HBOS wants its account details taken off Egg’s new ‘Money Management’ service, but Egg has refused. Nobody is quite sure of which bank is in the right. It appears that the APACS guidelines drawn up in December 2001 have failed to completely solve the controversy surrounding account aggregation in the UK.
Egg has refused to withdraw details of HBOS accounts from its new aggregation service.
Despite complaints from Halifax Bank of Scotland, Egg has refused to withdraw the high street bank’s account details from ‘Money Manager’ its new account aggregation service. Account aggregation services are designed to give individuals access to all their online accounts in one secure location.
It should all be simple. A consumer either gives their account passwords to the account aggregation providing institution, or stores them encrypted on their own PC. When they want to access one or more of their online accounts they simply go to the account aggregation service and there they should be, all on one screen. However, it doesn’t quite work like that.
Account aggregation falls down because it requires different FSIs to co-operate for the common good and to be relatively open towards each other. Bank clearing organization APACS released guidelines in December 2001, hoping that these would allow account aggregation to take place with the consent of all parties involved.
The industry hoped to avoid a repeat of the Citibank debacle: Citibank launched its ‘My Accounts’ account aggregation service in September 2001 but soon encountered opposition from rival banks such as Abbey National and HBOS. They refused to allow their customers’ data to be accessed, and demanded that they be removed from the list of accessible account providers.
Egg’s spat with HBOS proves that the APACS guidelines have not completely achieved what they set out to. HBOS argues that Egg needs its permission to access its customers’ accounts; Egg argues that it does not need permission because it does not actually gain access to those customers’ passwords. The guidelines appear to have been breached – but no-one is completely sure.
Related research: Datamonitor, 2002: Account aggregation: the right way forward?