Making sure we are in safe hands

By Teamspirit on Sunday, 8 October 2017

Budgeting and saving services are booming. From early players like Mint, which is rapidly approaching its tenth birthday (feel old yet?), we now have the likes of Chip, Cleo, Moneybox, and Plum to choose from to help us get to grips with the money we’re spending and saving across all our accounts.

Naturally, these apps and online platforms need access to our financial information to aggregate our data. In a mobile world where we store our payment details on our phones, and give access to it to a wide array of apps, consumers for the most part seem very happy with opening up their financial credentials in exchange for a useful service.

However, the opinions of banks and regulators are a bit more divided. For example, RBS and Natwest explicitly advise against giving third party providers access to your confidential financial data. Similarly, Halifax, Lloyds and Nationwide all say giving out account details will put customers in breach of their security agreements.

Meanwhile, Barclays says it’s happy for customers to share their details with ‘reputable’ apps, while HSBC is in the process of developing its own budgeting app, which will let customers bring together accounts including ones not held with the bank.

To an extent, the opinions of the banks are moot, as from January 13th next year new EU regulations will be enforced that mean banks will have to change their terms to let customers use budgeting and saving apps without breaching their service agreements.

We think this is a really positive example of regulators taking an active approach to responding to technological developments, and encouraging financial brands to keep pace with consumer demands.

It will also be interesting to see how consumer attitudes to the openness and use of their data change with the new general data protection regulation coming into effect in May next year. We’ll be discussing the implications of GDPR at out next breakfast seminar on Tuesday October 31st, so keep an eye out for coverage on our social media channels then.

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