Month: September 2020

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FDATA North America Options for Governance of Customer-Directed Finance in Canada

FDATA North America Options for Governance of Customer-Directed Finance in Canada

Earlier this year, Canada’s Open Banking Advisory Committee submitted recommendations to the Minister of Finance regarding the need for a customer-directed finance regime in Canada. Quite a lot has happened since then – both globally and in the financial technology sector – but the Department of Finance has continued to consider how to deliver customer-directed finance in Canada.

As the department enters the second phase of its consultative process, FDATA North America provided several suggestions that should act as a guide for the deployment of a successful open finance regime, gleaned from experience in other markets.

FDATA North America’s suggested governance models note that the core of any successful framework is a customer data right – and that only government can implement this open finance tenet, and that it is the foundation of every successful customer-directed finance framework globally. The document warns that a customer-directed finance model that defers decisions around data rights to industry results in an ecosystem in which incumbents are further empowered to determine how much control their customers may have over their data – to the detriment of competition, innovation and financial access.

As such, the document proposes governance models with the strong recommendation that industry alone cannot deliver customer-directed finance but can provide technology solutions that meet the policy standards set by government.

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America’s suggested governance models


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances. Existing FDATA North America members include: air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), API Metrics, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, EQ Bank, Experian, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, ValidiFI, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to US FDIC on Standard Setting and Voluntary Certification Models for Third-Party Providers

FDATA North America Submits Comments to US FDIC on its Request for Information on Standard Setting and Voluntary Certification Models and Third-Party Providers of Technology and Other Services

September 21, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, FDATA North America submitted comments to the US Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in response to its Request for Information (RFI) on standard setting and voluntary certification models and third-party providers of technology and other services.

In its comments, FDATA North America praises the FDIC for its support of innovative technology and efforts to enable FDIC-supervised banks and savings associations to utilize technology that will provide their customers with tools and services that can be transformative to their financial health. FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms noted that “as the trade association representing firms that currently partner with many small and community banks to provide critical financial wellness tools to millions of Americans, we believe that streamlining the ability for banks to partner with third-party providers will be critical to the survival of small and community banks in the United States and to the financial wellness of their customers.”

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America FDIC RFI Submission

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Member Spotlight: Trustly

 

Today, our salaries are deposited straight into our bank accounts and we shop online, from merchants all around the world. So why is it so hard to pay straight from our bank accounts? This is where Trustly comes in.

The fintech, which now has operations in Canada and Australia in addition to the United States and Europe, is building an Online Banking Payments network that bypasses the card networks, letting consumers make and receive simple and safe payments to/from merchants by signing in to their online banking. With support for more than 7,600 banks, Trustly enables merchants to accept payments from roughly 600 million consumers across Europe and North America.

Trustly serves many of the world’s most prominent merchants within e-commerce, financial services, gaming, media, telecom and travel, which all benefit from increased consumer conversion and reduced operational, fraud and chargeback costs.

In the United States, for instance, Trustly partners with AT&T to help subscribers pay their monthly bills, and with Dell to help customers purchase computers online, in both cases with a simple and safe user experience — no card or registration needed. At the same, AT&T and Dell increase their payment approval rates while reducing their payment acceptance costs and eliminating chargebacks. These are just two examples of how Trustly is helping large North American merchants circumvent the limitations of the card networks.

In Europe, Trustly helps PayPal users top up their wallets, and Norwegian Air travelers pay for plane tickets directly from their bank accounts. And, last year, Trustly established a partnership with the Help to Help Foundation, which grants scholarships to university students in East Africa. Using Trustly’s Direct Debit service to digitize recurring payments and simplify the management of donations from monthly donors, Help to Help has reduced churn, allowing a greater portion of donations to go toward scholarships. Help to Help founder Malin Cronqvist said the organization now saves two to three percent of donations in fees.

Trustly joined FDATA North America to bring more opportunities like these to more consumers in the United States and Canada. “We look forward to helping U.S.and Canadian consumers pay their favorite merchants and billers with our Online Banking Payments service, a modern, simple and safe alternative to cards,” said Alex Gonthier, CEO of Trustly Inc.

The company now has more than 400 employees, 10 offices across the Americas and Europe, and processed more than 100 million payments last year.

In February 2020, Trustly was recognized as Best Payment Initiation Service Provider(PISP)/Account Information Service Provider (AISP) at the Merchant Payment Ecosystem Awards, which honor the achievements of companies in the European merchant payments ecosystem. The PISP AISP award goes to the company “that most efficiently brings open banking services to the merchant community, and provides the best customer experience.”

Leon Dhaene, Chairman of the MPE Awards, explained why Trustly was chosen. “Make e-commerce simple again. It could have been the slogan of a politician, but it is essential if you want to bring potential customers to effectively buy over the internet,” said Dhaene. “The Jury appreciated the fact that Trustly delivers fast, simple, and secure payments in only three steps.”

Simplicity and security – just what consumers can expect with Open Banking in North America.

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Member Spotlight: EQ Bank

EQ Bank is the digital banking platform offered by Equitable Bank, Canada’s Challenger Bank™. Equitable employs more than 900 Canadians and is now the country’s ninth largest independent Schedule I bank. Launched in 2016, EQ Bank provides state-of-the-art digital banking services, including the Savings Plus Account which reimagines banking by offering an everyday high interest rate, plus the flexibility of a checking account, with free transactions, no everyday banking fees, no minimum balances, fast, cheap, and fully transparent international money transfers, and more—all from one account.

CEO and President Andrew Moor has said, “Making smart, future-ready decisions to better the way Canadians bank has always been our primary focus. Cloud-based banking is just one way we’re challenging the status quo in order to bring smarter money solutions to our customers.”

EQ Bank also is challenging the status quo by using various social platforms, including its own blog, to educate its customers and the broader Canadian public about everything from how interest is taxed on a joint account to strategies for increasing personal savings to buying a home.

The blog provides practical, easy-to-digest tips like explaining why consumers are better off when they can link their accounts – a process that would be made much easier with the implementation of an open banking regime in Canada. In a November 2019 blog post, EQ Bank explained, “Linking your account not only streamlines the application process, but it’s the easiest way to start adding funds to your account. When you sign in to your new account for the first time, you’ll already be linked to another bank account; this means you can transfer money and start earning high interest on that amount immediately.”

The bank has regularly spoken about its commitment to bringing open banking to Canada in order to drive innovation and to serve the changing needs of its customers. Equitable CIO Dan Dickinson was the first bank representative to address the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce on the topic of Open Banking. Equitable Bank is pushing for Open Banking so that Canadians at all banks can have better options and an improved customer experience.

In September 2020, EQ Bank announced that it had reached more than $4 billion in deposits. (The company has more than 150,000 customers.) In the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, sign-ups for new accounts tripled. “The need for fair, well-valued banking products and a complete understanding of one’s financial picture has never been more important,” according to Dickinson.

EQ Bank has received multiple awards for its efforts to provide outstanding service and innovative solutions to Canadians. It recently was awarded the Celent Model Bank Awards, which recognizes financial institutions as “model banks” for their outstanding technology initiatives that demonstrate clear business benefits, innovation, and technology or implementation excellence. The company also received one of Ratehub.ca’s inaugural Personal Finance Awards. Rathhub recognized the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account as one of the country’s top high-interest savings accounts.

EQ Bank joined FDATA North America in 2020. As EQ Bank President Moor has said, “Open banking will transform and modernize our industry enormously, benefitting consumers, businesses, and the economy alike. Innovation is in EQ Bank’s DNA, and our recent move to the cloud means we’re not only ready for the future of banking in Canada, we’re driving it.”

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