Open banking technology is poised to change the way the world completes transactions, but three quarters (75 per cent) of Canadians say they are wary of the concept, citing concerns about the privacy of their financial data, according to a new survey commissioned by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
The online survey asked more than 1,500 Canadians how they feel about the concept of open banking, which allows for the secure sharing of financial information — such as account balances, transactions and payment information — with registered third-party providers such as authorized retailers, social media platforms and fintech companies. The sharing of this information enables registered parties to provide consumers with better services, such as access to credit and personal financial insights.
Among respondents’ top concerns with open banking: the security and privacy of financial data (cited by 62 per cent of respondents); trusting large tech companies with their financial information (51 per cent), and believing that open banking will deliver enough value to drive a change in their current behaviour (44 per cent).
However, the survey also revealed that Canadians could warm up to the idea of open banking if certain measures were taken to address their concerns, including: additional access procedures such as an authentication password and security questions (cited by 34 per cent of respondents); biometric technology such as fingerprint or facial recognition (33 per cent); and real-time analysis of their payments to ensure that they conform to regular patterns (32 per cent).
One-in-five respondents (21 per cent) also said they would be willing to share banking account data with registered non-banking third parties in return for a better deal or other benefits. This is an interesting finding, as use cases in other countries have demonstrated that open banking could help create products and services that are tailored to customer spending patterns and lifestyle choices, in addition to creating a far greater range of options for reward and loyalty programs.
“Open banking is poised to transform banking operations worldwide but remains a relatively new concept to many Canadians,” said Bob Vokes, who leads Accenture’s Financial Services practice in Canada. “A critical element to open banking’s adoption is the right regulatory framework to ensure that consumers can decide which parties safely receive access to their financial information on a case-by-case basis — but to do that they’ll need to be convinced of the benefits. For example, by providing a lender with a holistic view of a borrower’s financial position, open banking could lead to faster approval rates, a higher loan amount or even a better interest rate.”
The survey also found that many Canadians (40 per cent) don’t understand the benefits of open banking enough to provide third-parties with access to their financial information, suggesting that public education could have a significant impact on consumers’ perception and adoption of open banking. In fact, one-in-five respondents (20 per cent) said they would want to know more about consumer protection from potential fraud before deciding on whether they would be interested in this concept.
“As we assess the impact of digital transformation in the financial space, open banking knocks down silos and makes transactions much more efficient,” said Andrew McFarlane, Accenture’s global head of open banking. “The technology is beneficial to both consumers and businesses because it enables smarter and faster decision-making. The gap in knowledge about open banking and its benefits presents an opportunity for stakeholders to educate and shift perception so Canada can keep up with the way the world is banking.”
Among other key survey findings:
- One in six respondents (17 per cent) said it would be beneficial to see all financial information in one place, and slightly fewer (14 per cent) like that they could be provided tailored offers like a better mortgage rate or higher savings interest rate.
- Approximately one in seven respondents (14 per cent) would consider accessing their bank account information directly from an online retailer to view their balance and make a payment without leaving the website or sharing any account details in preference of a credit card or debit card.
- Regionally, Quebecers are slightly more likely to be interested in open banking than are other Canadians (21 per cent versus 16 per cent, respectively).