Exclusive: ‘Fighting on the frontline of fraud’ – Rutherford Wilson, Trulioo in “The Paytech Magazine”

Trulioo’s new Director of Growth, Rutherford Wilson, on how the global regtech platform is supporting the identity verification process for regulated and non-regulated industries alike.

Everyone should care about know your customer (KYC). Banks and other financial institutions have been wrestling with the problems of truly ‘knowing your customer’ for years – but what about the plethora of non-financial institutions and marketplaces that now receive payments from often unverified third parties?

As money laundering and terrorist financing techniques become more sophisticated and widespread, these new entrants are also finding themselves targets, making them vulnerable to reputational damage and expensive investigations. It’s worth noting that these companies are not explicitly required by law to carry out KYC due diligence. However, they need help and global identity verification platform Trulioo, whose core business has traditionally been in regulated industries where verified identity is required for both KYC and anti-money laundering (AML) purposes, is ready to give it. 

Founded in 2011, Trulioo provides secure access through GlobalGateway, which acts as a single portal to more than five billion identities worldwide, and the team is now seeing scope to provide additional services.

Suiting up for the tech war

“There are two things that are keeping people up at night”, says Trulioo’s director of growth, Rutherford Wilson. “First is the changing compliance requirements. Companies are still adjusting to the likes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the new revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in Europe. 

The second thing, that’s not just keeping them up but giving them nightmares, is the emergence of successful, sophisticated fraudsters.

“The number of bad actors has escalated and so many different organisations are looking for solutions now. Where they previously may have done identity verification in a very lightweight way, they now have to up their game significantly because fraudsters are using some of the same technologies that we use, such as machine learning and identifying people dynamically using digital identities. It’s a tech war.”

As Wilson’s job title suggests, growth is where Trulioo is swiftly headed. Last year saw a flurry of announcements as the company expanded its digital ID services into countries where securely verifying a person or business’ identity is often a significant challenge. 

In January 2019, Trulioo extended its GlobalGateway services to cover the Czech Republic and Slovakia, helping to mitigate money laundering and fraud in two of the world’s fastest-growing markets, which are also home to a number of Central Europe’s rapidly-scaling tech companies. Later in the year, GlobalGateway’s coverage was further extended to Nigeria and Ghana – two highly-populated African countries in which Trulioo will now help to bring many underbanked residents into the digital economy and enable financial institutions to safely and accurately know who they’re doing business with.

An expanding footprint

In September 2019, Trulioo raised $52.8million to support its geographic expansion and added 70 people to its workforce in Vancouver, San Francisco and Dublin. It has also been busy refining new products that further enhance the company’s proposition and broaden its sector footprint. 

EmbedID was launched in beta mode last year, aimed particularly at online businesses for which identification services are critical but not part of their core competencies. The tag line for the new product, ‘a snippet of code to verify the globe’, refers to a low-code-inspired integration with Trulioo’s back-end system, which will identify where the customer is and automatically customise the client’s user interface (UI). The format for entering key information required in the end user’s own country thus immediately makes sense to them.

EmbedID is being hailed as a game changer, particularly for developers building fintech solutions, who need to create a separate customer onboarding process for each country they operate in as regulatory requirements differ. This product allows customers, whether large or small, to access the GlobalGateway and verify customers in real time across multiple markets, while supporting country-specific AML and KYC requirements.

“We have a massive set of resources in our GlobalGateway product that offer functionality to verify consumers around the world, but with EmbedID we now make it so much easier to integrate into existing fintech applications for a number of different use cases,” explains Wilson. 

“We’re developing a piece of functionality where you have a visual user interface that you can customise very quickly. Once you hit the execute button, you get five or six lines of code that you can integrate into your website. You can then still go back to the form that allows you to do identity verification and make changes. That is wired to our GlobalGateway back end automatically. 

“So, if you have a customer that is in the United States, you’ll get a form and back-end functionality that has been specifically trained to verify a US citizen.

“By the same token, if you have somebody from Bulgaria – a market with a thin data set – our systems automatically customise the information that we need in order to do a proper verification. It’s about very small pieces of integration, but they give businesses full access to the power of Trulioo’s GlobalGateway.”

The Trulioo team is already seeing huge demand for this service, and not just at the initial onboarding stage.

“The use cases for this product are broader than onboarding,” continues Wilson. “We have some clients who want to use it throughout the life cycle of a customer’s journey because the EmbedID snippet of code can be placed anywhere in that journey. When a company has a signal that there may be a suspicious login, for example, they can use it to reverify that customer’s identity.”

Continuous improvement

By the very nature of the environment it operates in, Trulioo’s service is constantly updating and improving. That led to February’s launch of a new image capture software development kit (SDK) with desktop-to-mobile workflows, offering a more flexible, holistic approach to identity verification. 

It allows a company to capture, analyse and authenticate more than 4,200 types of identity documents from nearly every country in the world. And it’s another lifesaver for smaller online businesses. 

“Customers don’t like friction and neither do businesses,” says Wilson. 

“So, technology solutions that reduce risk during the onboarding of new customers or managing customers throughout the business life cycle while introducing the least amount of friction – in other words, those that give us the maximum amount of risk mitigation along with the maximum ease of use for end customers – will win the day.”




This article was published in The Paytech Magazine: Issue #05, Pages 26-27.

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Author: Laimis Bilys