Take-up of anti-money laundering platforms which allow ID checks for anti-money laundering purposes to be made electronically has shot up, while solicitors are being urged to steer clear of hard copies for conveyancing.
Firms which had been using paper-based ID checks for due diligence are now turning to electronic systems.
Despite the drastic downturn in the market, agents are still having to make checks.
One provider, SmartSearch, said that firms which would normally trial its service for between 30 and 45 days are now taking up the service on the same day.
It is thought that over half of firms in regulated AML sectors still rely on hard-copy documents to make ID checks.
Restrictions on movements mean that such documents are no longer being presented in person, while firms are also concerned about paperwork being contaminated.
SmartSearch chief executive John Dobson said: “The coronavirus pandemic spells the end of this outdated approach.”
Conveyancers are also being used to avoid hard copy documents and to use email or online document sharing platforms.
Advice from Thirdfort, which helps conveyancers authenticate ID and the source of funds, says that the use of documents which change hands several times should be avoided.
It has sought to reassure conveyancers that electronic signatures are valid under English law to execute documents, including deeds.
However, it warns that conveyancers should be careful about cyber security.
It suggests: “Extra controls should be introduced to make sure robust authentication processes are in place, such as email confirmation followed by a phone call to make sure any payment details are correct and communications haven’t been intercepted by fraudsters.”