June 18, 2024

Introducing Plaid Layer: The future of secure instant financial experiences

Alain Meier

Alain Meier
Head of Identity, Plaid

Alain spent his career building identity and anti-fraud products. Now he’s on a path to lower fraud at scale for the digital finance ecosystem.

When Plaid was founded, financial services were still designed for a world that had never envisioned the Internet. Almost anything is possible online today—from streaming the latest blockbusters to one-click grocery delivery. These instantaneous, simple experiences are the guiding principle behind Layer. We built Layer to meet modern consumer expectations and bring them to financial services.

Today, we’re excited to introduce Layer, a new platform for secure, instant experiences that transforms how people use financial services—starting with onboarding. 

Layer helps you satisfy KYC requirements, link bank accounts, and onboard tens of millions of people who have saved their information with Plaid—just by collecting a phone number. Layer reduces the time it takes for someone to sign up for an app by nearly 90% by unifying identity verification and bank account linking into one secure experience.

The internet’s fastest, highest converting onboarding experience 

Tens of millions of people who have opted in to be remembered by Plaid can now complete onboarding to apply for a loan, fund their accounts, and pay a friend—in just a few taps. For Plaid customers, Layer improves conversion by providing all the trusted, consumer-permissioned information needed to onboard a user, just by asking for their phone number. 

Companies like Possible Finance and Empower are already seeing better user experiences and conversion improvements.

High security, low friction 

Layer combines our expertise building anti-fraud and KYC solutions with industry-leading security practices. We dynamically authenticate a user every time they sign up for a new app using next-generation methods such as silent network authentication and passkeys. Layer incorporates real-time risk analysis with device identification and mobile carrier checks to combat SIM swap/port-out attacks and other threats.

Built to ensure an improved UX

We know user experience is extremely important. That’s why Layer is only shown when we’re confident we can enhance a user’s experience. 

When a customer collects and shares a user’s phone number, we’ll check if 1) they exist in the Plaid network and 2) their saved information with Plaid meets your onboarding needs with our new eligibility API. Only when both things are true, Layer is presented to the user. 

This ensures users never share more information than needed and companies receive exactly the information needed to fully onboard a customer. Users who don’t meet your onboarding requirements go through your existing onboarding flow without any latency.

Customizable to your unique onboarding needs 

Every company has unique requirements for onboarding. Most companies need a name, address, email, birthdate, and Social Security Number in order to verify identity. Some companies only require a subset of that identity information and a bank account. Layer dynamically adjusts to your onboarding preferences by allowing you to define what information is required, optional, or not needed.

Consumer-permissioned, KYC-grade financial identity 

Layer helps you satisfy customer identification program (CIP) requirements and link a user’s bank account in one seamless experience. Users are presented with their complete financial identity and previously linked bank accounts they chose to save securely with Plaid. They can review, update, and submit their saved identity information for verification—using Plaid Identity Verification or your existing KYC process. 

Just like with their identity information, users can choose from previously linked bank accounts that they want to connect or link a new account. Depending on the financial institution, users will link their accounts in one-click or be seamlessly redirected to their institution’s login before completing the onboarding process. Users always maintain full control over their information saved with Plaid. People can easily manage their information through Plaid Portal and contact Plaid’s consumer support team.

Unlocking more secure, instant experiences 

Layer fundamentally reimagines how people interact with financial services - starting with onboarding on iOS, Android, and desktop. It is now available to all Plaid customers beginning today. 

Later this year, we’ll share more about how Layer can help you unlock instant resident screenings, bank payments and much more.