Themes from Money 20/20, Las Vegas 2023
Las Vegas, 22-25th October. The annual showcase for all things fintech and payments has been and gone. After the flurry of meetings, talks and events it’s important to reflect on what's happened. Detected, have made regular appearances over the last few years and our team always comes away feeling re-energised.
At the event we’re constantly reminded of the need for improved business onboarding. We see it in startups who are in the position of needing to implement a more thorough compliance structure but still want to maintain the speed and efficiency that keep them competitive. In more established businesses, the challenges of reducing customer churn and ensuring harmony between the sales and compliance teams.
We hear the same pain points being discussed. The need to reduce time to revenue, the frustration of manual processes that are wasting a compliance team’s time and the regulatory pressure to ensure that no fraudulent merchants are being approved.
Events like Money 20/20 always provide the reaffirmation that what we’re doing is critical. To expand on last week’s event we sat down with Christian Wheeler and Austin Grimes who represented Detected this year.
First off could you both briefly summarise your thoughts on the event?
Christian: For me, it’s always the best conference on the market. It’s a great opportunity to network face to face with the genuine decision makers. Customer onboarding is an increasingly prominent topic across the 4 days.
Austin: Money 20/20 represents one of the few events each year where you can reliably meet with 80% of your partners. This trip was no different and it was evident that business and customer onboarding remains one of the top challenges that the entire ecosystem is still trying to solve.
What were the main themes and conversations that kept coming up again and again?
Christian: Customer churn was the key theme this year and of course data, data, data. These aren’t necessarily new themes but the narrative around both has definitely changed. Churn is being generated more frequently from customer’s expectations not being met. Data is always an interesting topic, for some people it is all that matters but the way data is presented and how it is pulled through to existing systems is becoming more critical.
Austin: One consistent topic was the lack of a silver bullet in customer onboarding. It seems our industry has continued down the path of data licensing which simply cannot solve the problem in its entirety. “What happens when the business you’re trying to onboard is registered in Delaware or Curacao?” Even the best data players don’t have a good answer to that - it’s simply accepted. This is where the conversation becomes easy for us at Detected because we’ve built an answer to that question which centres around the business itself as a data source.
Christian you mentioned customer churn, could you expand on that?
Yes, so, as I said customer churn is a topic that always gets mentioned, but this year there was a slight difference. Before, the main pain point was the lost revenue for the company; customers were being lost due to inefficient onboarding processes. However, this year the frustration was being felt by the customers as their expectations for how smooth the onboarding process should be was not being met.
This change in dynamic is important though because customer demands will always push innovation and change. If customer’s aren’t satisfied with the experience you’re providing they will churn, find a competitor who can meet their urgency and sign up there instead. I saw this with a lot of the startups I talked to where they were hyper-focused on the speed of onboarding, knowing that their ability to move quickly was their greatest competitive advantage.
Austin, the term silver bullet is thrown around a lot, what does this actually mean for customer onboarding?
Rightly or wrongly, silver bullet has become a commonly used business term for a complete solution that hits all the right spots and eliminates the customer’s pain points. To some degree it’s a good idea - a utopia, dictated by the customer’s needs, that businesses strive towards. However, it can be misleading because it shifts the focus away from the present day. A silver bullet is good, but incremental improvements that increase automation, reduce cost and reduce risk is just as important.
The main reason I believe that no silver bullet exists in customer onboarding is quite simple, really. You could licence every data provider present at Money 2020 and you’d still fall short of your compliance requirements in many verticals and even more jurisdictions. Every company has its own requirements, specifications or even definition of what it entails! However, the way one could be achieved is through a holistic approach that truly goes from start to finish. An end-to-end solution that includes onboarding, global data coverage and ongoing monitoring to build a single source of truth on any company.
Christian, at Detected we highlight the importance of the business owner as a data source, so why do people continue to focus on data?
Some people’s mindset will always be the more data, the better. However, we also noticed this year that the notion of the business owner as a data source was more accepted. We know that data coverage will not always be perfect in every region, in certain industries or for companies of different sizes but what we can rely on is the business owner.
The critical part is already having the knowledge of data availability. Take Canada, for example, if we know that group structure is hard to obtain then ensuring that it’s requested on the onboarding flow prevents any discrepancies. On the flip side, if we know that director information is easily accessible, why make the business owner enter this information? We want to keep their process smooth and provide a consistent level of data to the compliance teams.
Austin, in contrast, you said you’ve talked to people who have noticed an over-reliance on data?
Yes, building on what Christian said, I’ve talked to many groups who have had that mindset where data has been the top priority but they are now starting to see the drawbacks. The over-reliance on data seems to impact operational efficiency by increasing the manual workload and reducing contextual awareness.
By solely relying on data a compliance officer has to go from source to source, gathering information before they start their review. It takes time and is a frustrating process if the data doesn’t exist. On top of this, the process becomes focused on ‘checking boxes’ and wider context is sometimes ignored. Compliance should never be regarded as a tick box exercise, the compliance officers need to be put in the position to make informed decisions.
Finally, what was the best moment of the conference?
Austin: Engaging with some of the largest brand names in the world and discovering they too haven’t solved this problem. They are actively trying but still look to us for help and are impressed with the work we’ve been doing. If that doesn’t fill you with confidence then I don’t know what else would!
Christian: It’s always a great moment when you are speaking to a large team across different business functions and you start to see the expression on their faces change as they realise the positive impact Detected will make to their department and the wider business. The comments and reactions we get are always warmly received and are a great reminder that we’re building something very special.
This year, Money 20/20 has reaffirmed the need for fast, safe and intelligent onboarding. The best ways to achieve this is through customisation, integration and having a set of metrics that monitor and measure the success of your onboarding processes.
Having customised onboarding flows improves user experience, reduces onboarding time and captures more specific information. By balancing the known data availability with what is required from the customer the onboarding process can be automated and streamlined.
Likewise integrations across the onboarding process can benefit both the onboarding merchant and the compliance team. By integrating a document upload facility, ID verifications and other steps into the same flow a user can complete all their onboarding activities in one place. Meanwhile integrations to data sources including financial information, group structures and online presence builds up a complete business profile.
Metrics can be used to measure the effectiveness of the onboarding flow. Onboarding time, number of user sessions, success rate and the ratio between customers onboarded and customers approved can all help indicate where improvements need to be made.
At Detected, we’re focused on providing fast, safe and intelligent business onboarding. We understand the widespread impact onboarding has, the multiple groups it affects and the real damage poor onboarding can have on revenue.
On a typical onboarding flow with Detected, a user arrives on a highly specific flow (this can be based on their country, the product they are signing up for or any requirement/distinction that you require.
The business representative completes all the required onboarding activities on this one flow which they can leave at any time, and return using the same link. ID verification, documents, capturing information on related entities and any custom forms are all completed.
The company profile that is generated balances direct business owner input and information obtained from our data sources. Your compliance team receives a comprehensive and complete profile to review, in the back-end dashboard, via API or integrated into CRMs.
After a successful pilot stage, Storfund has gone live with Detected to improve marketplace seller verification and onboarding.
Our infographic visualises some of the problems – and the solutions – for B2B frictionless onboarding.