Know Your Customer

Not only do some banks commoditise products, but they also begin the commoditisation of banking customers - you!


“I am not a number!” IMDb Rating 8.7

"The Prisoner" is a unique piece of television. It addresses issues such as personal identity and freedom, democracy, education, scientific progress, art and technology, while still remaining an entertaining drama series. Over seventeen episodes we witness a war of attrition between the faceless forces behind 'The Village' (a Kafkaesque community somewhere between Butlins and Alcatraz) and its most strong willed inmate, No. 6. who struggles ceaselessly to assert his individuality while plotting to escape from his captors.  Written by Stuart Berwick

All banks use client identification numbers (CINs). Some banks use one as your online login while others use your date of birth plus 4 random numbers. This is a short blog about Know Your Customer (KYC), contact and being known by your bank.

KYC is important for safeguards against money laundering, fraud or affordability for a bank to meet the 'Know Your Customer' demands of the regulator. But of late this has been focused on protecting the bank from the fines it faces for failure, rather than on customers’ needs.

Increasingly KYC has become a hurdle to common sense and a tick-box exercise, as opposed to actually knowing you as a customer - which went out ages ago with the demise of local, long term branch managers.

Typical problems with KYC are not having utilities bills in your name and failing to have 2 or 3 consistent name and address bills that the bank will accept. Even then, the slightest difference in the wording or the address will often lead to rejection of the process.

For mobile people, whatever their circumstances, KYC and making the right applications is getting more and more complex. Part of this is because you have many different CINs - the banks, utility companies, NHS, Amazon, credit cards, passport etc etc. This is both good and bad - good in that if someone hacks the an account they haven’t got access to all the others for free, bad because none of the data is coordinated and therefore no one really knows you, just a little slice - this makes it very difficult in financial services.

Really, the least of your problems is the bank - your money is at least covered under the financial compensation scheme. The rest of your data/providers may face a fine but you’ve still lost the data.

We think modern technology could allow you to store your information once, allow us to verify it and provide the basics and a ‘endorsement' to all the ‘asking’ organisations so that you don’t have to do it every time and that they only get the information that they need to provide the service you ask for, no more and no less.

You should be able to store and remove information as you wish as You Own Your Own data, and you can store it and trust the people who run where you store it. You would be able to update a change of address once and have most your suppliers informed for you. You should be able to opt in or out to what you tell people and what benefit you get out of it.


We hope to Know our Customers by their names, not a number, and be able to make their lives easier for them. By being a single point of call for their personal information, we hope to provide real benefits to them. Our customers will have to share some information with us but only the data we need to deliver our financial services and to meet the additional services and benefits we might be able to supply. We will protect your personal data - your digital personality.