Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Open banking reforms in Australia have been delayed after the country's consumer regulator identified the need for further work to be carried out to ensure data security and privacy.

Under the revised timeline, confirmed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), major banks in Australia will be required to make data available on credit and debit card, deposit and transaction accounts by 1 July 2020, while data from mortgage and personal loan accounts must be opened up by 1 November 2020.

The data will only be able to be shared with accredited service providers at the request of consumers whose accounts are with the banks.

The new timeline "will allow additional implementation work and testing to be completed and better ensure necessary security and privacy protections operate effectively", the ACCC said in a statement.

The introduction of open banking will be the first step in the implementation of the new consumer data right (CDR) in Australia. The liberation of data held by electricity suppliers and telecoms providers is to follow on.

The ACCC said the CDR "will give consumers the right to safely access data about them, held by businesses, and direct this information be transferred to trusted third parties of their choice". It said data portability can boost competition and also "allows businesses to make more tailored offerings to consumers".

"The CDR is a complex but fundamental competition and consumer reform and we are committed to delivering it only after we are confident the system is resilient, user friendly and properly tested," ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said. "Robust privacy protection and information security are core features of the CDR and establishing appropriate regulatory settings and IT infrastructure cannot be rushed."

Open banking was pioneered in the UK after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) mandated changes to the UK's business and consumer current account markets in a bid to drive greater competition and innovation. The scope of the open banking mandate subsequently evolved to reflect the broader reforms that were being implemented at the time via the EU's second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Recently, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) set out plans to build on the UK's open banking regime and explore how a new system of open finance should evolve from it, including what role it as the regulator should play in that. The FCA's call for input is open until 17 March 2020.

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