Here at Fair for You, we want to help you access affordable and flexible credit that is right for you and your circumstances. That’s why we carry out affordability checks as part of our loan application process.
One way of carrying out these affordability checks is by asking to see copies of your bank statements. This allows us to gain an insight into your income and expenditure, which helps us decide whether a loan from us will be affordable for you. Whilst copies of paper statements can be provided, at Fair for You we have the technology available to make the process much smoother.
This technology is called Open Banking. Open Banking is pretty new, so you might not have heard of it before. In this article, we are going to answer some of the most common questions about Open Banking to help you understand how it works.
What is Open Banking?
Open Banking was set up by the UK Government to encourage more competition and modern technology in financial services. The service allows you as a customer to share financial data with organisations electronically and securely if you already use online banking. But don’t worry – you remain fully in control of what financial information you wish to share.
In order to offer Open Banking, organisations must be registered with the UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Fair for You and our Open Banking provider are both registered firms.
Who is Fair for You’s Open Banking provider?
We work with Perfect Data Solutions Ltd, trading as Lending Metrics, to offer Open Banking to our customers. Their product is called oohMoolah.
Let’s run through how oohMoolah works:
- When you apply for your Fair for You loan, you’ll be directed to the oohMoolah portal
- You select your bank or building society and account type
- You will then be asked to provide consent and oohMoolah will outline exactly what they will access from your accounts. This includes things like your bank account transactions, direct debts and your balance
- oohMoolah will then direct you to your bank’s website to log in
- Your bank will ask you to confirm the data to be shared with oohMoolah
- You provide consent to your bank
- Your bank shares the information, as per your request
- oohMoolah confirms if they have successfully received your data
Who sees my financial data and how is it used?
Is my data safe with Open Banking?
Don’t worry – any data you submit via the oohMoolah portal will be encrypted and the usage of your data by the provider is tracked. This is part of the Open Banking data security standards to ensure that customer data is safe.
There is also an Open Banking Directory that Perfect Data Solutions are included on. This means that they are authorised to provide Open Banking services and they meet security standards.
How long is my data stored for?
When Perfect Data Solutions ask for your consent to use your data, the standard consent is 90 days. However, your data is only sent to Fair for You and we only use the information as part of our loan application process, therefore it is only used once in those 90 days.
How do I cancel access to my data?
You can contact Perfect Data Solutions to withdraw your consent to share your financial data. Their contact details are below:
- Postal address: Perfect Data Solutions Limited, Lancaster Court, 8 Barnes Wallace Road, Fareham, Hampshire PO14 5TU
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone number: 02394 211010
Which accounts does Open Banking apply to and can I control who has access?
With Open Banking, you are in control. It is completely your choice which accounts you share. You select these accounts at the beginning of the process, and only the Fair for You team will have access.
How can Open Banking help me?
At Fair for You, we strive to be a responsible lender. By permitting access to your bank or building society account information, we are able to make a better lending decision based on what you can reasonably afford to repay. This ensures that we lend responsibly and do not put families in more debt than they need to be. That’s not what we stand for.
Open Banking can also help you if you don’t have a lot of information on your credit record. It helps us fill in the gaps and gives us the opportunity to understand how you manage your money.
Of course, we can’t guarantee that by sharing your financial data you’ll be granted a loan. What we can say for sure though, is that it helps us make the right decision for you.
Can I use Open Banking if I don’t use online banking?
Unfortunately no. You will need to have online banking set up for your current account in order to complete the process.
Am I automatically opted-in?
No, it requires us to make a request to customers and for our customers to provide consent. If Fair for You asks you to engage with oohMoolah and the Open Banking product, then you have the right to refuse.
Is there a charge to use it?
No, it’s totally free.
If I use Open Banking, will it improve my chances of getting approved?
Because Open Banking provides us with more information than a credit search alone, this allows us to review your circumstances in more detail before making a decision on your application. In that sense, using it has the potential to benefit your application.
However, it’s important to note that it will have no effect on the loan product you are offered. For example, you won’t get a better interest rate or a higher credit limit by using Open Banking.
If I use Open Banking, does that mean I don’t need to have a credit search?
Even if you use Open Banking, we will still run a credit check – just as we would for any other loan application. Whilst Open Banking provides us with some helpful insights into your finances, we won’t make a decision on a loan application based on that alone.
Hopefully, we have answered a few of the questions that may be weighing on your mind. You might also want to check out Martin Lewis talking about Open Banking on This Morning.
You can also read about Fair for You customer, Sammy, and how Open Banking helped her overcome the challenge of having a low credit score and ‘thin’ credit file when she suddenly needed finance for her new dishwasher.
If you are still unsure, then don’t worry – we’re on the other end of the phone if you’d like to chat. Contact us today.