Financial crime doesn’t stand still, the tactics used by fraudsters are constantly changing, it’s a never-ending battle.

At HSBC, we check about 1.2 billion transactions for signs of financial crime each month, across 40 million customer accounts – we’re using artificial intelligence (AI) to help us do this.

As new financial crime tactics or trends emerge, we teach our AI what to look out for. As a result, we’re able to find and tackle financial crime faster and more thoroughly than ever before.

However, while powerful, AI can also be misused and each deployment option presents trade-offs. To mitigate these risks, we adopt responsible practices, prioritise transparency and continuously assess the impact of AI on our customers and beyond. Responsible use of AI is at the forefront of our design choices as we seek to increase our use of these new technologies.

Google partnership

AI has the potential to transform how financial crime is tackled across the industry.

We partnered with Google to co-develop the AI system we use to check for financial crime - known internally at HSBC as Dynamic Risk Assessment.

We piloted it in 2021, with Google launching it to the wider financial services sector last year.

The results speak for themselves. We’re finding two to four times more financial crime than we did previously, with much greater accuracy.

Historically, we had a high number of false positives, meaning that we were calling customers unnecessarily to ask them about what turned out to be completely legitimate activity. Now, we have 60% fewer false positive cases.

Detecting crime

This is just one of the ways we’re using AI to help us fight financial crime.

AI has helped us to improve the precision of our financial crime detection and reduce alert volumes, meaning less investigation time is spent chasing false leads.

It has also helped us reduce the processing time required to analyse billions of transactions across millions of accounts from several weeks to a few days.

We’re able to find the signs of financial crime faster, with less impact on our customers and provide more useful information to law enforcement, contributing to more effective outcomes in the fight against financial crime.