Consumer Action publishes free educational guides on FinTech user privacy

Project supported by data network Plaid empowers consumers to protect their financial account information

Consumer Action, a national consumer education and advocacy nonprofit, announced today that it has published two free consumer guides on the role of data networks in FinTech and will host a related webinar in early November.

Millions of consumers of all income levels use FinTech apps on mobile phones and computers to monitor and manage their finances and conduct financial transactions. Consumer Action has shown that access to safe, sound and well-designed financial technology can help consumers improve their finances.

Most FinTech apps ask users to connect them to one or more of their financial services accounts so that they can do what they’re designed for. That’s why it's important for FinTech users to be aware of data networks—also known as data aggregators—since these companies often play a role in connecting financial apps to users' financial accounts and may give users more control over their data. Many banks and FinTech apps have formed partnerships with data networks to protect financial account login credentials, encrypt user data, and give consumers options regarding data sharing.

The first of the two new publications, Understanding the data networks that help you connect your bank accounts to FinTech apps, explains what data networks are, what they do, how to learn if a data network is being used by your chosen app, and how to control the collection and use of your data.

The second publication, Safer connections: How data networks help you manage your financial data, expounds on the first, explaining how data sharing dashboards can help you monitor your account connections and manage and revoke account access for apps. It also offers steps you can take to enhance your privacy and security when using FinTech.

These and all other Consumer Action publications can be read online or downloaded at no charge, and can be freely reproduced by community-based organizations to distribute to their individual clients and throughout their communities.

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, Consumer Action will host a free webinar, “The Role of Data Networks in the Fintech Ecosystem: What consumers need to know.” (Register here.) The training, which is open to the public, will focus on expanding consumer awareness of financial data sharing practices and the role of data networks in helping to achieve transparency and control. Speakers include Ben White, who works on policy research and advocacy at Plaid; Sean Creehan, FinTech risk and policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; and Daniel Murphy, manager of policy at the Financial Health Network.

The webinar will cover:

  • How FinTech is expanding access to financial systems
  • The role of data networks in keeping financial data safe
  • The role of financial institutions in financial data sharing
  • Updates on evolving FinTech/data sharing practices and consumer protections
  • Resources, tips and tools that FinTech users can use to protect their financial information

Those interested in attending the free 90-minute webinar can register to participate online.

Production of the two fact sheets and the webinar was achieved with funding from the data network Plaid.

“Because FinTech has the potential to break down barriers to financial access and inclusion for underserved communities, Consumer Action sees value in educating consumers about the wise use of digital money management tools,” said Linda Sherry, Consumer Action’s director of national priorities. “A crucial part of being an informed and empowered FinTech consumer is knowing who may be accessing your financial account data, seeking transparency in the apps you choose, and taking advantage of opportunities to control how your information is used.”

About Consumer Action

Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.

By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website ( and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. More than 6,000 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.




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