CBA consolidates Oz online banking lead with aggregation offer

CBA consolidates Oz online banking lead with aggregation offer

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has become the first of the big four domestic Australian banks to launch an account aggregation service, consolidating customers' online accounts onto a single Web page. The bank says it has structured its offering to allay regulatory fears about PIN number security.

The CBA service is provided by Sydney-based financial software house Parkers' Edge. It uses screen-scraping technology to enable consumers to view and link to all of their accounts across the Web from a single site.

Australian regulators have raised concerns about the activities of the screen scrapers, which require consumers to provide security information relating to their online accounts. In a bid to alleviate these fears, CBA is providing an encrypted "PIN vault", an online safe deposit box for secure storage of passwords and PINs which only the consumer can access.

A CBA account is not required to operate the service which is provided free of charge.

Account aggregation is already offered in Australia by AMP, Macquarie Bank and most recently Internet portal ninemsn, but CBA is the first of the big four retail banks to launch such a service. It is expecting rapid uptake of the technology among its 1.5 million online banking customers. CBA's move is expected to be a catalyst for the launch of similar services by rival banks.

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