Using the Business Registration Number to improve onboarding

Tags: AMLBusiness verificationKYC
Business Registration Number

When onboarding business customers, getting accurate, unique data points for verification is often problematic. For example, you know the company name is Acme, but there might be hundreds of those. And the exact business name might not be known by many, as there can be so many variations. Is it incorporated or a limited company — or is it doing business as another name altogether?

Governments often use a Business Registration Number (BRN), or something similar, for official records. It might be labeled an Employer Identification Number (EIN), Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or Company Registration Number (CRN), or value-added tax (VAT) number but the general idea is the same: a specific data point that can uniquely identify a company. While EINs and VAT numbers are tax numbers for government purposes, they can also act as business numbers for identification purposes.

Unfortunately, for organizations that are doing business globally, different jurisdictions have different requirements and formats. Even within a given jurisdiction, a company might have multiple other numbers for various government agencies. Collecting and analyzing that information for business identification and verification purposes often requires numerous efforts to fix inaccuracies, resulting in a slow and expensive process.

To give a specific example, consider Trulioo. The actual company name is Trulioo Information Services Inc., which even many people well acquainted with the company wouldn’t know. We have a Business Number, a Registry ID and a provincial Registry ID; if an institution wanted to verify our information, what would be the best number to give? Multiply that complexity with the need to verify potentially thousands (or more!) of companies in multiple jurisdictions and you can see why business verification is a major source of friction for global organizations.

The need for business verification

No matter how tedious or costly business verification becomes, skipping it isn’t advisable. For financial institutions and other regulated organizations, completing corporate KYC checks is mandatory. For other organizations that want to limit fraudsters, understanding who your customers are and the risk they pose is a prerequisite to building a safe online experience.

How can organizations create a business customer onboarding process that is accurate, reasonably quick and not frustrating for customers? After all, according to an article in Finextra, it takes 3-4 months to onboard a corporate banking customer. The lengthy delays lead to application abandonment and, as a result, “in 2019, it was deduced that the global commercial and business banking market lost $3.3 trillion.”

Decoding the Business Registration Number

Fortunately, there are ways to decode the different definitions and formats of BRNs. Information for best practices becomes apparent when examining what data people present for their BRN and is available through various data sources.

Using this information, along with deep experience gained from years of checking business registrations in multiple markets, enables Trulioo GlobalGateway Business Verification to provide a better business onboarding experience. We can guide you to help gather the most appropriate information right from the outset, speeding the process and increasing accuracy.

Beyond that, the technology maps various inputs to known patterns to quickly determine if a provided BRN will work or not. By mapping over 400 BRN patterns in over 50 countries, we’ve created an intelligent BRN recognition process that validates the input instantly. There’s no more back and forth with clients to try and figure out which BRN to use. With Business Verification, you get:

  • Validation, editing and mapping of BRN inputs
  • Documentation about BRN formats in many countries, including their performance rating
  • Access to the BRN API, to return the BRNs for each country jurisdiction

It is important to note that many transactions fail on automated verification — not because the business doesn’t exist or is a fraud attempt, but instead due to incorrect BRN formats. Format errors are typically due to extra spacing, leading zeros, lack of/addition of unnecessary hyphens, or special characters. These errors often result in low match rates, the most common challenge that customers have in many countries.

Business Verification allows you to continue collecting BRN information as your users enter the system, but ensures these are optimally structured to align with credit agencies and bureaus, government registries and public records worldwide.

The improvement in match rates can be dramatic; one customer who was struggling to verify businesses in France, Belgium and Bulgaria added BRN validation and their match rates increased substantially — over 40% in some countries.

Optimizing your business onboarding process helps ensure new customers become happy customers. Eliminating delays and unnecessary friction through automation and intelligent design creates a powerful first experience of your service and helps avoid potential abandonment. Using intelligent BRN recognition is one example of how Business Verification makes onboarding seamless and practical.


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