KYC or ‘Know Your Customer’ – Understanding its Importance

What-is-KYC

Introduction 

The purpose and implementation of complete KYC documentation was at its peak during the end of 2017. Banks, agents and even telecom companies put out alerts to their respective customers urging them to become fully KYC compliant. Many salaried individuals had to get this done to comply with RBI’s norms pertaining to KYC. With identity theft emerging as a serious concern in this age of digitization, KYC plays a huge role in nullifying such threats. We hear about instances of someone getting duped due to their signature getting forged or someone becoming a victim of phishing. Danger lurks everywhere, especially when it comes to financial dealings. Loan Singh, being a digital lending platform, has to comply with KYC guidelines. KYC not only helps Loan Singh to ensure that the borrower is genuine, but also conversely gives the borrower a sense of authenticity about Loan Singh’s digital lending platform. Let’s understand more about KYC and its appendages.

 

Know Your Customer

Know Your Customer, or KYC, is Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines to set-up a process that could obtain a customer’s information regarding their identity and residence. This helps banks confirm that the applicant/customer is genuine. The documents for KYC are submitted by the customer, and maintained by the collecting bank or other entity. Banks are also instructed to periodically update their KYC details, as and when possible.

The Reserve Bank of India introduced KYC in 2002. By 2004, RBI directed all banks to ensure that they are fully compliant with the KYC provisions. KYC is the common and regulatory process of document submission where the identity of the document provider is verified based on submitted details. The documents for KYC are submitted by the customer and maintained by the financial institution or digital lending platform.

The objective of KYC guidelines is to prevent financial institutions from servicing criminal elements – that perform money laundering activities. Financial institutions need to know their clients, or borrowers, before initiating any financial dealings. This helps mitigate risk. It is simply a request by a financial institution for identity proof. It is a security check. Financial institutions have a duty to vet all clients with whom they engage for business. Financial institutions are also to periodically update their client/customer database of KYC details.

 

KYC Submission

The submission of KYC documents is done either as a ‘proof of identity’ or as a ‘proof of address’. The different reasons when KYC submission is needed are

  • Applying for a personal loan from Loan Singh
  • Opening a new bank account
  • Applying for a new credit card
  • Applying for a personal loan
  • If existing documents are not enough
  • Availing locker facility
  • Changing a nominee or signatory
  • Buying insurance
  • Investing in mutual funds, commodity trading, and money exchange

In case, if you want to transfer your bank account from one branch to another, then there is no need to redo KYC submission. In case of a change in your address, you will need to submit the new proof of address to the bank along with a recent photograph.

KYC is necessary for application of a new credit card. The same is also applicable for supplementary credit cards. For the purchase of third party products, such as insurance or mutual funds from the bank, you have to submit KYC documents, if not an existing customer.

 

KYC Documents

There are 2 categories of documentation that fall under the KYC guidelines – Proof of Identity and Proof of Address. Under proof of identity, the following documents are valid

  • Passport
  • Driving License
  • Voter’s Identity card
  • PAN Card
  • Aadhaar card (Issued by UIDAI)
  • NREGA Job Card

In case, the above documents mention your address, then that can be accepted as Proof of Address, as well. In case, it does not mention the address, then the following can be submitted along with an ID proof

  • Utility bill (electricity, water, phone, postpaid mobile, etc.)
  • Municipal Tax Receipt
  • Bank Account statement
  • Post office savings bank account statement
  • Pension Payment Order number

 

KYC Benefits

KYC acts as a proper mechanism (thanks to its stringent rules) to track the entities involved in any illegal money laundering activities. Knowing the financial dealings of customers/borrowers is a deliberate effort of financial institutions. The idea is to trace suspicious transactions to any illegal agenda. Financial institutions can also create risk profiles – by assigning customers or borrowers to a risk category. They can then monitor possible frauds and loan defaults. Financial institutions look at the purpose of loan, financial background, and nature of transactions. KYC documents allow financial institutions to verify accounts of borrowers or customers. Unless the details are verified, a new account cannot be opened nor can a loan be approved.

Financial institutions get the answers to questions such as – is the customer/borrower genuine? Does the customer/borrower know if their information is being shared with the institution? Does the information match with records elsewhere? In short, the main benefits of KYC are

  • Borrower/customer identification
  • Prevent money laundering
  • Combat ‘Finance of Terrorism’
  • Manage risk
  • Check for identity theft
  • Monitor financial activities

 

Re-KYC

As per norms of Reserve Bank of India, financial institutions need to update their customer/client’s KYC documents periodically. They can then ask the customer/borrower to re-submit their updated KYC documents. Banks create customer profiles based on financial status, purpose of opening the account, purpose of personal loan, origin of funds, employment status, etc. For cases where transactions are not consistent with the profile, the bank can ask their customer/borrowers to re-submit their KYC documents.

In any case, it is for your own good to re-do your KYC as it is a good way to safeguard your financial transactions. If you are requested to do a re-KYC by the bank, you will need to submit self-attested copies of your Aadhaar Card, PAN Card, passport size photographs and a KYC update form (re-KYC form).

In case, the customer does not periodically update his/her KYC with the bank, the bank can partially freeze the customer’s account. The bank will send a reminder notice to the customer which will be valid for 3 months prior to partial freezing. If the customer does not update his/her KYC even after 6 months from the partial freezing stage, the account would be made inoperative by the bank.

 

CKYC

Although yet to be implemented fully by financial institutions for savings account or loan applications, mutual fund investors will have to do a CKYC (Central Know Your Customer). CKYC is managed by CERSAI, which is authorized by the Reserve Bank of India. CKYC replaced the existing KYC for investments in mutual funds since February 1, 2017. It is a centralized repository for KYC records in the financial sector. It is an initiative which requires investors to complete their KYC just once for multiple agencies across multiple financial products. It reduces the burden of producing KYC documents every time an investor deals with a new financial entity. New investors need to fill the new CKYC form and submit self-attested copies of Aadhaar, PAN, address proof and identity proof. Older investors, who have produced their KYC before, need not switch to CKYC. A 14 Digit number, provided to the investor, will be used in all financial dealings.

 

eKYC

eKYC refers to ‘electronic KYC’. eKYC is only possible for customers who have an Aadhaar. It is simply a mandate via which the customer authorizes UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) to release identity or address information through biometric authentication to the bank. The UIDAI then transfers your data comprising of your name, age, gender and photograph, electronically to the financial institution requesting eKYC.

 

Loan Singh KYC

Being a digital lending platform and providing online personal loans to salaried individuals, Loan Singh is also entitled to collect the borrower’s proof of identity and address, both. As mentioned above, this is to assess the authenticity of the borrower. It is advisable that you keep with yourself the KYC documents (PAN and Aadhaar), while applying for a personal loan on our platform. You also need to provide your latest 6 months bank statement. We also look at the borrower’s credit bureau score while evaluating his/her application.

 

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