Big banks reportedly are trying to restrict the stream of financial data moving into personal-finance sites and applications that help consumers with budgeting, paying bills and keeping track of all banking and investment accounts.
Such sites and applications, also known as “data aggregators” are rapidly gaining popularity. Such is the case with Mint.com, operated by Intuit.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Mint.com’s personal-finance app has been “throttled,” or that the data being shared with the app is being restricted. Bank of America is one of the financial institutions who have opted to cut off the statistics streams moving into these websites and apps, according to reports. The Mint service seems to have been restored by BofA, but other lenders are reportedly taking similar actions.
The nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, has also restricted access to Mint, the Journal reported.
The Journal also reported that Wells Fargo has increased security to a level that has prevented aggregators from being able to automatically pull customer data from the bank’s servers.
Mint says it provides the tools to put “all your financial information into one place, so you can finally get the entire picture.”
But for programs like Mint and Quicken, which is used by many small business operators, to work effectively, they need access to a user’s various accounts at different institutions. BusinessInsider reports that small business owners have said they had issues accessing data through Quicken in late October.
Why would big banks restrict access to these services? The data-aggregators may put a strain on the financial institutions’ networks as the number of startups offering personal-finance tracking and budget has increased. This type of data access also raises security concerns because the apps are not required to adhere to the same standards as financial institutions.
Mint says this about its security measures: “We’re obsessive about security and protect your data with the same 128-bit encryption and physical security that banks use.”