I moved into a new apartment and the rental agent told me they were using a third party referral service that I was not thinking of.
I received an email from this service, a company called KeySafe TV, and proceeded with the request.
It seemed pretty normal until I entered my bank details for the credit check, clicked next and then it redirected me to my Barclays online banking login page.
A tenant was asked for his bank details when a tenant referral company finalized his file
It seems strange and false to me. I didn’t log into my online banking because I didn’t want anyone to have access to it.
I did some research and found that they seemed to want full access to the equivalent of a year of bank data – my balance, my entries and exits. What is going on? Is this allowed? SC, by e-mail
Georges nixon, of It’s money, answers: KeySafe is a Shropshire-based tenant referral agency that says on its website that it works with big names like Connells, Hamptons and Your Move.
It has been around since 1999 but seems to have fully embraced the digital world.
Because what you’re talking about is something called ‘open banking’, a data sharing initiative launched in January 2018 designed to open up UK banking and personal finance, by allowing people to provide their financial data to others. banks, budgeting apps, lenders, credit reference agencies and other third party companies.
Importantly, all of this is done entirely with the consent of the sharers.
They must be willing to provide their data to anyone who requests it, consent to secure APIs (as data pools are called) that allow apps and banks to talk to each other, and whoever receives your data must delete it when asked.
Open banking got off to a fairly slow start, in large part because of understandable concerns about privacy and also whether users have actually benefited from it.
Despite all the talk about the finance revolution, open banking is still often associated with just being able to see all of your bank accounts and credit cards in one place.
Nonetheless, the system now has over 3 million users, according to the organization that implemented it, and KeySafe has used it for 60,000 tenant requests, which brings us back to your case.
The benchmark agency partnered with a software company named Salt Edge in February last year to deliver the open banking software you were bothering about, having originally released it in 2019.
The announcement said the partnership allowed KeySafe to “securely access tenant bank details” and made it the first tenant referral agency to use open banking through this service, which it dubbed “PreView.” .
Essentially, rather than handing over three months of payslips, PreView, subject to your consent, will examine your bank details to determine your financial condition and creditworthiness.
The ad added, “The KeySafe service allows an applicant to select many forms of income for owners to consider and the financial picture is presented in a comprehensive manner, with a 360 degree view.
“Since the process is digitized and no additional documentation such as bank statements and payslips is required, verification is smoother and completely non-intrusive for tenants. “
We will use the open banking facilitated by our partner (Salt Edge) to view your bank account information.
However, the company has a rating of 2.5 / 5 on the Trustpilot review site, and many negative reviews express the same concerns as you.
And there is also another thing to note.
Public banking companies must be licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority, but KeySafe, as an SEO company, is not, which is why it has partnered with Salt Edge.
This means that your bank details are not actually provided to KeySafe, but to Salt Edge.
And your remark about the company’s request for a year of bank data also raised eyebrows. Initially, you thought this meant that you were being asked to consent to KeySafe and Salt Edge having continued access to your data for one year.
KeySafe will analyze – with its consent – applicants’ banking information to determine their creditworthiness and affordability when listing tenants
This would have violated open banking rules, which require a customer to give consent every 90 days to any business wishing to access their information. And this 90 day rule does not apply to a business that wants to access more than 90 days of transactions.
In this case, consent must be given each time.
It was Money who asked Gareth Fowler, Managing Director of KeySafe, a number of questions about the proposal.
He says the process takes as little as 4 minutes, but some have expressed suspicion of handing over their bank details.
We asked if it was true that tenants were asked to offer access to their bank data for a year, if they could opt out without being at a disadvantage, and what happens to financial data shared with Salt Edge.
Some 83 percent of applicants are happy to provide access to their bank information, according to figures from the KeySafe website.
Gareth Fowler said: “The information we request from each potential tenant is entirely permission-based and if that permission is granted, our partner Salt Edge has read-only access to the transaction data for the past 12 months that we use. to assess an individual’s suitability primarily based on affordability and akin to criteria now increasingly used by most lenders.
“We are not asking for 12 months of access in the future. As you rightly say, that would be unnecessary and intrusive, and we are not asking for it. ‘
He added: “The high level of acceptance of this request that we are getting, which is higher than most others in the industry, is in large part due to the fact that we do not seek continued consent.
“But if a candidate chooses to opt out of open banking, or their particular circumstances do not lend themselves to a final decision, we can go a manual route where we contact their employer, request additional documents, and so on.
“We do not treat these applicants less favorably for using the more traditional process and our recommendations are based on similar criteria.”
He said all data provided to Salt Edge through the application process was “deleted after 24 hours.”
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