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PEP & sanctions screening software for risk management

Screen U.S. and global watchlists, sanctions lists, and Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) lists for B2B compliance, all with our Enhanced Screenings add-on.

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Business Profiles


Added in Q3

2 hours

Update frequency

50 state

Business registries

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What is sanctions screening software?

Sanctions screening software is a computer program that checks the names of businesses and its associated people, against various sanctions lists. This helps you to ensure that, when starting or reviewing B2B relationships, you aren’t dealing with an entity that is on a sanctions list or other watchlist.

You generally want to avoid entities on sanctions lists because of the risks they present to you as a company. If they aren’t outright illegal to get involved with, they usually have special conditions that must be met before you can associate with them legally.

Company hit on a sanctions list

How the sanctions screening tool works

Ordering a new report in Middesk

Step 1

Go to the dashboard in Middesk and select “Place order”.

Searching for a company in a watchlist report

Step 2

Enter a business’s name and address, along with (optionally) a list of people associated with the business, and place the order with the “Enhanced Screenings” add-on.

Company information from a Global Watchlists Report

Step 3

Select to view the Global Watchlists report.


Step 4

Review the report and confirm whether or not the business and person(s) you entered are on any international watchlists or sanctions lists.

Information you can get with our sanctions search tool

Knowing which businesses and people are on watchlists is only one part of KYB. Fortunately, our Business Verification tool can find many more types of relevant information.

Middesk Compliance Data Sources

Data You Can Access

What Do You Need to Know?

Watchlist hits & PEP screening

Is the business, its home country, or any of its associated people on a US or international watchlist? Are any of the associated people designated as politically exposed persons (PEPs)?

Depending on the specific list an entity matches against, there may be conditions on dealing with that entity, or association with it may be disallowed entirely. PEPs may not necessarily have restrictions or prohibitions against them, but their positions do make them present a higher amount of risk.

People associated with a business

Can I determine with certainty who owns the business I want a relationship with? Did that business send me accurate information during onboarding?

Business industry classification (NAICS, SIC)

Do I understand what type of business this is and what they do?

Business license

According to the various local, state, or federal regulatory boards, is this business in good standing?

Business documents

Can I review business formation documents, Articles of Incorporation, or the Certificate of Good Standing to confirm that this business is real and legitimate?

Business name, address, & phone number

Can I match the registration information provided by this business to the necessary regulatory agency and government filings?

EIN / Business Tax ID

Does this business have a unique tax ID number with the IRS? Are they registered to file taxes?

Liens & litigations

Should I be aware of any liens against this business? Are they a part of any current or past litigations?

Bankruptcy data

Is there any financial risk to my company due to an existing bankruptcy filing?

Applications for sanctions screening software

Sanction screening tools are useful for all types of businesses, but especially those that serve an international clientele.


Fintechs that want to expand to a global market must keep in mind there are additional risks and regulations that come with doing so. Sanctions screening tools allow fintechs to grow their operations internationally while being compliant with localized watchlists and sanctions lists.


Sanctions list screening software is useful for insurers on two main fronts. First, it allows them to check whether there are restrictions or prohibitions on dealing with an entity at all. Second, it makes them aware if there are PEPs associated with a business that may alter the business’s risk profile.

Commercial banking

Financial crimes like money laundering, terrorism financing, and WMD proliferation financing become harder to track when they cross international borders. By staying up to date with international sanctions lists, banks can ensure they aren’t opening accounts for sanctioned businesses that are being used to conceal cross-border crimes.


Like with insurers, a sanctions and PEP screening tool helps lending institutions in two ways. First, it notifies them of entities they are legally not allowed to lend capital to (at least, in some cases, without special permission). Second, it helps them better assess an entity’s risk and determine what the lending terms should be.


Like fintechs, marketplaces that partner with international businesses need to be aware of regional rules regarding which businesses and people are sanctioned or otherwise restricted. A sanctions screening tool can help marketplace managers keep out sanctioned businesses, no matter where in the world they’re from.

Payments platforms

Payment processing providers also have a role to play in keeping international marketplaces safe. By using a sanctions screening solution, they can avoid unwittingly aiding sanctioned businesses with crimes. This reinforces trust in the marketplace between all legitimately-participating parties.

Accelerated customer onboarding with the sanction screening tool

Screen against thousands of global watchlists

Middesk’s Enhanced Screenings add-on contains thousands of global and U.S. sanctions lists and other financial watchlists that you can screen against. They are sourced from government departments and other key financial regulators.

Assess risks posed by PEPs and RCAs

Politically exposed persons (PEPs), and their relatives and close associates (RCAs), present higher risks of becoming (or already being) involved in crime. Scan for them to better determine how much risk you’re really taking on when onboarding or retaining a business customer.

Customize your screening parameters

Our Enhance Screenings tool add-on checks entity names against a default set of watchlists from key global financial institutions. However, you can create a custom set if you need to screen against watchlists in a particular industry or locale.

Save time and money with bulk screenings

Screening against global watchlists manually is totally inefficient when you could need to check hundreds or even thousands of watchlists. Middesk’s sanction screener lets you check businesses and people against multiple watchlists with just a few inputs, and get results in seconds.

Integrate & build with our sanctions API or get started with a dashboard today

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What makes Middesk’s sanctions screening software different?

Checklist of US sanctions reports to screen

Screen all global watchlists

Middesk’s Enhanced Screening add-on performs a sanctions search across thousands of financial watchlists around the globe at the same time. There’s no need to search them one at a time.

PEP screening report in Middesk

Screen for PEPs

Middesk’s sanctions screening tool can also check people’s names against politically exposed persons (PEP) lists. While not necessarily sanctioned, these people often require extra due diligence.

RCA screening report in Middesk

Scan for RCAs

Middesk also checks PEP lists for relatives and close associates (RCAs). They’re either personally or professionally close enough to PEPs to present similar risks, so they’re good to know about too.

OFAC report hit screening in Middesk

Customize the watchlists to screen

Some watchlists may not be relevant to you, depending on which industries and areas you do business in. Middesk lets you choose which lists to scan so you can cut down on false positives.

How Radius Bank finds more hours in the day with Middesk

“Every minute we’re able to save in processing loans is a minute faster than a small business will have access to the capital they need. With Middesk, what ordinarily would have taken us hours to do is now taking us minutes. We take pride in partnering with technology companies that help us serve our customers better.”

Kevin Walsh
Vice President | Decision Sciences

How Novo redefines its KYB process with Middesk’s verification product

“Middesk's market-leading methods challenge the established legacy approach to verification. Their product has unlocked significant efficiency, enhancing the onboarding experience for small businesses to access Novo. Middesk’s ground-up approach to product development played an integral part in increasing confidence in KYB, both internally and with partners.”

Anthony Jerkovic
Head of Data & Risk, Novo

Driving team efficiency and performance with Clearco

“Middesk's Lien Search product has allowed my team to focus on value-add activities like making deals rather than tedious tasks like sifting through UCC portals. My team is faster and happier with getting business owners the capital they need to grow their businesses.”

Ben Brideaux
General Manager

Leveling up Plaid’s onboarding process with seamless KYB

“When a customer signs up for Plaid, they want to start building on our APIs right away. Middesk has been a critical partner enabling us to quickly and seamlessly onboard new customers.”

Chris Campano
Risk Lead, Plaid

Frequently Asked Questions about sanctions screening software

Sanctions lists and other watchlists name people, businesses, and countries that have posed (or are posing) serious threats to other countries – or even the international community. These entities often have conditions or even prohibitions on dealing with them. If you fail to comply with a country or region’s restrictions while doing business there, you can face criminal penalties and other consequences.

Even if an entity doesn’t have restrictions on them, being on a watchlist is still a signal that they are high-risk to associate with. You need to be extra careful in vetting them to ensure you don’t become a victim of – or accessory to – financial crime.

A PEP is someone who holds a public administrative position of some influence. This affords them extra resources and opportunities with which they could commit financial crimes. This also makes them a bigger target for criminals looking to exploit their powers.

PEPs may also sometimes include relatives and close associates (RCAs). RCAs may not hold politically exposed positions, but have close enough personal or professional relationships with someone who does that they can present similar risks.

Being designated a PEP or RCA doesn’t inherently mean a person is involved in criminal activity. However, they do present a higher risk of becoming involved in crime (including being targeted by, or forced to cooperate with, criminals). They require a higher degree of due diligence when beginning or reviewing a relationship with a business they’re associated with.

The default data that comes with our Business Verification tool is direct from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), State Department, and Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) agencies. Enhanced Screenings includes over a thousand lists sourced government departments and financial regulatory agencies from around the world.

Technically yes, but it’s incredibly difficult. Depending on how large your company is, you may have hundreds or even thousands of clients to verify – both businesses as well as their associated people – including their UBOs. In addition, depending on where you operate, you may have to check hundreds of watchlists to comply with regional regulations.

Multiply those two factors, and it’s going to take a lot of personnel and time to check each entity you need to one by one. That’s assuming, of course, you don’t have to repeat searches – which can be more necessary than you think. Names can be misspelled, have different spellings, be nicknames or aliases, or be abbreviations/contractions/acronyms/etc. This can lead you to sift through tons of false positives before you find an actual match, if you even find one at all.

If you’re trying to save money by doing sanctions screening on your own, you’re really not going to come out any farther ahead. It’s better to use a software solution that can screen multiple entities at once, as well as account for name variations to more accurately find true positives while ignoring false ones.

Log into the dashboard and select “Place Order” l. Enter a business’s name and address, along with (optionally) a list of people associated with the business, and run a Verify search.

Then select the Global Watchlist report to see if any entities searched were on international sanctions lists or watchlists. Or, select the Politically Exposed Person report to see if any people you named were on a list of PEPs or RCAs.

Automated & accurate sanctions list data whenever you need it

Get our Enhanced Screenings package now for global watchlist and PEP screening

Placing an order for Sanctions Screening in Middesk