01 Dec 2022

Introducing Income Check with Ntropy API

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Naré Vardanyan

Co-Founder and CEO

The world of work has changed forever, yet income verification has not. 

We make a living in thousands of different ways, but when asked to prove income buying a house, renting or even getting a car, we still need payslips or being on a payroll.

Income is one of the core pieces of information about a consumer and a point of leverage. Yet it is locked within thousands of employer databases, payroll providers and the banks. 

The solution

Income Check via Bank Data is a new endpoint on top of Ntropy core transaction categorization API, that allows developers to check and analyze their customers' income sources, pay cycles and work histories in ≦100ms.

This is the first release in our upcoming series of launches , where we are going to introduce vertical applications built on top of Ntropy core. We call them Insights. They allow you to break down and analyze your customers' financial behavior at scale, in order to serve them with way better and more personal products.

Why did we start with Income?

Income is one of the most important lines on a consumer's bank statement. Income indicates affordability and earning potential. However, there are only two commonly used ways of verifying income today: i) Payslip uploads or ii) Payroll aggregators.

  1. Payslip uploads have been the go-to solution for years. This method has resulted in high drop off rates and fraud, as the information is user-provided and can be tampered with. It is slow, cumbersome and not always up-to-date.
  2. Payroll aggregators are a better alternative, as they offer real-time connections with payroll providers and gig platforms fetching employment information. However, the problem with payroll aggregation is coverage and reliability. Plus they require an additional authentication step for the end user. Several payroll aggregators are growing their integrations to ensure coverage, however this information is often scraped and does not directly sync with your banking transactions, where your cashflow lives.

There is another way, which involves detecting and analyzing income from underlying banking transactions. That’s precisely what we are launching today with Ntropy Income Check:

  1. Ntropy Income Check is built using Ntropy’s proprietary language models, which are trained on hundreds of millions of transactions worth billions of USD from across our customer base, spanning 4 continents and 6 different languages in order to infer income from the ground truth of raw transaction histories.

Benefits of Ntropy Income Check

Ntropy Income Check requires a banking login via one of the common data aggregators (e.g,. Plaid or Finicity). Considering more than a third of Americans log into their bank on a daily basis, this is a seamless, secure and a real-time experience for both end users and developers alike.

Below are the key benefits of Ntropy Income Check:

  • Seamless – Only a bank login is required with no additional steps or uploads, ensuring a smooth customer journey and reduced drop off rates.
  • Real-time – Income Check can identify income from any source, across geographies and providers in real-time. Developers can distinguish between passive and active income sources and also analyze work history. Hence you can cut onboarding from days to minutes.
  • Secure – The information cannot be tampered with as it is based on underlying transaction data and is updated in real-time. 

Additionally, the coverage is not restricted by payroll providers, gig platforms, locations and geographies. As long as there is a bank data connection, you can perform income checks instantaneously.

You can identify all possible alternative sources of income, if there is a record on your bank account, even if these are recurring ATM deposits.

Why Ntropy?

Ntropy API is the most advanced transaction categorization and enrichment engine on the market, built and supported by top ML engineers and research scientists, whose sole focus is making sure machines can read and understand financial transactions with super-human accuracy and speed.

In order to identify all types of income from a consumer bank feed in a reliable way, one needs this level of granular insight. The Ntropy Income Check endpoint is easy to use and if you are already familiar with our Python SDK, it will take you minutes to get started.

Ntropy Income Check provides an overview of all the income sources of a user, relying on the information in banking transactions. To get an accurate overview, it is important to have all accounts that belong to the user connected. The output is a list of income sources in the following format:

[ { "duration": "3 months", "first_payment_date": "2022-06-30", "income_type": "salary", "is_active": true, "latest_payment_date": "2022-09-30", "latest_payment_description": "GUSTO PAYROLL PAY 631475 223009", "pay_frequency": "monthly", "next_expected_payment_amount": 1186.27, "next_expected_payment_date": "2022-10-30", "source": "Gusto", "total_amount": 4745.08, "transaction_ids": [ "4yp49x3tbj9mD8DB4fM8DDY6Yxbx8YP14g565Xketw3tFmg", "4yp49x3tbj9mD8DB4fM8DDY6Yxbx8YP14g565Xketw3tFmf", "4yp49x3tbj9mD8DB4fM8DDY6Yxbx8YP14g565Xketw3tFmd", "4yp49x3tbj9mD8DB4fM8DDY6Yxbx8YP14g565Xketw3tFms" ] }, { "duration": "0 days", "first_payment_date": "2022-07-09", "income_type": "interest and dividends", "is_active": false, "latest_payment_date": "2022-07-09", "latest_payment_description": "Credit Interest", "pay_frequency": null, "next_expected_payment_amount": null, "next_expected_payment_date": null, "source": "N/A", "total_amount": 1.09, "transaction_ids": [ "tw3tFmn4yp49x3tbj9mD8DB4fM8DDY6Yxbx8YP14g565Xkh" ] } ]

For more detailed information on the Ntropy Income Check API endpoints see our developer documentation

What new applications is Income Check enabling today?

Our philosophy of shipping new products or features at Ntropy is the following:

"What does this enable that was not possible before?”‍

If the answer is straightforward, we build. Here is how this played out with the new Income Check API.

The main use case for Income Check is providing your customers with instant or quasi-instant access to money when they need it, for example, offering a loan or a salary advance.

Despite the existence of Payroll aggregators and Payslip uploads, money advances are still structured as payday loans. Banks and lenders always end up taking on the risk. Today your bank does not even speak to your payroll aggregator. The chance of fraud is extremely high, for example, someone could simply manipulate deposits to access wages early.

Ntropy Income Check is here to address this issue by providing continuous insight into your customers' finances. This means being able to provide cash flow exactly when they need it. 

Enabling developers to make this a reality for everyone is our main goal with this launch. We can’t wait to see what you build with it!

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