Data driven insight at Vocalink

We interviewed Marc Corbalan from Vocalink about AML Insights: data driven innovation that delivers real benefits to customers.

AML Insights (Anti Money Laundering Insights) from Vocalink won the Rising Star Award at Market Gravity's Corporate Entrepreneur Awards in November 2018 - a proven concept with the potential to make a significant impact.

So who are Vocalink?

  • Vocalink are a Mastercard company, acquired by them last year
  • They operate payments infrastructure between banks in the UK, processing 12 billion payments per year
  • Those payments are highly structured. High volume, high structure payments react well to advanced data science treatments such as machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • 4 years ago, Vocalink created a company which creates products out of the analysis of this data for banking clients , UK consumers and other businesses

AML Insights is one of the most successful products that Vocalink has created. Fraud is a huge problem in the UK, with money launderers typically transferring sums to one account and then quickly breaking that sum down through multiple transfers to different accounts, with different banks. This process is then repeated by the secondary accounts to make tracking the money incredibly difficult. Fraud figures in the UK are very high: in the first half of 2018 the total value scammed from people was £145 million.

What does AML Insights do, and how does it work?

  • AML Insights is a network product - enabling suspicious payments to be traced, even if the payment is split between multiple accounts and across different banks.
  • The product creates a visual map of when and where the money has moved, and is also able to pinpoint individual accounts known as 'money mule' accounts, which are used to transfer stolen funds.
  • This works to disrupt the networks by which fraudulent money is being dispersed. Making fraud more difficult therefore acts as a disincentive.
  • The tool can reduce the amount of time that fraud analysts spend looking at accounts by adding flags to those suspicious accounts. Contrary to perception, this has actually caused fraud teams to expand, because they have more information available to them.

"The majority of banks are competitive. Fraud teams see collaboration as the way to raise the bar. That uniqueness of banks collaborating with each other through fraud has created a good environment for us to work together. "
Marc Corbalan, Vocalink

How did Vocalink test AML Insights?

  • AML Insights invited anti fraud teams to the data lab, matching them with payments experts, data science and products experts
  • Extensively piloted the technology with real (offline) data
  • Presented the results to banks and waited for their approval before applying it to the live data
  • Used a feedback loop: the algorithm finds the accounts that it thinks are suspicious, these are then assessed by a fraud analyst. Through that feedback loop, the system becomes more and more accurate.

AML Insights is a world-first product and has attracted a lot of attention with other countries and other markets. They're currently working to see how they can deliver this technology to those businesses and customers.

If you'd like to learn more about Vocalink, or AML Insights, take a look at their website here

To listen to our dulcet tones on the podcast, you can find us on all the podcasting apps, or here