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Understanding the CFPB’s Open Banking Proposal: A New Era for Financial Data Rights

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken a significant step towards modernizing financial data access with its recent open banking proposal. Issued on October 19, 2023, this proposal aims to enhance consumer financial data rights and align the United States with global standards. In this blog post, we will explore the main aspects of the CFPB’s open banking proposal and its potential impact on the financial sector.

Skale Money Key Takeaways

  • Enhanced Consumer Control: The proposal emphasizes giving consumers greater control over their financial data, allowing them to manage who can access their information and ensuring data is shared securely with their consent.
  • Security and Standardization: The framework includes stringent security measures and mandates the use of standardized, secure, and interoperable APIs to protect consumer data both in transit and at rest.
  • Increased Competition and Innovation: By making financial data more accessible, the proposal aims to drive competition and innovation within the financial sector, improving customer service and providing more diverse financial products.
  • Regulatory Framework: The proposal outlines specific requirements for data providers, authorized third parties, and data aggregators, ensuring they develop and maintain interfaces for timely data access and adhere to strict information security and communication standards.
  • Implementation Timeline: The compliance timeline for data providers is staggered based on their asset and revenue thresholds, ranging from 6 months to 4 years from the final rule publication, giving entities time to adapt to the new requirements.

What Is Open Banking?

Open banking refers to the practice of allowing third-party financial service providers to access consumer banking information through the use of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). 

This system promotes transparency, innovation, and competition by enabling consumers to share their financial data securely with different financial institutions.

Understanding Open Banking

Open banking has been gaining traction globally, with regions like Europe and Australia leading the way. The concept originated to create a more integrated and competitive financial ecosystem, providing consumers with better financial products and services. The CFPB’s open banking rule is the latest effort to bring these innovations to the U.S. financial market.

How Does Open Banking Work?

At its core, open banking relies on APIs to facilitate the secure exchange of financial data between banks and third-party providers. Consumers can authorize these providers to access their banking information, which can then be used to offer tailored financial products, payment services, and more. 

This system ensures that data is shared securely and only with the consumer’s consent.

The Promise of Open Banking

The promise of open banking lies in its potential to revolutionize the financial services industry. By making financial data more accessible, it can foster greater innovation, improve customer service, and drive competition among financial institutions. 

For instance, in Europe, open banking has enabled new fintech companies to provide innovative services that challenge traditional banks.

Open Banking Examples

Examples of open banking implementations can be seen in Europe with the PSD2 regulation and in Australia with the Consumer Data Right (CDR). These frameworks have paved the way for a more connected and competitive financial ecosystem, offering consumers a wider range of financial products and services.

Benefits of Open Banking

Open banking offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Consumer Control Over Data: Consumers have greater control over who can access their financial information.
  • Enhanced Security Measures: Standardized APIs ensure secure data transmission.
  • Increased Competition and Innovation: More players in the market drive innovation and better services.

Risks of Open Banking

Despite its benefits, open banking also presents certain risks:

  • Data Privacy Concerns: Ensuring that consumer data is protected is paramount.
  • Security Risks: The increased data sharing can potentially expose vulnerabilities.
  • Regulatory Challenges: Ensuring compliance with varying regulations can be complex.

CFPB’s Open Banking Proposal

The CFPB’s open banking proposal, issued on October 19, 2023, aims to accelerate the adoption of open banking in the U.S. by implementing Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act. This proposal was open for public comments until December 29, 2023, with the final regulation expected by Fall 2024.

Framework Overview

The proposal establishes a comprehensive framework for governing consumer access to financial data through APIs. It emphasizes consumer consent and control over financial data, ensuring that consumers have the authority to manage their information. 

The framework includes stringent security measures to protect data both in transit and at rest and mandates standardized, secure, and interoperable APIs. By fostering broader competition and innovation within the financial sector, the proposal aims to enhance consumer choice and service quality. 

Regulatory oversight will be crucial to managing the opportunities and risks associated with this shift.

Covered Entities

The proposal identifies three main categories of entities that will be regulated:

  • Data Providers: These include financial institutions, card issuers, and other entities that control or possess consumer financial product information. They are responsible for making this data available to consumers upon request.
  • Authorized Third Parties: Entities that meet authorization requirements and seek access to consumer data on behalf of consumers to provide requested products or services.
  • Data Aggregators: Entities hired by authorized third parties to access covered data on behalf of consumers.

Covered Financial Products and Services

Initially, the regulation will cover “Regulation E accounts” and “Regulation Z credit cards,” along with the facilitation of payments from these accounts. The scope includes transaction information, account balances, payment initiation data, account terms, upcoming bills, and account verification details. 

It excludes confidential commercial information, fraud prevention data, and information not retrievable in the ordinary course.

Data Providers Requirements

Data providers must develop and maintain both consumer and developer interfaces to enable timely access to the most updated covered data. They are prohibited from using screen scraping and must provide data in a machine-readable, standardized format. 

Providers must also disclose documentation, including metadata, to facilitate third-party access and use. Importantly, they cannot charge consumers or authorized third parties fees for accessing their data, although compliance may incur significant costs.

Authorized Third Parties and Data Aggregators Requirements

To become an authorized third party, entities must obtain express informed consent from consumers through a signed authorization disclosure. These parties are subject to restrictions on data collection, use, and retention, and must adhere to stringent information security and communication requirements. 

Data can only be used for purposes reasonably necessary to provide the consumer with the requested financial product or service. Data aggregators, if used, must comply with the same obligations and be disclosed in the authorization document.

Implementation Timeline

The compliance timeline for data providers will be staggered based on their asset and revenue thresholds and entity type. This ranges from 6 months to 4 years from the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register, giving entities time to adapt to the new requirements.


The CFPB’s open banking proposal marks a transformative moment for financial data rights in the United States. By enhancing consumer control, ensuring data security, and fostering innovation, this proposal has the potential to reshape the financial sector. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the public commenting process to help shape the final regulation and ensure it meets the needs of all parties involved.