Varo Money, Yodlee Champion Data Privacy With New Partnership

pexels-photo-107989More data openness plus more consumer trust equals more business—this appears to be the conclusion multiple companies are reaching, particularly fintechs Envestnet Yodlee and Varo Money.

Financial data aggregator and technology provider Envestnet Yodlee today announced a partnership with Silicon Valley-based fintech startup Varo Money, in order to strengthen Varo’s mobile offerings with concise financial data, which will probably be more consumer-facing than most data-driven services.

Two-year old Varo seeks to provide its users with financial alerts and services including credit and debit, lending (a product the company also launched earlier this month) and budgeting, among others.

Alongside Yodlee, Varo is one of the founding members of the Consumer Financial Rights Data, or CFDR group, which was officially announced last week.

The group was founded by several fintechs in tandem with Varo and Envestnet Yodlee (including Ripple, Betterment, and Kabbage) and seeks to spur fintech innovation while also championing the right of consumers to their data, in terms of both privacy and access.

Talk over consumer data and open banking sparked in 2016, and the topic remains a concern for the global financial community as banks and financial institutions debate over policies and regulations such as the controversial PSD2 law for the United Kingdom, set to come into effect in 2018.

“PSD2 provides open API access to payment accounts, but doesn’t speak to, nor does it care about, savings or lending accounts,” said David Hamilton, CEO of financial data aggregation company eWise. “It’s a very thin slice of the relationship a consumer has with their financial institution.”

It is, if the consumer completes all of these activities in the same place. For the Old Guard of banking, a consumer would save, check, and apply for loans all at one place, something which mobile-only neobanks such as Varo are trying to recreate.

While Varo is still in beta mode, the company is using a variety of technologies, including AI—or at least machine learning in its chatbot VAL, created in a 2016 partnership with Kasisto—and big data analytics—provided to the user for clearer financials—in order to create a more holistic banking experience on mobile.

Varo’s partnership integrates Yodlee’s RESTful Aggregation API—a tool which will allow access to Yodlee’s Financial Data platform for data insights it will presumably then share with its user base given its stake in the CFDR group.

According to Hamilton, 88% of the data created on a given day is personal data, and consumers—particularly those of a certain age, at which Varo’s platform is aimed—are less and less willing to part with it if they don’t directly see the benefits themselves.

“The clients we’re working with are the ones who have realized that financial services is going to be data-driven,” said Hamilton. “People are recognizing that [their] data has value, and that [companies] can turn that data into revenue.”

To learn more about mobile banking and data analytics, join us in San Jose on March 6-7 for Bank Innovation 2017, where the best conversations in fintech take place. Click here to register.

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