Merchant acquirers, payment facilitators, and independent sales organizations are focused on dramatically improving onboarding speed. Efficiencies realized are game changers in an increasingly competitive industry. While eliminating steps and lessening the required information may seem like low-hanging fruit, companies must ensure that any changes to their onboarding process also manage fraud risk.

Are you curious how companies create new streamlined onboarding processes that mitigate fraud all while keeping their merchants happy? Let us break it down for you.


Meet James, an underwriter looking to onboard a mattress company.

Over a period of 3 to 5 days, James will

  • Complete a prospect pre-screen
  • Verify merchant identity
  • Check merchant history 
  • Analyze the business model and operations
  • Conduct web searches and review online content
  • Evaluate credit risk, including principal/business investigation

In addition to following the above process, James may have to follow up extensively to receive the required documents from a merchant, further delaying his approvals and taking up precious time. Delays in communication and gaps in data are precisely what can drive the process from 3 to 5 days to several weeks.

If this process sounds complicated and time-consuming…well…it is. Outdated workflows and gaps in information are a few of the reasons the onboarding process is being revolutionized in a manner that will fundamentally change the way new merchants are onboarded. Combining alternative business data with automation will cut the process from multiple days to minutes, if not seconds. For the first time, merchant acquirers, payment facilitators, and independent sales organizations can make real-time decisions, which is expected to increase the number of merchants onboarded significantly. With this type of opportunity on the line, it is easy to see why so many within the industry are trying to up their game by improving their onboarding speed.


Here are the three tips companies follow to improve onboarding speed and minimize fraud.

Tip 1: Eliminate unnecessary steps and systems

Across the last several years, there has been rapid adoption of tools that digitize previously manual processes. Removing people-intensive steps such as manually entering information from a paper application into a system is a no-brainer for those companies looking to speed up their onboarding. In addition, underwriters lose valuable time accessing information from multiple disparate systems. Cutting redundant data sources and consolidating vendors can prevent an underwriter from jumping from system to system while reviewing a single application.

Tip 2: Leverage high-quality alternative data

Incorporating high-quality alternative business data into your onboarding process can lead to more objective decisions and a faster review process. There are now easier ways to integrate alternative business data into your onboarding process and new types of data sets, including proprietary datasets, that create a fuller picture for an underwriter. Examples of high-value alternative business data Verdata provides includes the following:

  • Better principal data 
  • Deep insights on thin-file businesses (i.e., approve more small businesses)
  • Proprietary risk indicators on thin-file businesses (i.e., decline small businesses due to lack of history)

Alternative business data fills critical gaps and ultimately allows companies to evaluate (and underwrite) more merchants by giving underwriters confidence to approve pending applications in their queue. 

Tip 3: Automate as many steps as possible

By automating one or more steps in the onboarding process, companies can more easily validate merchant-supplied data, reduce input errors, and better manage compliance, risk, and underwriting. New solutions, such as Verdata’s Vrisk solution, combine automated workflow with innovative data and scoring, allowing you to say yes to thin-file merchants or merchants without a footprint. For example, you can now obtain KYB, behavioral/regulatory insights, sentiment analysis, principal data, associated businesses, and financial flags on small business entities all in one click or API call. Coupling automation with powerful alternative business data means you can say yes to more merchants and be one step closer to your revenue goals.


Speed and efficiency will remain critical.

Future growth for businesses within the space will rely heavily on increases in volume which makes improving onboarding speed essential. As companies look to make the necessary changes to keep pace, embracing data, shifting processes, and optimizing people will be at the heart of any onboarding improvement strategy. If you are interested in learning more about how you can better embrace automation and alternative business data to decrease your onboarding time while minimizing fraud, contact us at Verdata.