The importance of KYC for telecoms companies


With KYC and AML legislation getting ever more stringent, many telecoms companies around the world are adopting electronic Know Your Customer methods to avoid deterring new customers with traditionally slow and inconvenient approaches. e-KYC systems can make onboarding large numbers of new customers far quicker and can also prevent human error.

e-KYC is currently being used in many countries which already sport a secure and robust government issued electronic ID system, such as the Aadhaar identity programme in India. All Indian residents are issued with a unique 12-digit identification number which is based on their biometric and geographic data. And in some parts of Europe, such as Norway and Sweden, individuals are supplied with an identity certificate which can be loaded onto mobile phones and smartcards and used both in person and online to verify their identity in a variety of situations.

e-KYC has recently been hitting the headlines with the race to win the previous customers of bankrupt Indian telecoms company Aircel. With e-KYC already common in India it is the companies who can offer the latest and most convenient onboarding processes that seem to welcoming the highest numbers of new customers. Rival company Airtel have won the lion’s share of Aircel’s displaced customers, with a 50% share to date. Ajai Puri, COO of Airtel credits the networks digital onboarding as one of their main attractions. Vodafone have won over 100,000 customers and are also making use of India’s forward-thinking e-KYC methods.

Any telecoms company who wants to stay in the game need to ensure that they keep current with their onboarding processes, with e-KYC becoming not only common, but expected.

Customers patience is running out. With so much business being carried out online, customers want and expect access to their goods and services right now, not in a week when they have time to present themselves at a store. E-KYC isn’t going anywhere, with paper-based identification methods seeming more and more outmoded, and governments attempting to keep up with the changes, it’s only a matter of time before handing over your documents at a bricks and mortar establishment will be completely obsolete.