Ottawa, March 10, 2011 -- The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) reminds Canadians to be aware of the possible risks of disclosing their online banking and credit card information to anyone, including financial aggregation services.
Financial aggregation services allow users who have different types of accounts (such as bank accounts, brokerage accounts and credit cards) with more than one financial institution to keep track of all of their financial transactions at a single website or application. Aggregation services are offered by some financial institutions and independent companies.
To use a financial aggregation service, consumers provide their user IDs and passwords for the online banking, credit card and other financial accounts they want to consolidate, so that the aggregation service can access these accounts to gather their financial information.
Before using an account aggregation service, consumers should find out what the consequences might be if they provide another party with access to their online banking information. Consumers should carefully review each financial institution's online banking user agreement to determine potential consequences for using an account aggregation service, and contact their financial institution if they have any questions.
Consumers should be aware that if they disclose their online banking information to any other party, including financial aggregators, they may risk losing their protection against unauthorized transactions. Some financial institutions' user agreements clearly state that users will be responsible for unauthorized transactions if they provide other parties, including financial aggregators, with their passwords and account information.
FCAC reminds consumers that it is their responsibility to:
- manage their banking and credit card information, including log-on IDs, and passwords according to the provisions of their user agreements
- review their user agreements to determine whether disclosure to another party that offers electronic account aggregation services is allowed
- understand what their responsibilities are in connection with such disclosure
- review the user agreements of the financial aggregation provider(s) they are planning to sign up with to understand the rights to access their financial data they are granting to the provider.
Consumers are currently protected from fraudulent credit card and banking transactions should their accounts be compromised. However, by disclosing their user IDs and passwords to a financial aggregator, in some cases consumers may be going against their financial institutions' user agreements and risk being held responsible for any losses that are a result of unauthorized transactions.
With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.
You can reach us through the FCAC Consumer Contact Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website: fcac.gc.ca.
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Acting Communications Manager