Australia’s ‘big four’ to be initial target for open banking

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is proposing that only Australia’s big four banks mdash; ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, NAB and Westpac mdash; will initially be subject to the new open banking regime.

The new open banking rules will function as a subset of the yet-to-be-legislated Consumer Data Right (CDR). Under the open banking regime, customers will be able to direct that their bank release data, via an API, relating to their use of the bank’s services to a third party.

The ACCC today formally launched a consultation on the implementation of open banking. Under its proposal, most banks, including the related brands operated by the big four, will not initially be covered.

In addition, open banking will initially only relate to current customers of banks that use online banking services.

The ACCC envisages that the first tranche of open banking rules will come into effect from 1 July 2019. Within 12 months, all Australian banks, including the related brands of the big four, will be brought within the scope of open banking.

The government last month released an exposure draft of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Bill 2018, which will implement the CDR. The bill would task the ACCC with determining how the CDR will apply to a particular sector of the economy.

Following banking, the telecommunications and energy sectors are expected to be among the first industries to be subject to CDR obligations.

The ACCC said today it is intending to have a phased rollout of open banking, with the initial tranche of rules not addressing every issue.

Although the ACCC says that it will further refine the banking data covered by the new rules, it today offered some insight into the kind of data that a bank customer may be able to request be transferred to an authorised data recipient.

The data includes basic contact and account information and a bank’s product information (including generic product data mdash; something the ACCC acknowledged will require the development of a standardised taxonomy to assist comparison between institutions). In addition, open banking is expected to cover a range of transaction data.

The ACCC has proposed a minimum data set that will include opening and closing balance of an account for a specified period, transaction dates, an identifier for the other party in a transaction, the amount of a transaction, balances prior to and following a transaction, transaction descriptions, and the category of a transaction.

In addition to the initial data covered by the rules, the draft framework released today includes proposed accreditation rules for organisations that will be authorised to receive data. Initially the ACCC is eyeing a single general tier of accreditation for the first version of the open banking rules.

“It is important to the success of the Consumer Data Right regime that consumers, businesses and stakeholders have transparency over the ACCC’s approach in setting up these detailed rules,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.

“The overarching principle the ACCC will take is to implement the Consumer Data Right in a way that provides benefits to consumers, without compromising data security.”

“The Consumer Data Right will be a major change in the way consumers can use their data and consulting the views of consumers and businesses is a top priority for the ACCC,” Court said.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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