and what are their main objectives? 

Compliance teams come to mind first, given their job of performing sanction screens and executing Know Your Business (KYB), Know Your Customer (KYC), and due diligence processes. Your legal team will be involved in constructing terms of service and consulting on any external communications. 

You’ll also usually work with a growth or product team. These folks will generally help build a customer-facing onboarding flow reflective of the work that compliance and legal provide guidance on. 

Finally, customer support is important for assisting users during and after onboarding. With all of these teams sitting in different areas of the business, you can already see the benefit of having a single source of truth for what’s working and what isn’t, so any onboarding challenges are properly managed.

'Challenges with digital onboarding in different jurisdictions can be met via vendor partnerships that have that local knowledge built in or configurable.'


What are the main challenges of cross-border digital onboarding for stakeholders?

At a macro level, there’s always the challenge of localisation and staying on top of market trends when you get started in a new country or region. This doesn’t pertain just to the language, regulations, and customs, but also to knowing the business environment and accounting for its nuances. While that may seem obvious, I also see the trend of meeting this challenge via vendor partnerships that have that local knowledge built in or configurable. That way, you’re not starting from the ground level. As a compliance team, you can see what comes out of the box and probe further on compliance with local KYB laws, for example, and how Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) are onboarded. 

For the growth team, there’s always the challenge of losing technical, legal, and compliance resources post-launch. It’s inevitable. This underscores the importance of having a process in place for viewing the same dashboards or automating as much as possible before customer support or even finance needs to step in.

Lastly, customers will use or break the product in ways I never anticipated. So, the challenge in those situations is maintaining a strong compliance or fraud posture in a way that doesn’t negatively impact your customer support team or stifle growth.

How can an integrated KYC/KYB solution overcome those challenges?

My one-word answer is scalability. In my experience, KYC and KYB policies and procedures in new jurisdictions are often patched together, disparate systems. It’s an unideal solution that’s workable for launch but may quickly overtax your team.

You need a deeply integrated solution that helps you scale because ideally, your launch is successful and shows associated spikes in activity. Integrated solutions can help you manage volume and safely and securely onboard users and businesses. If you hacked your KYC/KYB solution together, you may inadvertently turn off users just as quickly as you’ve attracted them to your platform.

How do you evaluate the effectiveness of an integrated KYC/KYB solution for cross-regional digital onboarding?

At a high level, your KYC/KYB solution is effective if the user experience is seamless. Effectiveness can be evidenced when people are onboarded in an expedited fashion, your completion rates are high, and there isn’t a lot of drop-off across regions. Or, if you do have drop-off, you’re able to quickly test and deploy new flows. All this makes the product and growth teams happy.

Low support volume relative to what was forecasted could be another success metric. Lastly, if you exceeded your onboarding numbers and aren’t seeing associated fraud or closed accounts, that’s a win for your compliance team. This achievement should be easily trackable with an integrated solution.

Can you provide insights gained from scaling digital onboarding initiatives across diverse jurisdictions?

Many times, I’ve found failure in those patched-together KYC or KYB onboarding flows I mentioned previously. In those moments, I wonder if my solution provider simply can’t do what I need, especially when they aren’t providing support and transparency into their product roadmap in a way that comforts me and my team.

A strong onboarding partner is critical because all of the adjustments that can expedite conversion and grow your business should be ones they can help you with. Your partner should be in the trenches with you coming up with solutions and testing and learning if paper IDs have high failure rates or UBOs aren’t completing their flows, just to share a few examples.

Even better is having an onboarding partner who can orchestrate your identity processes, so you don’t have to worry about integrations or performing deep investigative work when something’s not working. Having just one conversation around what you’re seeing can greatly expedite resolution so you can focus on growing your business and preparing for the next launch.

This editorial was initially published in the Emerging Technologies and Trends in Identity Verification, KYC, and KYB Report 2024. The report dives into the latest practices and technologies that enable financial institutions and regulated entities to reduce fraud, build trust, navigate evolving regulatory and compliance requirements, and cut operational costs. You can download your free copy here.

About Jeff Sakasegawa

Jeff Sakasegawa is Persona’s Trust & Safety Architect. With over a decade of experience in the trust and safety space across companies such as Google, Facebook, Square, and Sift, Jeff is an expert on risk management and compliance. He is passionate about ensuring safe online experiences for all users.

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Keywords: cross-border payments, digital identity, digital onboarding, KYC, KYB
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Companies: Persona
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Fraud & Financial Crime


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