CKYC: The Centralised Gateway to Financial Services

CKYC, standing for Central Know Your Customer, marks a transformative step in streamlining the customer identification process in the financial sector. This centralised repository aids in reducing the redundancy of submitting KYC documents multiple times.

What is CKYC?

Central Know Your Customer, is the strategic initiative by the Indian government to bring about a seamless and standardised process in customer identification across the financial sector. 

It is a centralised depository of KYC records for customers engaging in various financial transactions. Managed by the Central Registry of Securitisation Asset Reconstruction and Security Interest (CERSAI), it eliminates the redundancy of multiple KYC submissions. With the introduction of CKYC, customers can now experience a more direct and hassle-free process when dealing with multiple financial institutions.

Its inception was driven by the need to simplify the KYC process for customers and financial institutions alike. When customers decide to open a bank account, invest in mutual funds , or engage in any financial service requiring KYC compliance, they no longer need to submit their KYC details multiple times.

Instead, once they complete the CKYC process with one financial entity, they receive a unique ID. This ID can then be shared with any other financial entity to access their KYC information, sparing the customer from repeated documentation.

The process is well-designed to ensure security and privacy while providing convenience. Each customer’s KYC data is stored in encrypted form and is accessible only by authorised entities that have been given consent by the customer. This protects the customer’s personal information from unauthorised access and misuse.

How Does it Work?

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how CKYC works:

  1. Initial KYC Completion

    The customer provides the necessary KYC documents to a registered financial institution. This is a one-time process, assuming the customer’s personal information does not change.

  2. KYC Record Creation

    The financial institution then uploads these details to the CKYC directory. The system processes the information, verifies it, and creates a KYC record.

  3. CKYC Number Assignment

    After the KYC record is created and verified, the system assigns a unique CKYC number to the customer. This number is specific to the individual and remains the same throughout, much like an Aadhaar Card number .

  4. Retrieval of Information

    When customers engage with a different financial institution or service that requires KYC, they only need to provide their CKYC number. The new institution can access the customer’s KYC details using this number without needing the customer to resubmit all the documents.

  5. Verification and Activation

    The new financial institution verifies the details from the central KYC system. Once verified, the customer’s new account is activated, and they can begin using financial services immediately.

This streamlined process not only reduces the administrative burden on customers but also on financial institutions.

Types of CKYC Accounts

There are two different types of CKYC accounts:

Normal Accounts

The first category is the Normal Accounts, the standard form of CKYC accounts. These are designed for individuals with all the officially valid documents (OVDs) required under KYC norms. To open a Normal Account, customers must provide comprehensive personal and identification details. 

This includes documents such as a PAN card, proof of address, and a passport-sized photograph. Normal Accounts undergo a thorough verification process, where all the documents provided are meticulously checked for authenticity. Once the verification is successful, customers can freely engage with any financial entity without the need to undergo the KYC process again. 

Simplified Measures Accounts

The second type is the Simplified Measures Accounts. These accounts are intended for individuals who may not have access to a complete set of officially valid documents (OVDs). Often, these are people from lower-income groups or those residing in regions where obtaining such documentation is challenging. 

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The Simplified Measures Accounts require a less stringent set of documents for identity proof. Although the provided details still need to be verified, the process is adjusted to accommodate those who may only have limited documentation. This inclusive approach ensures that more individuals can access financial services, reflecting the inclusive nature of CKYC.

Both account types are pivotal in the CKYC ecosystem, reflecting its dual objectives: streamlining the KYC process while making financial services accessible to a broader segment of the population. 

Benefits of CKYC

The benefits of CKYC include reducing paperwork, a uniform KYC process across all financial sectors, and a one-time verification that can be used multiple times, enhancing the customer experience in financial dealings.

Process of Completing CKYC

Completing a CKYC registration is a structured approach to verifying and storing a customer’s identity details for future financial transactions. It’s designed to be a one-stop process, eliminating the need for repeating the KYC procedure with each new financial service the customer avails.

Step-by-Step CKYC Registration

  1. Form Submission

    The customer begins by filling out a CKYC form. This form captures key personal information, including name, date of birth, address, and contact details. The form must be completed accurately, as this information will be used across various financial platforms.

  2. Document Submission

    Along with the form, the customer needs to submit self-attested copies of their KYC documents. This typically includes proof of identity (like a PAN card), proof of address (such as a utility bill or passport), and recent passport-sized photographs. These documents must be current, valid, and government-issued.

  3. Biometric Verification

    Some financial institutions may also require biometric verification as part of the process. This may involve fingerprint scanning or iris scanning, which adds an extra layer of security.

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  1. Data Upload and Verification

    The financial institution, upon receiving the completed form and documents, uploads the data to the CKYC registry. The registry, managed by CERSAI, then verifies the information against their records for any discrepancies.

  2. CKYC Number Issuance

    After successful verification, the CKYC registry assigns a unique number to the applicant.

  3. Record Maintenance

    The customer’s KYC records are securely maintained in the centralised CKYC system. These records can be accessed by any financial entity that the customer wishes to engage with in the future, provided they have the customer’s consent and the CKYC number.

Documents required for CKYC

Essential documents required for CKYC encompass:

  • A self-attested copy of a PAN card.

  • Proof of address from a list of officially valid documents.

  • Recent passport-sized photographs.

  • Any additional documents mandated by the financial institution.

How to check CKYC status online?

To check CKYC status online, follow these steps:

  • Visit the official CERSAI CKYC portal.

  • Enter the CKYC number or PAN card number.

  • Submit to view the current CKYC status and details.

Difference between normal KYC, eKYC, and CKYC

Understanding the differences between normal KYC, eKYC, and CKYC is crucial for consumers and financial institutions to navigate the regulatory environment of financial services. Each of these processes has its unique features and applications, tailored to suit the evolving needs of the financial industry.

Normal KYC

Normal KYC, or traditional KYC, involves a customer providing identity and address proofs in person or through physical documentation to the financial institution. This process must be repeated with each new financial relationship, leading to duplication of effort and documentation. 

Normal KYC is manual, paper-based, and time-consuming, both for the customer and the financial institution. It requires the physical storage of documents and is prone to operational inefficiencies.

eKYC

eKYC, or electronic KYC, is a digital process that streamlines the KYC procedure by using biometric verification linked to Aadhaar, India’s biometric identity system. It is a paperless, electronic process where the customer’s identity and address are verified electronically through a secure and government-authenticated database. eKYC is faster and more efficient than normal KYC since it can be completed almost instantaneously online, and it has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly due to its paperless nature.

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CKYC

Central Know Your Customer is a step further in digitalising KYC processes. It involves a one-time KYC process where the customer’s data is stored in a centralised repository managed by CERSAI. Once the KYC is completed and the CKYC number is generated, this unique number can be used across various financial platforms, eliminating the need for multiple KYC submissions. 

Comparing the Three

Here is a comparative overview in a tabular format:

Aspect Normal KYC eKYC CKYC

Submission

Physical documents are required for each institution

Electronic verification through Aadhaar

One-time submission, centralised access for all institutions.

Verification Process

Manual checks by the financial institution’s staff.

Automated, instant verification using the Aadhaar database.

One-time verification, reused with CKYC number.

Convenience

Time-consuming and repetitive.

Quick and efficient, no physical documentation.

Highly convenient, with no repetition after the initial process.

Security

Subject to physical handling and storage risks.

Secure, linked to Aadhaar, but dependent on biometric accuracy.

Secure and centralised, with access controlled by CERSAI.

Conclusion

CKYC represents a significant leap forward in the financial industry, offering a simplified and uniform KYC process. It underscores the shift towards more customer-centric and efficient regulatory processes, enabling a smoother and more secure entry into the financial mainstream.



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