The problem with asking for bank statements
Asking your clients for bank statements and account information is rarely an easy conversation.
For starters, it’s highly inconvenient for them. It could mean hours on the phone to their bank to obtain everything you’ve requested. Often you’re involved, taking time out of your day to guide them through the process.
What’s worse, when you receive this information, there could be things missing due to badly cropped screenshots or photocopied statements. So you have to ask your client to start the process again.
And then there’s data security. Clients are becoming increasingly more concerned with sharing sensitive information and want to know where it will be stored, who can access it, how long you’ll keep it for and how it will be safely destroyed. Answering these questions with clarity and confidence is tricky when you’re reliant on paper-based processes or email to verify banking information.
No more badly cropped screenshots
We’re excited to announce the launch of a brand new check type to solve this problem. Banking information allows you to securely verify balances, transactions, payees, income and affordability in minutes.
The new check uses open banking technology to give you and your client more security and convenience. It will make the hurdle of asking for banking information easier to overcome.
But we recognise that open banking technology is a new concept and often misunderstood. So we’ve created this short video to help explain open banking to your client, debunk the myths and help your client feel more comfortable using it.
The video covers:
- Why your clients are being asked to do a banking information check (00:12)
- Why they can’t just email screenshots of their bank statements (00:38)
- Why they can’t drop off or post their bank statement (01:13)
- What open banking technology is (01:40)
- Why open banking is more secure (02:14)
- How the banking information check works (02:32)
So you’ve been asked to complete a banking information check using open banking. But what is open banking? And is it safe?
Let’s start with why you’re being asked to do this.
Regulated businesses such as legal firms and letting agents are required by law to carry out anti-money laundering checks whenever they work with a new client. This usually involves checking your identity as well as verifying banking information. It’s all about making sure that funds that pass through the firm are from legitimate sources. And as frustrating as it might be to have to do this, if they don’t carry out these checks, they face severe penalties, including large fines and even jail time.
So why can’t you just email a screenshot?
Emailing your information exposes it to a much higher risk of hacking. Around 65,000 attempts to hack small- to medium-sized businesses occur in the UK every day, around 4,500 of which are successful. And given the lack of security surrounding email, it’s much more vulnerable to these hacks.
So it’s critical that the services you use are taking really good care of your data.
You should be able to find out where your data will be stored, how long it will be stored for and how many people can access it. If it’s stored in emails or if a business isn’t able to answer those questions, that’s a little bit concerning.
And how about dropping off or posting bank statements?
Well I personally shudder at the thought of how many businesses could have my information stored in dusty filing cabinets over the years. I have no idea how secure it is or how many people can access it.
But risk aside, this is a far less convenient way of doing things.
Spending hours on hold to your bank trying to action the sending of bank statements, or taking half a day off work to drop in documents to your legal firm or letting agent doesn’t sound like much fun.
What is open banking?
In 2018, UK-regulated banks and payment service providers were told by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to let you share your financial information with other organisations should you wish to do so.
And all of this was actually driven by consumers like yourself. People wanted more control over their data and money.You may have seen this technology used in budgeting apps, such as Yolt or Money Dashboard.
You can also see this offered in most online banking apps, allowing you to view the balances you hold in other accounts.
And why is it more secure?
All authorised providers of open banking technology in the UK (which includes our provider, TrueLayer) are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
This means they’re required to meet the same rigorous security standards as any bank and they’re also bound by the rules of GDPR.
So how does it work?
When you connect a banking provider to the Amiqus platform you are asked to enter your online banking login details.This does not mean that Amiqus or any other third party can access or store this information.
You will be redirected to your bank to log in, as you would usually do when accessing your online banking. Here, you can give permission to share very specific financial information with us.
The information is pushed to us through an encrypted connection.
You will be redirected to your bank to log in, as you would usually do when accessing your online banking. Here, you will give permission to share very specific financial information with us
Unlike emailing or posting bank statements, open banking means you have complete control over what is shared, who it’s shared with and how long for. You can revoke permission at any time.
I hope this has helped you better understand open banking, but if you’re still unsure, Moneysavingexpert.com has some fantastic resources.
Thanks for watching.