Licensing our granular industry data for KYC

Understanding what your customers and prospects do is essential for compliance and operational reasons. Identifying precisely what a business does and how many people it employs is as important as its credit rating.

Traditional reliance on Companies House data ignored its fallibility when identifying a business’s industry type. Standard Industry Codes (“SICs”) are old-fashioned and clunky and haven’t kept up with the UK’s business variations. Plus, most are registered not by the business themselves but by their accountant, solicitor, or even a 3rd-party registration company, who often knows nothing about the business.


Why use 118’s KYC file?

  • We use over 2,300 directory style classifications to identify exactly what a business does.
  • We ask the company! When we call to validate and verify the business details, we ask the company owner to tell us what they do. Their response is cross-referenced against their website and other sources to get it right.
  • Most businesses have 2 or 3 strings to their bow, so we include that. A typical example may be an Italian Restaurant that operates as a Takeaway or an Estate Agent that acts as a Letting Agent. Knowing about a business’ diversity might mean you will not/cannot sell your products to them, or it alters the price of your service.
  • Each record includes up to 3 industry classifications, their trading address, employee numbers and turnover.
  • We will tell you about any changes every month.

Case Study Snapshots

Insurance Company

A niche insurance company needed to identify when businesses weren’t telling the truth to lower their premiums. Using our data, they could see whether tradespeople were in the higher-risk categories and whether they were larger (or smaller) than they said they were

High-Street Bank

A high-street bank puts our data into their loan application process. Their goal was to understand what each applicant did, how long they had been trading, and, therefore, their risk levels. They couldn’t always rely on credit ratings, and the nature of their loans meant they attracted primarily sole traders, so there weren’t any Companies House records to cross-check. Using the 118 data, they built an accurate risk profile. As an added bonus, as an ethical lender, they could also quickly identify specific types of businesses they automatically reject, such as anyone selling tobacco or vaping equipment.

DIY Store

A well-known DIY store that sells to the trades needed to know more about their customer base as they suffered from store card non-repayments. Using the 118 data, they could understand what trade a person was in and identify an alarming number of people who had applied for a card saying they were ‘DIY’ customers but were really builders or plumbers. This information allowed them to chase payments in a much more effective manner. Moving forward, it allowed them to check in real-time if a new applicant was genuinely decorating their own house or running a company and applying for the correct card.