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Create a Account Aggregator Handle to simplify the process of availing loan and other financial services

17 Jun 2022

Imagine that you are the owner of a small business who is looking to get a loan to expand your business. Getting loans is a complex and long process as you realise when you go to the bank to apply for one. The lender will typically ask you for a myriad of documents (such as ITRs, bank statements, GST returns for small businesses) to process your request and the difficult part is each type of document is available through a different process. 

Account Aggregator makes it easy for the borrower to share the necessary financial documents (bank statements in this case) with the lender. All of this can be done without stepping away from your work – in a safe, secure and consented manner through account aggregators, which are licensed by RBI to manage a customer’s consent and data sharing process.

Similarly, account aggregators are useful for other financial products and services as well such as opening up a new bank account, getting a new credit card, getting an insurance policy, wealth management and more. 

What are Account Aggregators? 

Account Aggregators are consent managers that allow easy flow of financial data by acting as a conduit between customer’s financial information providers and financial information users. They allow users to link all financial accounts to one data handle securely and give  consent to share the data to other financial institutions as needed. 

Like UPI apps that allow customers to link their bank accounts to a UPI handle and transact seamlessly without the need to enter their bank details, Account Aggregators allow customers to link their financial accounts to an Account Aggregator handle.  The Account Aggregator handle allows the customers to give a consent to share their data securely and instantaneously from their existing financial services provider (referred to as the Financial Information Provider (FIP)), which have the customer’s account data, to a potential financial services provider  (referred to as the Financial Information USer, FIU) which intends to offer a financial service to the customer. They remove the friction between customers and financial institutions by making the sharing data real time, condensing the whole process to just a few clicks. 

Account aggregators are extremely secure as the data flowing through them is encrypted (data can be decrypted by FIUs only) and they are merely the data pipes in the transaction who do not read your data or use it in any form or way. Further, consent to access your data can only be provided by you and can only be used for the purpose you have consented to as specified under the Meity Electronic Consent Artefact. 

How to create a handle on Account Aggregator? 

Account aggregators are licensed and regulated by RBI and hence, are trustworthy.  As of date, 5 account aggregators are operational and another 5 have in-principle approval, awaiting their operational licence. Customers can make an account on any of the operational AAs as all of them are expected to be connected with all financial entities who are integrated on Account Aggregator. Follow the steps given below to create an account: 

  1. Download the app or open up the website. 

    The list of currently working Account Aggregators in India is available here from which one can choose any of them to download on phone (currently only available on Android) or to open their website to create the account.
     
  2. Click on register/sign up 

    Find the button called ‘create a new account’ and click on it 

  3. Enter relevant information 

    Some basic information about the customer such as name, phone number, email, etc. is required to make an account. A new window will open where the customer can enter this information. Account Aggregators prefer their customers to use the phone number linked to their bank accounts as that allows them for easy discovery of all accounts linked to that phone number. However, customers may also add additional phone numbers later. 

    In this step customers will also be asked to create a username or a username will be created for them by the AA, most commonly in the form of yourphonenumber@aa.com, similar to how most customers have their UPI handle. The customer’s account has been created and this username is the Account Aggregator Handle. It can now be used with the financial institutions so that they can request the customer’s information.

  4. Enter OTP 

    A One Time Password will be sent to the customer’s  phone to verify the phone number and identity. Please enter that to verify yourself and proceed with account creation. 

  5. Discover your bank accounts  linked to your mobile number 

    The customer will be shown a list of the financial accounts which are linked to their mobile number with which they registered on the Account Aggregator app, with a check box for them to select the banks you would want to link to your Account Aggregator handle.

  6. Link your bank accounts 

    The customer can then select the accounts among the displayed bank accounts that they wish to link to their account aggregator account to enable data sharing as and when the custom consents to share for accessing financial services. The existing bank will confirm the linking request by sending an OTP on the registered mobile number. 

    Please note that linking bank accounts does not allow anyone, including the account aggregator, access to the  documents and financial data. It is only when the customer explicitly allows consent to a financial institution to view them that they are given access to them. 

How do you give consent to share data through Account Aggregator?

Now that the account aggregator handle/account has been created, customers can link financial information available across multiple accounts such as bank statements, insurance documents, etc. to a single Account Aggregator  handle. Post successful linking, customers can use it to allow their data access to other Financial Information Users (FIUs) as needed by providing them with the account aggregator handle ( yourphonenumber@aa.com as explained above) and approving their request to access their data. For more clarification, a demo video of the process can be found here

This will allow the FIU to process the financial information the customer has consented to  share for their account as long as they have allowed them access. Customers can revoke access at any time by going to the dashboard and clicking on the revoke access option. 

For example, if a customer is trying to get a loan from a bank there are several bank statements the lending banks require which they evaluate before deciding whether or not to approve the loan request. Account aggregators make this process much faster by allowing customers to give the lending bank (FIU) your account aggregator handle and make a request. The FIU sends the request to the borrower’s account aggregator and the customer can approve it by logging into their account allowing the FIU immediate access to all the documents required making the process of securing a loan much faster.

Why use Account Aggregators? 

Account Aggregators are set to redefine the data paradigm in the financial world by making the process of sharing and accessing data completely secure, consented and real time. With India becoming more and more digitised, Account Aggregators mark the next development in the financial sector which will allow you to share data through your phone instantaneously. It is much easier and faster for users to use the account aggregators instead of taking the time to go to different financial institutes to gather all the data, instead using the account aggregator to have it all digitised at one place. 

For example, returning to the bank loan example, account aggregators make collecting documents from multiple banks easy and efficient by allowing you to send requests for this data to the Financial Information Providers via the Account Aggregator app and give it to the Financial Information User (Bank in this case) through just a few clicks instead of the multiple hours or days it might take otherwise. 

Account Aggregators are also useful for financial institutions as they help confirm that the data given is authentic as it is digitally signed by the bank which speeds up the processes and reduces the time taken by FIUs to confirm the validity of your data.