How Long Do Anti-Money Laundering Checks Take?



Whenever a client wants to buy property, get legal advice or apply for credit or a loan, anti-money-laundering checks must be carried out. As methods of determining anti-money laundering are becoming more sophisticated, so are attempts to avoid detection, which means that the amount of time these checks take to complete varies from person to person.

With people expecting more for the services they pay for, are we in a position where clients' expectations outweigh the certainty that firms need when adhering to high levels of due diligence? Or is there a solution where both firm and client benefit? 

We have previously discussed Anti-Money-Laundering checks and why they are important here.

How long do money laundering checks take?

There is no definitive answer to this question as several factors can affect this if we consider the process as a whole. As a firm, you would require your clients to provide information such as their name, date of birth, where they work, and many documents such as a passport or driver's licence to prove their identity and utility bills as proof of address, as well as a bank statement if they were buying a property.

Then, when all the documentation is collected, third-party software is often used, and the prospective client is taken through the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money-Laundering (AML) checks. Not only do these checks verify a client's identity, but their financial situation includes bank statements and transactions directly from the source. You can find out more about how to verify someone's identity here.

In many instances, further checks will be required, especially when clients need to prove their income or provide proof of funds when applying for a mortgage or buying a property. This is all part of the compliance and due diligence process all firms must follow, and as a result, these checks are not optional for clients but a requirement to detect and prevent criminal activity.

As you can see, with many factors to consider, this entire process can take anywhere from 1 day to 1 week, depending on how quickly and accurately both firm and client collect and provide information and if any additional measures need to be taken, as well as the process and software used to detect fraud or verify. This takes much time, and the process is costly to firms.

How can technology speed up the anti-money laundering process?

There has been colossal advancement and investment into LegalTech Solutions in the past five years. Software designed around compliance and different levels of due diligence aimed to reduce risk, save time and money and deliver a great user experience to clients. LegalTech software in the KYC and AML space has been specifically designed to be quick without compromise, and with the introduction of open banking as an aid to AML, not only is it faster, but it has been more effective at identifying fraud and suspicious activity than it ever before. Meaning tech Solutions that were once nice to have are becoming necessary.

Decrease risk, cost and time and increase customer retention and fraud detection. LegalTech Solutions will elevate firms to modern standards taking the time it takes to perform Know Your Client (KYC) and Anti Money-Laundering (AML) checks from days to hours, with checks taking anywhere from minutes to 1-3 hours to complete, start to finish. 

Do clients expect more from law firms?

When applying for a bank account or credit, most of the same checks are made when seeking legal advice. And all the same regulations and due diligence are followed. Customers and clients expect fast and instant results and easy-to-use systems that take minutes to complete; why should applying for legal advice be any different? And clients now feel that way. 

More and more firms are adopting technology that automates the AML and KYC process while delivering great user experiences, and firms risk being left behind if they don't embrace it. 

With clear evidence of reduced overheads and increased customer retention, the question is no longer should you invest, but what will you invest in?

Finding the right tech solution for your law firm

When it comes to KYC and AML, there are many options to choose from, ones that cater for all levels of due diligence, from bespoke made-to-fit solutions to one size fits all, and with that variety comes a variety of costs also. A firm's budget will undoubtedly be the most significant barrier, but with solutions that are pay-as-you-go where the cost can be passed onto clients, there's a use case for near every solution.

Now has never been a better time to evaluate manual processes within the firm and look at the adoption of automated software quicker, cheaper, and safer than the current process. Following regulations and remaining due diligence is no longer a challenge with software specifically designed to adhere to the highest levels possible. 

You can find out how Validient can help your firm today by booking a demo with us! 


The time it takes to go through Anti Money-Laundering (AML) checks can take some time, especially when collecting and verifying the documents and information is all done manually for both the client and the firm. But automating the process can speed up this process; it's compliant and follows the highest levels of due diligence. It also provides a great user experience for a client, meaning customer retention increases. And with software starting at that you only pay for when you use it, investing in a tech solution will be one of the best investments a firm can make. Now is the time to invest in reducing the time from days to hours, reducing the cost and overheads of the current manual process, and keeping clients happy.

See how we at Validient can help you automate your process today, save time and money and leave clients feeling happier with the service they get.

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