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The Future is Fintech: How Document Redaction Enhances Customer Trust

By Nikki Manthey | 2023 Dec 15

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6 min

Summary: Open banking and fintech companies are transforming the financial sector. Discover how secure document redaction technology can enhance customer trust in the digital age, and learn what features you should be looking for when choosing redaction tools.

 

The financial sector is undergoing a transformation. Long gone are the days when customer data was siloed in shiny skyscrapers and accessed by only one institution. Now, in the era of open banking and fintech, customers have complete control of their own data – and they can choose to share it with whichever businesses and third parties they like. Or not.

Customers may get the final say on who can access their personal information, but the responsibility for protecting that information still falls to financial institutions. In a recent article, we explored the balancing act between data privacy and product personalization in open banking. To sum it up, customers want the best of both worlds. They want the freedom to share information so they can receive customized services, and an ironclad assurance that their data is being kept secure.

The majority of open banking best practices center around preserving privacy and maintaining customer trust. This blog post dives deeper into one of those best practices: redaction.

Read on to learn how secure document redaction enhances customer trust in the financial sector.

The What and Why of Secure Document Redaction

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In its simplest form, redaction is the process of identifying and removing sensitive information in a document. The idea isn’t to make the document useless, though – it’s about preventing unauthorized access to protected personal data while ensuring the document still conveys important information. Redaction enables documents with sensitive info to be safely distributed to a wider audience for a specific purpose.

Before the computer age, redaction was done manually with paint, tape, or black markers. Despite the advances in redaction technology, it can be tempting to quickly pass a Sharpie over a document out of convenience. However, we don’t recommend this method. Sony recently experienced a breach of confidential financial data due to documents that had been redacted with a marker. Long story short, Sharpies and scanners don’t mix.

The finance sector handles all kinds of documents with personal info, including financial statements, mortgage and loan applications, transaction records, and securities forms. Secure and permanent redaction is a foundational method for protecting confidential customer data and remaining compliant with regulations like GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation).

Learn more about PDF redaction in our Ultimate Redaction Guide.

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Compliance and Customer Trust: A Successful Combination

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The first step in enhancing customer trust is to, well, avoid doing anything illegal or non-compliant. Although with 137 countries having some form of data protection legislation in place and new fintech solutions coming to the marketplace at speeds that tend to move faster than legislation, this is actually more of a challenge than it might seem.

No matter where you are in the world, ensuring financial document compliance is key to credibility and trust. To ensure documents stay compliant, it’s also essential to have redaction technology that’s flexible enough to keep up with the evolving regulatory landscape. The Apryse WebViewer SDK provides regex-based (regular expression-based) redaction. This enables you to automatically identify and redact personal information like credit card numbers, addresses, names, and more across a high volume of documents.

If the compliance rules change, all you have to do is define an additional custom pattern for the specific content you need to redact. This helps protect customer data quickly and effectively.

For more in-depth technical details about regex-based redaction, check out our developer documentation.

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Redaction is inextricably linked to data privacy. Protecting financial data is the legal and ethical thing to do. However, transparent communication is what publicly demonstrates a commitment to customer privacy and helps build brand credibility in an increasingly competitive market. Here are some communication best practices:

  • Provide data details: Let customers know exactly what type of personal data you’ll collect, how you’ll use it, how long you’re going to store it, how you’ll maintain compliance, and how you’re going to protect it (for example, through document redaction).
  • Make your privacy policy clear and concise: Customers need to know what steps financial institutions are taking to protect their data. However, they probably don’t want to sift through a 100-page document of legal jargon. Use simple terms, ensure your policy document is accessible and easy to find, and update it regularly.
  • Proactively communicate changes: Privacy policies evolve over time. Let customers know about any upcoming changes so they can make an informed decision about whether they’d like to continue sharing data.
  • Always get consent: Financial institutions can only use or share personal data with third parties if the customer has given explicit consent. This can be gained with tools like a consent management platform or preference center. Remember, customers can also revoke consent and request data deletion at any time.
  • Honesty is the best policy: Be as transparent and responsive as possible. Immediately notify customers if there’s been a data breach or incident. It’s also important to communicate regularly, answer questions and address any complaints quickly, and seek out feedback.

How to Choose Trustworthy Document Redaction Technology

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Redaction technology has come a long way since the “marker and tape” days. But not all redaction tools are created equally. If you’re looking for secure solutions to enhance customer trust, here are a few features to keep in mind.

Permanent Redaction

Placing a black rectangle over sensitive text or images in a PDF only adds an extra layer over what you’re trying to redact. This layer can easily be removed, so it’s not secure. The Apryse WebViewer redaction tool completely and permanently removes the data. When it’s gone, it’s gone for good. (And it’s still as easy as drawing a rectangle.)

What About the Metadata?

In addition to the content you can see, documents can also have metadata like timestamps, revision history, and author names. This metadata could potentially contain sensitive details that shouldn’t be shared with unauthorized users. Apryse’s redaction tools permanently remove both visible data and the metadata, which enhances document security.

Automation

Time is money in the finance sector. Using the WebViewer SDK to automate redaction workflows means sensitive information can quickly be redacted across a high volume of documents or repositories. This enables you to protect a large amount of customer data faster and with fewer resources.

Support for Different Document Formats

Legacy documents and formats can be a lingering challenge for financial institutions. Apryse WebViewer supports automated redaction for over 30 different document types, including PDFs, Microsoft Office files, and more. When it comes to security and redaction, leave no document behind.

Learn how some of Apryse’s redaction features work in this video:

To learn more about other Apryse solutions for the fintech industry, visit our blog.

Put Document Redaction into Action

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As the finance sector’s digital transformation continues, secure document redaction technology can help keep personal data protected, mitigate breaches, and demonstrate your commitment to customer privacy.

Discover how easy it can be to use redaction tools in our showcase. Ready to add these capabilities to your document workflows? Start a free trial today or get in touch with us if you’d like to speak to a real human.

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Nikki Manthey

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