FRSLABS, founded in 2010, is a company focussed on developing digital identity verification (KYC) and fraud prevention solutions for consumers and businesses.
‘Know Your Customer’ or ‘KYC’, follows a common man like a shadow for a range of rights and services. Insurance, investment, health, education, social welfare and financial services: one cannot get past without KYC. Yet, existing KYC processes are onerous with paperwork, intrusion and delays at best and outright exclusion at worst. This existential problem, untouched for half a century, led FRSLABS to create the digital KYC solution called KYZO.
KYZO is a free Digital KYC app for consumers that allow them to scan and store any officially valid ID, photo and other relevant identity documents. Cutting edge OCR and computer vision technology will automatically extract the ID details and pre-fill an identity form for later use by the Customer. At the point of sharing KYC (say to open a Bank Account), the customer simply has to scan the unique QR generated by the Bank, consents to share the identity data and authenticate using a PIN. The data seamlessly transfers to the Banker’s App. The data transfer is done offline such that no network connectivity is needed making it convenient to work even in the remotest parts of the country.
To learn more about ‘KYZO’, we got in touch with Mr Shankar - Founder & CEO of FRS Labs and these were his responses:
DC: From working for the UK Markets to being the Architect of Kyzo App, How did Kyzo come about? What were some of the major learnings?
Mr Shankar: KYZO was not conceived in a day, nor did it come about as one giant leap; instead it was a series of small innovations that finally led to KYZO being launched on 01 April 2019. We initially developed capturing a KYC compliant face which is now compatible in over 600 mobile devices adjusting for blur, exposure, liveness and then cropping and compressing the image to a prefect photo in about 5 seconds. We followed it up with Optical Character Recognition to automatically extract data from ID cards such as PAN, Aadhaar, Passport, DL and Voter ID and international identity documents. And match the ID images with face images to verify identity. When we were working with clients (large Banks and Insurance companies), it occurred to us that the Clients took too long to integrate our tech into their own Apps. And then there is the cost of maintaining them. This led us to KYZO. We integrated our entire tech and released it as a free App – after all, we are strong proponents of “identity being a public good”. Now all our Clients needed was a QR code and zero integration to collect KYC documents from consumers.
DC: In your view, what are some of the major areas/functions on which Kyzo App can have a major impact? Can you cite some examples?
Mr Shankar: We believe KYZO will impact every aspect of KYC (Know Your Customer) in the future. As an example, if you ask for my identity documents, I either provide you with a paper copy which needs to be digitised later by you to store it in your server or send you a digital copy by taking a picture and sending via social channels such as WhatsApp. Therein lays the issue. Digitising paper documents later is an expensive process and storing your sensitive documents in your Phone gallery provides an open door for other Apps to pry on your sensitive data. Worse still there is no guarantee for the service provider that you have sent these documents with your full consent. And there are no guarantees for the customer that the data shared will not then be re-shared without consent. KYZO changes all of this by making KYC sharing high assurance, secure and totally consent-based method. KYZO documents are shared as digitally signed documents so the service providers can rest assured that the documents are not tampered.
DC: As a creator for Kyzo, what kind of apps or services in other sectors would you like to see Kyzo being leveraged?
Mr Shankar: KYZO can be used in multiple ways – face to face, app to app and app to the web. For instance, sharing your KYC documents with Banks and other regulated entities can happen face to face by scanning the QR code in the Banker’s App which is validated and stored in the core Banking systems (if this is what the regulator wants the Banks to do). Or, you could just scan the QR code at the Hotel lobby to share your identity data as a digitally signed PDF with the Hotel Manager. We foresee that it can be used by governments, individuals, companies, schools, hotels, casinos, car rentals and virtually any place where your ID needs to be shared safely.
DC: Your future vision for Kyzo (which is going to become more important, especially in a paperless world that is being actively pursued by the Government)? What are the sectors (HR, Financial sector) can be transformed using the power of Kyzo?
Mr Shankar: KYZO has the power to transform KYC for citizens across the globe. On the one hand, KYZO will remain a secure vault for consumers to save their Identity documents within the App encrypted. We do not take cloud backups or have personal data going outside the devices putting to rest mass hacks, leaks and privacy concerns. On the other hand, we have made it a zero integration solution for the vast majority of the service providers who are obliged to collect KYC as part of their service. This is a win-win for both consumers and businesses. The future really is to improve the consent layer so that the documents shared by the customer to service providers cannot then be re-shared without the full consent of the customer – this is perhaps not true with all existing methods. There will also be a real-time video verification feature for regulated entities who would like to verify customers through Kyzo, instead of meeting face to face.
DC: How important is Digital KYC for the current digital landscape to evolve?
Mr Shankar: According to World Bank Findex database, over half the worlds populate either do not have a valid identity document or have some form of identity document that cannot be used digitally. And as more and more services are rendered digitally, there is a danger that a new kind of exclusion is created denying essential services such as banking, education, health and welfare for a large sect of people. What we are aiming to do is to close this gap by digitising the physical identity documents so it can be used safely in the digital ecosystem which can then be validated by businesses to accept them.