Know your customer, alternatively known as know your client or simply KYC, is the process of a business verifying the identity of its clients and assessing their suitability, along with the potential risks of illegal intentions towards the business relationship. The term is also used to refer to the bank regulations and anti-money laundering regulations which govern these activities. Know your customer processes are also employed by companies of all sizes for the purpose of ensuring their proposed customers, agents, consultants, or distributors are anti-bribery compliant. Banks, insurers, export creditors and other financial institutions are increasingly demanding that customers provide detailed due diligence information.
The objective of KYC guidelines is to prevent banks from being used, intentionally or unintentionally, by criminal elements for money laundering activities. Related procedures also enable banks to better understand their customers and their financial dealings. This helps them manage their risks in a well judged manner. Today not only the banks but also different online businesses can implement KYC. They usually frame their KYC policies incorporating the following four key elements:
• Customer Acceptance Policy;
• Customer Identification Procedures;
• Monitoring of Transactions; and
• Risk management.