Blog post

Why fixing KYC is key

05/3/24
Tim French


When it comes to telecoms, trust is paramount. Part of the unique power of voice is that it can help establish empathy and build trust regardless of distance. But this also means that voice can be a potent tool for those looking to scam or defraud others.

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That’s why Know Your Customer (KYC) processes are so important to us, and why I wanted to talk about them in this post. While they’re not the only critical element in improving voice security – and I’ll talk about some other aspects of this in a future post – they’re where I want to focus today.

KYC processes are the foundation for establishing trust and security in the international voice industry. We all want to feel confident that the numbers calling us are really who they say they are, and KYC is a crucial element of how we do it.

However, there’s a problem in today’s market. KYC rules are often based on regulations and data protection laws that are specific to individual countries, and not the same globally. In addition, they are unevenly applied, with implementation and compliance varying significantly from one region to another. The overall effectiveness of solutions are therefore highly inconsistent.

This adds complexity to the system but also undermines the integrity of voice communication overall. Inconsistencies in KYC mean there are gaps in security, making it easier to undertake fraudulent activities, and ultimately eroding trust among users.

We think improving, developing and standardising KYC processes for telecoms globally should therefore be one of the top priorities for bringing greater trust and transparency to the voice market, to support bigger ideas like branded calling (what we’ve called our industry’s “green tick” future). We’re pleased to be taking a leading role in industry initiatives, such as the One Consortium, who are aiming to galvanise a common approach to solving these industry issues on a global, not local basis.

Positive action on KYC starts with streamlining information flows between different stakeholders in the telco value chain. By establishing standardised procedures – tailored to the regulatory frameworks of each country – we can ensure a more robust and reliable KYC infrastructure while simplifying the process on a global scale.

By doing so, we can have more confidence in who’s calling us. Telco operators can feel assured their traffic is verified, while cloud comms providers can stamp out fraud. We could also look to the fintech industry to learn lessons about applying KYC effectively at scale too.

Improving KYC is a key part of our mission at Wavecrest to bring back trust, transparency and ease to the voice market. It’s about building a future for voice that’s not just efficient but also inherently secure.

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