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# Types of identity verification lookups
Signicat offers two Espress identity verification APIs (opens new window), which are used for two different types of lookups:
- Information API: Retrieve information about a customer or perform a one-time verification of the information they have provided. For example, you can confirm their address and business name, or find out whether they are a politically exposed person (PEP). To see the available endpoints and response samples, go to the API reference.
- Person monitoring API: Receive periodic updates of changes to an individual's identifying data. If, for instance, a customer's address changes, you will be alerted. To see the available endpoints and response samples, go to the API documentation.
These services can be used to look up both natural persons and organisations.
# Data coverage: Information API
The following tables show which attributes and countries are available for lookups. Note that each attribute corresponds to an endpoint in the APIs where it is available. Click the table headers for more information about each endpoint.
# Natural persons
|Basic information||Account holder||Address verification||Finance||Screening||Search (beta)|
|Basic information||Ownership||Ultimate Beneficiary Owner (UBO)||Roles||Authorisations||Screening||Search (beta)||Finance||Account holder|
# Data about natural persons
# Account holder (person)
This endpoint allows you to verify if a specific bank account exists and if the name of its owner matches the name you provide. Bank account numbers must be provided using the IBAN format.
# Address verification
This endpoint can be used to verify a natural person's address. Unlike the Address endpoint, it does not return the person's address, it just returns a value (true or false) to confirm that a given person is registered at that address you have provided in the API request. Therefore, this endpoint can only be used if you already know someone's address and just need to verify it.
# Basic information (person)
This endpoint contains standard information like name, address, birth information, and nationality.
This endpoint can be used to retrieve financial information about a person. For example, their credit score and information about their income and wealth.
# Screening (person)
This endpoint provides information about whether the person in question is a PEP (politically exposed person) or on a sanction list.
A politically exposed person is someone who has a prominent public function and, thus, presents a higher risk of involvement in, for example, bribery or corruption. Family members or close associates of such people are also considered PEPs. It is important to be aware of the PEP status of one's customers in order to apply any precautions that may be necessary.
Sanction lists are lists created by one or more countries or public bodies to apply commercial or financial penalties to individuals, groups, or entire countries. For example, the EU has sanctions which involve freezing the funds and economic resources of specific natural persons and organisations. In order to observe these restrictions properly, it is important to check that your customers are not included in any sanction lists.
Signicat currently covers the following standard sanction lists:
- EU Consolidated list of persons, groups, and entities subject to EU financial sanctions.
- UN consolidated
- OFAC Specially Designated Nationals
- HM Treasury - consolidated list of financial sanctions
Optionally, local national sanction lists can be enabled on request.
- The Acuris C6 global PEP list
- PEP Edge (detailed coverage of Nordic PEPs, where Trapets (opens new window) is the editor)
# Search (person)
This endpoint is in beta. Its functionality is subject to change without prior notice.
With the search endpoint, you can search for a person using several parameters, such as name and date of birth, in order to find out their ID number.
# Data about organisations
# Account holder (organisation)
This endpoint allows you to verify if a specific bank account exists and if the name of its owner matches the company name you provide. Bank account numbers must be provided using the IBAN format.
# Basic information (organisation)
This endpoint provides standard information like trade names, address, organisation type, legal status, and industry sector.
This endpoint provides information about who the owners of an organisation are. Owners of an organisation can be natural persons or other organisations.
This endpoint provides information about the Ultimate Beneficiary Owner of an organisation (UBO). UBO is a term that is used to describe the natural person who is the ultimate effective owner of an organisation, even if that person is not a direct owner of that organisation. For example, imagine a case where the company you need more information about is owned by another company, which is owned by a natural person. This UBO wouldn't appear in the ownership attribute, since they are not a direct owner of the company. Establishing the UBO can be very cumbersome, especially when ownership is distributed over different countries or passes countries like Liechtenstein or Bermuda.
As defined by the 4th EU AML directive (opens new window), a UBO is any natural person who, directly or indirectly:
- holds at least 25% plus one share of the share capital, or
- exercises at least 25% of the voting rights, or
- is the beneficiary of at least 25% of the legal entity's capital
Note that this definition has been simplified and you should review the directive if you want to know more. Note also that each country may define even lower thresholds according to which a natural person can be considered a UBO, so it is always important to review the domestic laws applicable.
# Key terms
This section summarises some terms related to UBO that are used in the Information API.
- direct ownership: This is the simplest ownership model. A person or entity is considered a direct owner of an organisation if they do not own it through another entity.
- indirect ownership: A person or entity is considered an indirect owner of an organisation if they own an entity which, in turn, owns the organisation we are interested in. For instance, if John owns (or partially owns) Company A, and Company A is a direct owner of Company Z, that makes John an indirect owner of Company Z as well. Indirect ownership can have one or multiple paths: extending our example above, if John also owns a second company, Company B, and this entity is a part-owner of Company Z, that makes John the indirect owner of Company Z through two different paths. This will also affect how the indirect ownership percentage is calculated.
- integrated ownership: The sum of direct and indirect ownership a person or other entity has in a specific company (source: T-rank (opens new window))
- voting rights: Rights granted to a person or entity in connection with how many shares they own in an organisation. There typically is a direct correlation between shares owned and voting rights: if John owns 20% of the shares of Company A, his vote is worth 20%. However, note that voting rights can be restricted or expanded by using different types of shares (share classes). For example, one could define share classes which only give the right to receive financial returns on the investment, but without the right to vote at the shareholder's assembly.
- voting power: A part-owner of an organisation can have more or less voting power based on how much they can impact a vote in different scenarios. Voting power is not directly correlated to shares owned (when those shares give the right to vote at the shareholder's assembly). For example, consider an organisation with three shareholders, two of which hold 49.5% of the shares each, with the third one, Natalie, holding only 1% of the shares. In any voting scenario in which the other two shareholders don't agree, Natalie will always sway the vote, which gives her a voting power of 50%.
# Related links
The following links might be useful if you want to learn more about how different ownership models are calculated.
- Exploring integrated ownership: direct, indirect and multiple-path (opens new window), by Bureau Van Dijk.
- Integrated Ownership Calculation (opens new window) (pdf), by T-rank.
- The Power Score (opens new window) (pdf), by Bureau Van Dijk.
This endpoint provides the personal details of natural persons who have a registered role in an organisation. This includes board members and daily management.
These endpoints tell you about persons or organisations ("signees") who have been authorised to act on behalf of the organisation on a certain matter ("mandate"). We identify 2 different types of authorisations:
- Signing rights, covering people with authorisation to sign and to act on behalf of the business in all matters.
- Power of procuration, people with the authorisation to sign and to act on behalf of the business in specific, limited matters.
For both types of authorisations, we try to generate all possible combinations of required persons to achieve a certain mandate. This makes it easy for you to do automatic checks on mandates. You could for example automatically check the validity of a signed document by checking the signees with the list we provide (for the applicable mandate). If we cannot establish the possible combinations of persons (for a specific mandate), we will inform you about the mandates of individual signees.
- For Swedish organisations with business type Aktiebolag (limited company), if the company only consists of one board member and one deputy board member - this is the minimum requirement for a limited company - the only board member has the right to sign himself for the company. Visit the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket) (opens new window) website for more details.
This endpoint tells you if the organisation is mentioned on any sanction lists. Sanction lists are lists created by one or more countries to apply commercial or financial penalties to individuals, groups, or entire countries. For example, the EU has sanctions which involve freezing the funds and economic resources of specific natural persons and organisations. In order to observe these restrictions properly, it is important to check that your customers are not included in any sanction lists.
# Finance (organisation)
This endpoint allows you to retrieve some financial information about an organisation. This includes information such as their credit rating, yearly profit / turnover figures.
This endpoint is in beta. Its functionality is subject to change without prior notice.
With the search endpoint, you can search for an organisation by name, in order to find out their organisation number.
# About the
id parameter in organisation endpoints
Most organisation endpoints in the Information API have two required path parameters:
id. These parameters serve to narrow down the organisation that you want to obtain information about. There is only one way to use the
country parameter (by entering an ISO 3166-1 country code), but several in the case of
There are three different types of IDs that can be used to identify an organisation:
organization: the ID of the organisation as stated in the relevant national registry. This is the default option. Not always unique.
tax: the tax ID of the organisation as stated in the relevant tax registry. For example, EIN in the US.
external: the ID assigned to the organisation by the source that provides organisational information. Always unique.
You can specify which type of ID you want to use in your request with the
idType query parameter. In some cases, you can skip this and let the API use the default option (
organization). You can use the default option if the organisation is registered in a country where organisation numbers are unique, such as Norway or Sweden. In countries where organisation numbers are not unique, like the US or Germany, you could get multiple hits when you try to use the organisation number. If this happens, we suggest using the tax ID or external ID as an alternative. An example of an external ID is the DUNS number (assigned by Dun & Bradstreet) or the BvD ID (assigned by Bureau van Dijk).
# How to look up organisations using a tax or external ID
If you can't use an organisational ID, you can find out a company's tax ID or external ID with the Search endpoint of the Information API. Therefore, there are two main steps:
- Use the Search endpoint to find the company you are interested in. Extract the
taxNumberfrom the response.
- Use the extracted ID on any of the other organisation endpoints to find the information you want.
What follows is an example of how to find the ultimate beneficial owners of a fictional German company called Nunstück GmbH. Note that all information used here is fictional.
- Use the Search endpoint to find the company you are interested in. It helps to use several parameters to refine your search. For our example, we enter
countries. If you know the organisation number, it helps to use it here (in the
idparameter). Even though it isn't unique, using it together with the name increases the likelihood of getting a single result in the response.
- Review the API response. If there are several results, identify the company you're interested in based on the
dataof each result.
- Find Nunstück's
dataarray of the response. For this example, we use the external ID.
- Use the Ultimate beneficial owners endpoint to find out the information you need. Enter
country, the external ID obtained in the previous step as the
The response will contain information about the ultimate beneficial owners of Nunstück GmbH.
The screenshots below show two examples of how to use the