Account aggregation is a term used to describe the process whereby an end user can effectively view and manage all of their bank accounts, investment accounts and credit cards in one place. Applications that allow account aggregation make it easier for users to analyse and assess their full financial profile, which will aid them in making more accurate spending, saving or credit decisions.
How does bank account aggregation work?
Third party providers (TPPs) that offer bank account aggregation are effectively consolidating users' financial data in one place. Powered by Open Banking, companies can get access to users' financial data, with their consent, directly from their bank using AIS (account information services). AIS facilitates retrieval of balances, identity, transactions and other user specific bank data.
For third parties to be able to access this data, they would require the user’s consent. Consents usually last up to 90 days before needing to be renewed, however users have complete control and can revoke access at any time. You can read more about Open Banking security in our ‘Is Open Banking safe?’ article.
Once the TPP has the user’s consent, they can utilise the financial data directly from the bank to create or offer products and services. There are varying licensing requirements for businesses looking to present the information back to a customer via an interface or if they’re looking to only use the information behind the scenes (an example of this is for a loan application). If you are looking to use Open Banking to power your application our team would be happy to help, contact us here.
What is possible with account aggregation?
Simply put, if a user or business has more than one bank account or financial product then account aggregation will make it easier for them to manage their finances. By linking all of their different bank accounts or credit cards, users will be able to access information for all of them in one application. This provides a much smoother customer experience than logging into a variety of apps or online portals to access financial information.
Businesses that offer account aggregation may also offer a variety of additional products and services. Personal finance management (PFM) and accounting software solutions are becoming more popular and account aggregation usually is the driving force behind them. PFMs allow users to track their finances in a more analytical way than ever before. Rather than just looking at a list of transactions, users are presented with more data around income, spending and savings. Whereas accounting software is usually used by SMEs, to manage cash flow and general accounting.
Thanks to the amount of data available through Open Banking, users of PFM applications are able to access personalised offers on loans, credit cards and various accounts based on their full financial profile. Instead of companies relying on outdated or inaccurate credit scores, users with thin credit files or no history at all may be able to access affordable credit thanks to Open Banking and account aggregation. You can find out more in our blog about Open Banking for lending.
Outside of lending, PFMs enable users to identify fraudulent transactions and more insight into where a user could potentially save money. This could be on their utility bills, insurance or mobile phone contract. Having access to the financial data, PFMs can automatically identify products and services that would enable users to save money.
SMEs using accounting software that enables them to aggregate their bank accounts, will benefit from easier cash flow management and reconciliation. The insights that accounting software can provide across accounts will simplify processes and reduce the time spent moving or managing money across the business. SMEs can also manage their payroll and invoicing with Open Banking payments, providing the option to streamline business processes within one application.