Magazine article American Banker

Privacy.com Seeks Data-Sharing Middle Ground through New API

Magazine article American Banker

Privacy.com Seeks Data-Sharing Middle Ground through New API

Article excerpt

Byline: Penny Crosman

As banks and data aggregators continue to grapple with the logistics and legalities of sharing bank account data, the virtual card provider Privacy.com on Thursday said it will start marketing an application programming interface directly to consumers.

The move is a test of how much data consumers really want shared with third parties and which third parties.

"The purpose is to put something out there and start the conversation, with the developer community and our users very much aware that this is a V1," said Bo Jiang, Privacy.com's CEO.

It could help the company navigate a tricky landscape that has ensnared others, most recently Capital One Financial and Plaid, in conflict.

Consumers, banks, data aggregators and third-party app providers presumably want the same thing -- for consumers to have control over their banking data and share it with whom they choose.

The tricky part comes in how this is done. Does the customer have full transparency around which pieces of data are being shared and with whom? Does the bank have the right to keep certain data fields private? How does the aggregator make sure sketchy apps are not accessing the information? Who is liable when a shady company does access a customer's data, or worse, steals it?

Figuring out the answers to these questions is becoming more important as Europe's PSD2 directive takes effect and the open banking movement in the U.S. continues.

In its basic business, Privacy.com tokenizes consumers' credit and debit cards, so that as they shop online or on a mobile app, they are not giving out their real card number with merchants, only a number that cannot be used elsewhere. …

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