As Open Banking (OB) becomes institutionalised in the Australian banking system, it is paramount for key industry bodies to establish the foundations and guidelines to ensure stable and efficient standardisation.
Open Banking is not designed to just renovate and digitise existing systems, but to evolve them to suit customer needs. A move from siloed financial services to an integrated suite of solutions via a digital Open Banking platform.
Data61, which is part of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has been appointed as the Consumer Data Standards (CDS) team, tasked with the initiative to develop standards for the Consumer Data Right (CDR).
These standards will act as the foundation for OB in Australia and will enable consumers to access and give authority to share the data relating to them with third parties. The CDR standards will simplify the user experience of sharing data while ensuring security and trust in how that data is being accessed and used.
Data61 has conducted surveys and research on consumer attitudes to data sharing and the expectations of OB API users. They identified nine key areas for industry participants to address when delivering their services:
- Avoid vague descriptions of data use
Ambiguous disclosure of data uses and handling led to most participants imagining worst case scenarios.
- Justify requests for data
Participants would not generally consent if they didn’t understand why data was being requested.
- Indicate the time and effort required to complete the process
The data recipient should provide an upfront overview of the steps involved and expected time required to provide shared data.
- Ensure language is written from a consumer perspective to increase trust
It is important to focus language on consumers SHARING data rather than the data recipient ACCESSING information.
- Make language clear and accessible
To improve comprehension use clear and articulate communications. Refer to the gov.au writing style for in depth understanding.
- Give consumers a record of their data sharing agreement
While consumers generally know that they share their banking data, some can’t remember the conditions of data sharing (e.g. how long the data would be shared for) after finishing the consent flow.
- Data must be controlled by consumers to gain trust
If sharing data means losing control of that data, including after consent expires, consumers could be expected to be more apprehensive about CDR participation. The ability to cancel, manage, and revoke the rights given should be emphasised as they are all points of intervention that give control to the consumer.
- Provide non-digital revocation channels
A non-digital means of revocation should be offered first, especially phone and in-person, in order to ascertain trust.
- Educate consumers on how data can be used
Most consumers have insufficient understanding of what can be inferred from their financial data, as well as how it may be used to tailor products and pricing.
What are the Consumer Data Standards?
The Consumer Data Standards are a list of agreements on representation, format, definition, structuring, tagging, transmission, manipulation, use, and management of common data.
They are necessary for the transition into Open Banking, as foundation elements, to keep industry activity within the scope of what it sets out to achieve.
The use of common terminology and common data definitions enables the simplified integration of databases, and promotes more efficient and effective use of data by users of commonly defined data sources.
The Australian government policy on public data requires, where they exist, the use of agreed open standards when making data available.
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