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January 25, 2023

Plaid’s support for a strong consumer financial data right

Ben White

In November, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a comprehensive proposal outlining their vision for a strong consumer financial data rights rule. Today, Plaid submitted our letter in response to the CFPB’s request for stakeholder feedback.

Plaid was founded on the principle that consumers have a right to their own financial information. Consumers’ ability to access and control their data empowers them to make informed financial choices that are best for them. Our technology powers apps and services millions of people use every day to lead healthier financial lives. 

Below are Plaid’s recommendations to the CFPB that support our vision of a vibrant, consumer-centric fintech ecosystem, where individuals are able to safely share their data with the apps and services they use to manage their financial lives. 

Establish a comprehensive financial data access right: We support establishing a holistic, open finance rule so consumers can access and share the data they need to use a wide range of financial services. Consumers deserve strong financial data rights whether they’re managing their daily finances, paying their mortgage, or investing for the future.

Require companies to give consumers transparency and control over their data: Data access rights are about putting consumers in the driver’s seat by giving them informed and meaningful control over their information. Companies across the ecosystem should be required to tell consumers about information being collected, how it will be used, and how consumers can disconnect their data when they’re done using a product or service.

Ensure consumers have consistent data access, no matter where they manage their money: Fintech is a powerful tool enabling consumers to take control of their financial lives. But it only works when data rights are consistent and access is reliable. We think consumer financial data rights should be universal, so that customers of the smallest banks can use the same fintech products as those at the largest.

Protect consumers’ data access while supporting the industry shift to APIs: Plaid has led the industry shift away from screen scraping, with the majority of our traffic now on APIs. As the industry continues to adopt this new technology, we want to ensure consumers don’t lose access to financial services they rely on. Small financial institutions should be provided a realistic timeline to transition toward credential-less sharing.

Set clear standards and supervise data aggregators: Data aggregators and other companies that provide data access play a critical role in the ecosystem. The federal government should set clear standards for how these companies should act when facilitating data access, and ensure they are following those obligations.

We believe that this framework would enable the CFPB to ensure that consumers have consistent access to their own data, along with the protections they need, and that innovation can continue to flourish in the financial services ecosystem. We look forward to the CFPB continuing this effort on behalf of consumers.

Ben White is on Plaid's Policy team where he advocates for a world in which financial freedom is possible for everyone.