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Open Banking, Payments

How Open Banking Can Enable Payroll Data Access—the Right Way

Payroll data is a tremendous resource upon which fintechs and financial services providers can build better experiences for consumers and, at the same time, enable consumers to benefit more from their financial data.

But enabling access to payroll data isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. And we can’t build better experiences without a simple and trusted process for consumers. This is where open banking comes in. Open banking platforms can unlock payroll data, but such data access has to be done the right way with a consumer-centric model that ensures successful connections and collection of data.

How to Leverage Payroll Data the Right Way

Payroll data is a beneficial resource, but how it’s accessed is central to enhancing the customer experience and ensuring successful data collection. Let’s look at this in greater detail. 

API Connections Vs Credentialed Access

In some cases, data providers look to access payroll data by using a consumer’s credentials. Unfortunately, this model is overly cumbersome for the consumer. Unlike digital banking, where consumers know the data source and have login credentials, consumers are largely unaware of their payroll provider, and in many cases haven’t even set up an account to access a payroll portal. Plus, many employers use a firewall-protected HR portal to enable employees to view paystubs and other income information, which means the employee never directly interacts with the payroll provider. That firewall also protects the payroll data from external access. 

These credentialed-access hurdles make it painful for employees to permission data access and significantly depress successful connections to payroll data. With a low hit rate, financial services innovators or others looking to leverage such data are left with an awkward, sub-par user experience at best and no data at worst.

The best way to leverage payroll data is to provide technology that enables the consumer to easily access their data, and protects them while they do so. This is achieved through direct API connections to payroll providers that eliminate the need for employees to have or know their credentials. It even eliminates the need to know who their employer is using as a payroll provider.

By connecting directly via an API, an open banking platform provider partners with payroll organizations that are equally committed to providing consumers with access to their financial data. The open banking platform can then connect the employee with their payroll provider for them, enabling the employee to more readily benefit from their payroll data and, should they choose, permission access of that data to a fintech or financial service provider. 

Finicity is already leveraging direct API connections to payroll providers and is quickly expanding those tested and proven connections to reach more employers and benefit more employees. We already provide direct connectivity that covers tens of millions of employees in the U.S. Finicity has a history of building partnerships with leading data sources, such as our  direct API connection with the largest payroll provider.

In the case of payroll data, direct API connections have created the best experiences and led to the best outcomes for both our partners and for consumers. This remains consistent with our market push on direct API connections to a broad range of financial institutions.

Consumer-Centric Means Consumer Protection: Operating as a CRA

It’s not enough to promise consumer-centric processes or protection in word only. After all, leveraging payroll data the right way also comes down to how the open banking platform handles the data and how they involve the consumer in that process. 

One of the primary uses of payroll data is in lending. Our Finicity Lend™ solution set, for example, currently leverages payroll data to enhance income and employment verifications necessary for credit decisioning. In this use case, consumers can gain additional protection and strengthen engagement through the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). These protections hold the data provider accountable for data accuracy and ensure the consumer has a mechanism to dispute the data in case of issues. 

While other data providers claim FCRA compliance, at Finicity we’re not just talk. Finicity operates as a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), which means we are legally required to adhere to FCRA requirements. When data providers are delivering income, asset, and/or employment data for the purpose of credit decisioning, operating as a CRA is not only the best way to provide the data, it’s the right way. 

But data access that truly empowers the consumer and keeps data secure doesn’t stop there. We also keep the consumer at the center of all our data-access experiences with our CATTS data principles: Control, Access, Transparency, Traceability, and Security. These principles inform our policies, our products, and ultimately our entire approach to empowering the consumer with their financial data.

It all comes back to trust. Consumer-centric principles, reinforced both in word and in deed, establish trust between data access providers and consumers, as well as with financial institutions, payroll providers, and other financial services providers.

How Can Open Banking Platforms Use Payroll Data?

Payroll data enables financial service innovators to leverage consumer data to improve decisioning and enhance lending processes, as well as create new financial services experiences.

While financial service providers have traditionally relied on ‘physical’ documents, such as bank statements, tax documents, paystubs, and more to verify information about consumers, digital payroll data via open banking provides quick access to all insights necessary to create next-gen financial experiences.

Finicity payroll partnerships provide access that enable or enhance various use cases, such as:

And where Finicity has been leading the market, the market is following. Along with an increasing number of financial institutions and other financial service providers, more payroll providers are recognizing that consumers can benefit from the data they hold. As a result, these providers are adopting API connections to open banking platforms that expand the use of financial data. 

Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from consumer-permissioned data. Payroll providers ensure greater security when specific data is only shared with third parties for the use case, rather than released on a large, broad scale. They retain greater control in their role as data stewards.

Payroll data goes even further in delivering a more complete view of a consumer’s financial story when it’s paired with other open banking capabilities, such as validating information with bank transactions and, in appropriate cases, with digitized paystubs—another area where Finicity has led the market. 

Consumers own their payroll data, and they should be able to benefit from it. But to ensure the best experience for the consumer and the financial services innovators looking to use such data, enabling access to that data must be done right. See in action how Finicity is leveraging partnerships with payroll providers and financial institutions to provide technology that empowers consumers to benefit from their financial data and improve their lives.