August 06, 2021
Plaid’s Commitment to Consumer Privacy
John C. Pitts
Plaid was founded on the principle that people should be in control over where and how they share their financial information. We embody this principle in our practices and our products, which have helped millions of consumers safely and easily connect their financial accounts to the services they rely on -- services that help them save money, pay bills, manage budgets, and save for retirement.
At the outset, we focused on building technology to facilitate secure connections between apps and banks. Today, this network infrastructure has evolved to help people banking with over 11,000 institutions have access to more than 5,000 apps, and developers can rely on Plaid for secure connectivity instead of each app having to build connections to 11,000 banks themselves. This means there is a consistent standard of safety measures across a growing and evolving app ecosystem instead of people relying on each individual startup fintech to create their own set of standards and obligations.
Today a proposed settlement was made public to resolve a lawsuit that was filed against Plaid in May of 2020. Plaid does not, and never has, sold data; we make our role and data practices clear to consumers, and the claims in the lawsuit don’t reflect how Plaid does business. While we disagree with the claims, we believe the settlement that the parties were able to achieve is the best path forward and is aligned with Plaid’s principles around consumer control and transparency, as well as avoids the burdens associated with protracted litigation.
While consumers have always been a North Star, getting to this point required Plaid to evolve from a company focused on building developer infrastructure to a company that also builds tools that consumers interact with directly. Throughout this evolution, we added more features to help consumers navigate an ecosystem rapidly growing in scale and complexity. Over the last several years we have:
Launched Plaid Link, an interface that eliminated the need for consumers to share their credentials with every app they wanted to use. When people sign up for various Plaid-powered apps today, they encounter an intuitive interface that makes it easy to understand and agree to sharing their financial data with the apps and services they use.
Partnered with financial institutions and bank platforms directly and through Plaid Exchange to drive adoption of APIs that eliminate the need for consumers to share their credentials. By the end of this year, the majority of our traffic will be committed to these credential-less integrations.
Built a privacy portal where people can view and manage the financial data they have shared with their chosen apps.
Each of these steps was an improvement for consumers that set a benchmark for the rest of the industry. As the platform powering over 5,000+ of the most popular financial apps and services, we know that the standards we hold ourselves to ultimately create stronger standards for the whole industry. We will continue our work helping to build a more open and equitable global financial system, with consumers in control.