We are pleased to share our fresh interview with Povilas Steikūnas , Head of Partnerships at Ondato, to discuss the evolving landscape of KYC and AML compliance. In this interview, Steikūnas dives into how Ondato's solutions are helping businesses not only meet regulatory requirements but also unlock strategic value through frictionless onboarding, AI-powered verification, and a focus on user experience.


Business and market trends:

Beyond streamlining compliance, how does Ondato help businesses unlock strategic value from KYC processes?

"Well, the simple answer is fraud prevention, which involves verifying the real identities of customers. Additionally, Ondato can easily adapt to the needs of our clients. We understand how important user experience is and are committed to improving it with various onboarding solutions, record-keeping tools, and up-to-date information to ensure the clients of our customers aren't bothered by the compliance side and our clients themselves can take care of it as easily as possible. This also helps save on KYC costs."



In your view, what are the top regulatory trends driving innovation in the KYC space?

"Right now, the answer is quite simple - AI. It's all anyone can talk about. How will it evolve and change the game, and what are its capabilities? It's certainly driving innovation. That's not all, though. When we talk to our clients, what they really want is simplicity without sacrificing security. People don't want to stand in line at the bank to open an account anymore, while said banks don't want to spend months integrating new systems. So that's what drives us and our competitors - finding the middle ground. Providing simple yet robust solutions that make everyone happy. 

Along with AI, there are more mundane things driving innovation. For example, KYC isn't the only one our clients turn to. Quick and efficient KYB verification is just as necessary and just as in demand."


How is Ondato adapting its solutions to accommodate the growing demand for frictionless onboarding experiences while maintaining robust verification?

"We can achieve this with AI and machine learning, which help simplify the processes without compromising security. Our solutions allow companies to implement a risk-based approach, which helps them make informed decisions on when to use more complicated steps and when simpler tools are enough."


What role does artificial intelligence play in the future of KYC, and how is Ondato preparing for its integration?

"There's no need to look at the future. Artificial intelligence already plays a big role in KYC, both in its application and the fraud it tries to deter. We talk a lot about how much easier fraud has become with AI, but the truth is that securing AML and KYC processes has also become easier. It's a fight fire with fire sort of thing - the more advanced fraud becomes, the more advanced our systems become." 


The challenges and future of KYC:

What are the biggest challenges financial institutions face when it comes to managing KYC effectively?

"In our experience, many financial institutions still use outdated methods to manage KYC and shy away from new system integration. But the truth is simple, manual methods are no longer enough and if they want to keep up, they have to invest in digital KYC processes."


How does Ondato address the increasing complexity of verifying identities across different geographical regions and regulatory frameworks?

"The different regulations are exactly why we offer the biggest number of solutions and tools, we're always ready to match the needs of our clients and do everything in our power to help them adhere to jurisdictional regulations. 

We also communicate with our clients, monitor any jurisdictional changes to regulations and simply adapt. Since we're dedicated to providing the best service for our clients, there's never been a question as to what we should do, simply how we can accommodate these regulations as soon as possible."


With the rise of biometric authentication, what are your thoughts on its potential impact on traditional KYC methods?

"Traditional KYC is no longer enough and has stopped being the norm. Companies still relying on traditional methods are trailing behind and losing potential clients. That's not going to change, we're not going to return to a less convenient, less secure and more expensive method. Slowly, digital KYC will phase out traditional KYC, and the industry needs to be prepared for it."



How can businesses leverage Ondato's solutions to mitigate the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing?

"Fraud prevention starts with how accurate your KYC process is. A robust and efficient process lets companies react to risk in time and implement preventative measures. At Ondato, we provide our clients with life-cycle management, which means we do more than help you onboard users. Any change in their status, any hint of suspicious activity - everything that helps you make informed decisions on your clients - is monitored."


How will the "Know Your Customer" concept evolve in the coming years, and how is Ondato preparing for these changes?

"It's hard to say how KYC will evolve because it evolves constantly. We run into new challenges, and we find new solutions. Think of deepfakes, for example, just five years ago, they were so new that companies akin Ondato were trying to figure out how to deal with them. Now, we're fully equipped to recognise them. 

There's talk of digital passports now and it's hard to say how they will affect KYC processes as of yet, just that they will. We could talk about how much more prevalent electronic KYC will become, but we've been discussing it for years simply because it's inevitable. New challenges will come, and we will adapt. That's how it's always been."


Bonus Question:

Ondato emphasizes turning compliance into a business benefit. Can you share a specific example of how your solutions have helped a client achieve this?

"Let's look at Luminor - one of the biggest banks in the Baltics. They've turned to us both for KYB and KYC, but let's look at KYC specifically. Luminor wanted the most secure onboarding solution without losing human connection in the digital age, and we were able to provide that. With our AI-backed video-based verification, Luminor employees can not only help their clients through verification but also stay connected to them and ask and answer any additional questions while ensuring the highest level of security. That's what Ondato does. We find the best solutions for our clients and ensure that it's never just about the regulations - customer experience matters just as much."