In this Member Spotlight, Betterment’s Associate General Counsel Josh Rubin explains how access to consumer-permissioned financial data is critical to Betterment’s ability to offer high quality, low-cost advice to everyday investors:
In this interview, Trustly Americas President Pete Ohser explains how consumer-permissioned data access greatly expands options, lowers costs, and removes barriers to financial services, as well as detailing how Trustly has been working with the policymaking and banking communities to make open banking a reality:
Codat is a fintech that provides a universal API for small business data, which powers integration of products built by other software providers and financial institutions. In this interview, Gabby Macsweeney, Head of Communications and Public Policy, discussed how universal APIs can simplify business processes and inform financial wellness:
Xero is a cloud-based accounting software platform for small businesses with more than 3 million subscribers globally. Through Xero, small businesses and their advisors have access to real-time financial data at anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
Founded in 2006, Xero is a global business, domiciled in New Zealand and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: XRO). Our team of more than 3,600 employees is driven by our purpose to make life better for people in small businesses, their advisors, and communities around the world.
The relationships we have with our partners in the accounting and bookkeeping communities are part of what makes Xero unique. Xero’s platform allows accountants and bookkeepers to collaborate with their small business clients on a single, up-to-date general ledger and manage their finances, including invoicing, payroll, tax compliance, cash flow, and much more.
Xero has built a thriving ecosystem of over 1,000 connected apps and more than 300 connections to banks and financial service providers. With apps that support everything from inventory and logistics to point of sale and project management, the Xero App Marketplace empowers small businesses to build their own toolkit to run all aspects of their business and have them all work together seamlessly.
We are dedicated to building a socially conscious and environmentally sustainable business, benefitting the millions of customers we serve, their advisors, communities and the shareholders and employees of Xero. We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. During the year ended 31 March 2021 (FY21), Xero was certified carbon neutral by the Australian Government’s Climate Active program.
Our commitment to gender diversity and inclusion was recognized with Xero’s inclusion in the 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, which is the third consecutive year the company has been included.
TransUnion has been on the cutting edge of consumer data technology for more than half a century and is one of the world’s leading global information and insights companies. TransUnion serves consumers in more than 30 countries on five continents. In the United States alone, more than 166 million people have received free access to their credit information through TransUnion or its partners.
Information for good is TransUnion’s mission and the company is focused on using data to enhance financial inclusion. Helping individuals who too often have been left behind by traditional systems, the company’s alternative data assets can help create a more complete picture of a consumer’s risk profile. To date through trended and alternative financial data, TransUnion has helped 35 million credit invisible or credit-disadvantaged people gain greater access to credit. If scaled, the company estimates that the inclusion of alternative financial data could help an additional 60 million people gain access to credit.
TransUnion has long been an advocate for the use of alternative financial data. The company’s President & CEO, Chris Cartwright remarked “If alternative data is widely captured on credit reports and used by lenders in credit underwriting, the benefits would cascade across generations and all corners of America.” Because of that “more families would be able to flourish in the financial ecosystem, constructing legacies of prosperity they can pass along to their children,” he added.
As financial institutions look for new ways to support financial inclusion, TransUnion remains committed to doing their part to create a better future and more fair society. They recognize this important work is just beginning and their goal will be met once equity and credit access is an integral part of an economy where no American is left behind.
For more information on TransUnion, please visit www.transunion.com
Technology has changed the way people bank, invest, and manage their money. Petal takes a new approach to consumer credit, enabling customers to use their own bank account data – rather than a traditional credit report – to access safe and affordable financial products and services and to build credit, avoid debt, and spend responsibly.
Traditional banks often rely on outdated measures of creditworthiness, such as traditional bureau-based credit scores, in determining which consumers get approved for a new loan or line of credit. This approach has resulted in the tens of millions of Americans with thin or no credit files being unable to access financial products such as car loans, credit cards, or mortgages. To address this problem, Petal offers credit cards (issued by WebBank) to consumers based on “cash flow underwriting” – using a customer’s bank transaction history to evaluate their creditworthiness, examining income, savings, and spending patterns. The insights gained from cash flow underwriting have allowed Petal to expand access to the financial system to many American consumers who otherwise would not have received credit and enable these consumers to build credit profiles to help them access additional products and services. The majority of Petal members had little to no credit history when approved, and more than 40% were previously denied credit by a major bank or card issuer. Petal members with no prior credit history achieve an average credit score of 680 after just a few months of responsible use.
The Petal card goes beyond providing access to credit: it has numerous features designed to help members succeed financially. Petal’s Leap program provides a clear pathway for members to qualify for a credit limit increase, while also promoting responsible financial behavior. Customers enrolled in Petal’s Leap program that make six on-time monthly payments in a row and maintain a healthy credit score are guaranteed a credit limit increase. The Leap tab on Petal’s mobile app provides a convenient platform for customers to track their progress and includes customized suggestions for members to improve their financial health and build their credit profile. In addition, Petal distinguishes itself from other credit cards by encouraging customers to pay their full balance each month. Mainstream credit cards, meanwhile, often put consumers on a more expensive path by making “pay the minimum” the starting point. Petal members who cannot pay the full balance can use the Petal app’s payments calculator to easily understand exactly how much interest they will owe. Petal has also offered incentives, including a chance to win up to $500, to encourage members to pay more than the minimum on their monthly statement. Finally, to further encourage financial responsibility, Petal provides qualifying members with extra cash back on purchases – beyond the standard 1% – when they establish a history of making on-time monthly payments.
In April 2021, Petal launched Prism Data, a new company that enables banks, fintechs and other business customers to translate consumer-permissioned bank account data into useful insights and a CashScore that can help determine creditworthiness. By integrating Prism Data into their lending applications, users can improve their ability to reach consumers that have been left out of the mainstream financial system – particularly those who are credit invisible. Prism Data was founded on the belief that open banking and access to consumer-permissioned bank account transactional data will change the way consumer finance works. When announcing Prism Data, Jason Gross, Petal CEO and co-founder, said, “Prism Data is the next great step in furthering Petal’s original mission to democratize access to credit, now by empowering other organizations to serve more customers, build better products, and make smarter decisions.”
Petal’s success at reaching traditionally underserved consumers has demonstrated that open banking policies can help expand financial inclusion. In a June 2019 op-ed co-written with FDATA North America, Gross argued that bringing open banking to the United States could help policymakers address the fact that:
- 45 million Americans cannot access the modern credit system because of a lack of information in their credit report;
- 4 in 10 American adults don’t have savings necessary to cover a $400 emergency; and
- American consumers face up to $34 billion in overdraft fees annually.
For more information on Petal’s advocacy for open banking, you can read Petal’s written statement provided as part of the CFPB’s February 2020 symposium on consumer access to financial records, as well as Petal’s submitted comments to CFPB as part of the1033 rulemaking process and a Medium post by CEO Jason Gross published earlier this year titled “Your financial data belongs to you, not your bank.”
Morningstar empowers investor success by providing independent investment data, research, and analysis to investors of all kinds. This spirit of independence and transparency ignited in 1984, when Joe Mansueto left his job as a stock analyst. He realized that investors lacked the information they needed to make intelligent decisions about which investments best fit their plans. At the same time, he saw mutual funds growing in popularity as the tides were shifting away from company pensions to 401(k) plans. What was missing, he thought, was investment research for the average investor. Joe turned his idea into a new business with high aspirations—to help investors reach their financial goals.
Today, Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, debt securities, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with approximately $260 billion in assets under advisement and management as of September 30, 2021. Morningstar is a global firm with operations in 29 countries.
Individual investors use Morningstar to make educated investment decisions. These investors want pertinent facts they can trust from an independent source, delivered in easy-to-understand formats. Financial advisors and other investment professionals turn to Morningstar for tools that help them research, analyze, present, and support their investment ideas. Morningstar’s research, analytics, and investment management services help advisors make more efficient use of their time and deliver better investment outcomes to clients.
The backbone of Morningstar’s independence and transparency is its commitment to research that illuminates investing. Recently published research available on www.morningstar.com includes:
- The “Morningstar Sustainable Investing Framework” provides the critical need for clarity in the rapidly growing environmental, social, and governance investing space.
- Morningstar’s behavioral science team recently published, “Drivers of Savings Inequality by Race and Place,” on factors that influence the differences in savings rates in American households.
- Newly published, “The State of Retirement Income,” reassesses safe withdrawal rates for retirees, finding that the standard rule of thumb should be lowered to 3.3% from 4%.
Morningstar® ByAllAccountsSM and FDATA
Morningstar ByAllAccounts is a data aggregator built to deliver high-quality, interoperable account data for the complex needs of the wealth management industry. It works closely with the FDATA Community and is the only aggregation provider that focuses exclusively on investors, advisors, and the enterprises who support them.
“At ByAllAccounts, the data we provide our customers is mission critical to powering holistic financial planning,” says Katy Gibson, head of product for Morningstar ByAllAccounts. “As such, we are big proponents of open banking because it gives us the ability to connect to reliable and secure data sources with minimal connectivity disruptions. As members of FDATA we will continue to advocate for the investment use case, ensuring the unique needs of investors and professionals that serve them are met.”
For more information on Morningstar and Morningstar ByAllAccounts, click here.