Finicity, a Mastercard company and leading provider of open banking solutions, has produced a detailed white paper with analysis showing why the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) should apply to providers of data aggregation services (“data agents”) in certain circumstances.
The FCRA protects consumers by establishing and protecting the right for individuals to dispute inaccurate data in consumer reports and get those errors fixed. The growth of consumer-permissioned data sharing in lending, insurance, and employment means that FCRA compliance will become a critical component of consumer protection.
“As Open Banking puts consumers in control of their financial data and gives lenders a more complete view of consumers’ creditworthiness, it’s critical that the sharing of financial data is conducted fairly, accurately, and with the utmost transparency,” said Steve Smith, Co-founder and CEO of Finicity. “Leveraging the protections of the FCRA will provide a vital regulatory framework that gives everyone in the financial ecosystem confidence in all of these areas, as well as manageable, familiar compliance standards for the data agents behind growing aggregation capabilities for underwriting use cases.”
Lenders have increasingly relied on new forms of financial data, such as information about a consumer’s bank account transactions, which can enable better, more effective credit-decisioning for lenders. This data supplements the traditional credit score to expand the lenders’ view of a borrower’s financial health, and ultimately stands to increase financial inclusion. Not only does this financial data give lenders a more thorough credit review process, it also empowers consumers with control over their own financial data, which they can grant or revoke access to.
“With the emergence of third-party data aggregators and their ability to provide financial data for the purposes of credit decisioning, FCRA compliance is essential to protecting the consumer,” said Chi Chi Wu, Staff Attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.
Finicity believes this new credit process also necessitates that it function in concert with fair reporting principles: data should be accurate, consumers should have access to their own data, and they should know when and how their data is used.
In December 2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the federal banking agencies released an Interagency Statement on the Use of Alternative Data in Credit Underwriting. In the Interagency Statement, the agencies recognized the consumer benefits of considering cash flow data in credit decisions and noted how consumers “can expressly permission access to their cash flow data”—through data agents—to enhance transparency and consumer control.
The CFPB is expected to propose new rules around consumer-authorized access to financial data in early 2021.
Finicity is releasing a detailed white paper “FCRA and Data Agents” with analysis of the mechanics and benefits of FCRA compliance for data aggregators. The full white paper can be downloaded at: https://info.finicity.com/fcra-data-agents/.
To learn more about Finicity, its data services, and its commitment to fast, reliable and high-quality data, visit www.finicity.com.
Finicity, a Mastercard company, helps individuals, families, and organizations make smarter financial decisions through safe and secure access to fast, high-quality data. The company provides a proven and trusted open banking platform that puts consumers in control of their financial data, transforming the way we experience money for everything from budgeting and payments to investing and lending. Finicity partners with influential financial institutions and disruptive fintech providers alike to give consumers a leg up in a complicated financial world, helping to improve financial literacy, expanding financial inclusion, and ultimately leading to better financial outcomes. Finicity is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. To learn more or test drive its API, visit www.finicity.com.