ACCC stays course on Open Banking

John Kavanagh Finance regulation

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will push ahead to support the planned Open Banking trial from July, despite the fact that the bill setting out consumer data rights has lapsed.

The government introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Bill 2019 in February but it had not made any progress through Parliament by the end of last week, when Parliament sat for the last time before the election.

An ACCC spokesperson told Banking Day: “While the passage of the legislation will be important for the latter stages of pilots, we will continue to progress with the banks.”

The banking trial is scheduled to start in July, and the big banks with obligations from that point are expected to be ready.

The new consumer data right is designed to give consumers and businesses access transaction information held by various service providers. It authorises accredited third parties and “gateways” to provide access to the data.

The Government’s aim is to give consumers more control over their transaction information, leading to more choice in where they do business and more convenience in managing financial and other services.

CDR should reduce the barriers that prevent consumers from shifting between service providers. Consumers will be able to direct that their data be shared with other providers.

The Government has said it will apply CDR to banks, energy companies and telcos initially and then across the economy. CDR as it relates to banking is referred to as Open Banking.

“The type of information consumers are able to request will be established through the instrument designating the sector, as well as clarification of this through the consumer data rules made by the ACCC,” the information memorandum accompanying the bill says.

Late last month, the ACCC published draft banking rules for consultation. The rules cover data requests, consents for data collection and use, authorisation and accreditation, dispute resolution, privacy safeguards and data standards.

The Government is also hoping CDR will open up business opportunities “as new ways of using data are created.”

The system will be regulated by the Office and the Australian Information Commissioner and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Part of the ACCC’s role will be to designate new sectors of the economy for inclusion in CDR.

A data standards body will be established to help develop formatting and data processing standards for the provision of data to consumers and accredited third parties.