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Monitoring financial crime services: Avoiding excessive bureau fees

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Financial crime damages the trust and stability that the economy relies on. As criminals use more advanced technology, there's a bigger need for smart and quick action—extending far beyond regulatory adherence.

And that’s where the bureaux come in. 

Bureaux play a key role—using powerful tools to analyse data and spot risks before crime occurs. They provide advanced solutions and data sets that allow credit providers to stay ahead of innovation and ahead of attacks. Ultimately, bureaux help protect banks and their customers by catching complex fraud as quickly as possible.

Yet, while bureaux provide invaluable services, it's important to make sure they work fairly and transparently, using data in a right and ethical way—charging fair prices. That’s why in this blog, we’re looking into how to monitor financial crime without paying excessive bureau fees. 👇

Safeguarding trust: Why vigilance is a must-have 

Open banking is poised to unlock a thriving new market valued at over $135 billion globally. At the forefront lies the UK and EU, where open banking adoption is surging. Recent projections indicate over 60% of UK consumers may embrace open banking solutions by the end of next year.

As acceptance continues gaining momentum, the open banking landscape appears ripe for innovation and strategic partnerships to deliver the next generation of financial services. But, while new technology makes things more convenient, it also opens up new ways for criminals – unless we stay alert.

Why bureau data is essential for fraud prevention

By leveraging advanced data analytics, machine learning algorithms, and pattern recognition techniques, bureaux can sift through millions of transactions to spot anomalies that may indicate fraudulent behaviour. This includes unusual transaction patterns, inconsistencies in credit applications, and any activities that deviate from the norm. 

By flagging these anomalies, bureau services are key to alerting credit providers of potential threats – enabling them to take preemptive action.

While it’s undeniable that bureau data protects credit providers, it can be more costly than necessary…

Balancing security with costs: A look into excessive fees 

High recurring fees can burden banks and especially smaller institutions with thin margins. Yet scaling back services to ease expenses may expose vulnerabilities that criminals exploit. This creates a tension between efficiency and security.

So, how can credit providers maximise risk insights per pound? Part of the equation relies on bargaining collectively for better bureau pricing. But part may come through prioritising highest-risk areas for monitoring services rather than comprehensive oversight. 

Strategies for monitoring bureau services

Effective monitoring of bureau services is crucial for ensuring that the costs deliver proportional crime prevention benefits.

Here are several strategies that can enhance the monitoring process, emphasising the importance of transparency and accountability in service provision:

#1. Regular performance reviews

Credit providers should conduct regular reviews of bureau services to assess their performance against agreed benchmarks and objectives. This involves analysing the accuracy and relevance of the data provided, the effectiveness of fraud detection tools, and the overall impact on credit risk management. 

These reviews help identify improvement areas and ensure that the services align with the credit provider’s needs.

#2. Cost-benefit analysis

A thorough cost-benefit analysis is essential for understanding the value derived from bureau services. This analysis should consider not only the direct cost of the services but also the indirect benefits – like improved fraud detection rates, reduced instances of financial crime, and enhanced customer trust.

By quantifying these benefits, credit providers can make informed decisions about the continuation or adjustment of services. 

#3. Benchmarking against industry standards

Comparing the costs and outcomes of bureau services against industry benchmarks can provide valuable insights into their efficiency and competitiveness.

This strategy involves gathering data on similar services provided to other institutions and using this information to negotiate better terms or identify more cost-effective solutions.

#4. Transparency and accountability

Ensuring transparency and accountability from bureau service providers is fundamental. This means demanding clear, detailed reporting on service outcomes, fee structures, and any additional charges.  

Transparency allows for better financial planning and accountability, ensuring that services meet their promised deliverables.

#5. Leveraging technology for in-house analysis

Investing in technological solutions for in-house analysis can complement bureau services and potentially reduce dependency on external providers.

By developing or adopting advanced analytics and fraud detection tools, institutions can enhance their monitoring capabilities and gain a more nuanced understanding of their risk profile. 

💡 Alternatively, you could consider multi-bureau. [It’s not pricey, like you may think].  

Key takeaway: By prioritising transparency and accountability, credit providers can ensure that their investment in bureau services is both effective and efficient – ultimately supporting their mission to combat financial crime and manage risk effectively.

Negotiating better deals

Negotiating better deals with the bureaux is essential for those aiming to balance cost-efficiency with high-quality service. 

Here are practical tips to achieve favourable terms – without compromising service quality.

✅️ Understand your needs: Before entering negotiations, clearly define what you need from the bureau services. Identify key services that add value to your fraud prevention and credit risk management strategies. This understanding will enable you to focus negotiations on essential services and avoid paying for unnecessary features. 

✅️Market research: Conduct thorough market research to understand the pricing and service offerings of different bureau providers. This knowledge will empower you with alternative options and strengthen your position during negotiations, making it easier to secure competitive rates. 

✅️Ask for transparency: Demand clear, transparent pricing structures from providers. This includes a breakdown of all fees, any potential additional costs, and the specific services included in those costs. Transparency ensures there are no hidden charges and facilitates easier comparison with other providers.

✅️Negotiate trial periods: Request trial periods for new services to assess their value before committing to long-term contracts. This approach allows you to evaluate the service's effectiveness and negotiate adjustments based on performance.

✅️Seek flexible terms: Aim for contracts that offer flexibility, such as the ability to scale services up or down based on your institution's changing needs. This flexibility can lead to cost savings and ensures the services remain aligned with your requirements. 

By adopting these strategies, financial institutions can negotiate better deals that ensure cost-effectiveness – without sacrificing the quality of bureau services.

Key takeaways

Ultimately, financial crime prevention is about striking the right balance between price and performance, ensuring that you remain protected against financial crime while managing costs effectively. 

Bureau services are essential here; offering advanced analytics and data to detect and mitigate risks effectively. But to prevent high costs impacting crime prevention strategies – and customers – regular reviews and cost-benefit analysis allow you to gain valuable bureau services, without compromising on quality.

And as digital banking evolves, credit providers and bureau services can work together to protect customers – all while balancing cost, effectiveness, and access to ensure robust financial crime prevention.





This content is provided by an external author without editing by Finextra. It expresses the views and opinions of the author.

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