Fintech or telecoms – please offer us privacy-as-a-service

Written by on October 11, 2016 in Opinion with 0 Comments
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A fintech webinar hosted by Business Review and presented by Current Analysis covered a lot of ground. Much of it was familiar to a veteran telecoms hack (veteran sounds better than old), one used to the glaring similarities between telcos and banks.

One major theme was the disruption that is being caused by fintech intruders into various parts of the banking arena. Some target payments, others lending, others financial advice. As to who would win, the disruptor or incumbent, the weight of argument came down on the side of the bank, as not only the survivor but also the ultimate winner in the fintech struggle. The presenter cited track record, customer relationship, financial strength – the usual suspects – to support this point of view.

Interestingly, the presenter – and a straw poll of the webinar attendees – agreed that some 62% of people would be happy for their bank to be an aggregator of information for them. This is quite lucky, as the forthcoming European Payments Services Directive II (the sequel) is coming soon – on 1st January 2018 to be exact.

This is a) a ridiculously short deadline, as David Birch points out and b) has ramifications which have very possibly not been thought through (quelle surprise, given the random and self serving nature of most European policy making).

Although the direction of travel for banks has been from a closed shop, where customers interact with their bank via internal and presumably closely guarded APIs, to an open environment, this drops everything into overdrive.

In just 15 months, this Directive will enable third parties – the slide showed the logos of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and ‘fintech’ as examples of said third parties – to have access to a bank’s data.

This, presumably, will make the direct marketing operations of these third parties even more targeted, relevant, annoying and stupid. To add to the pile of places you have been on the internet, add the amount (or possibly percentage) of monthly spend on entertainment versus food, then add Facebook or Google and you will have a huge number of ‘just in time’, personalised and irritating offers being flung at you.


What would be very interesting to find out is what the other 48% of people think about who (if anyone) should do the aggregation for them. The money would surely be on quite a large percentage saying ‘my telco’.

In which case, there will be a battle of between telcos and fintech companies to offer you an information aggregation service.

Let us hope at least one telco or bank differentiates itself by not sharing your information, by simply providing privacy and security as a service. That would get our vote.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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