Banking aggregator

Aggregating accounts allows automated harvesting of financial data from different institutions and merging into one single platform, available to individuals and businesses
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How does a banking aggregator work ?

Aggregating accounts allows automated harvesting of financial data from different institutions and merging into one single platform, available to individuals and businesses. A banking aggregator eliminates the need to collect paper receipts, to manually enter the data in financial planning tools or to write performance reports. Thanks to this centralization, the goal is to allow the user a global view of his financial situation on one hand, and on the other, to let the firm use this data to propose new services to its customers (robo-advisor, one-click credit...).

Distinction has to be made between several types of financial data :

- Banking data

- Investment data : life insurance, savings account

- Bills

- Identity and authentication data : KYC

This data may be harvested in two fashions :
Using scraping


Most banking institutions to this day do not have APIs for collecting data. Data scraping technologies might then be used. In this case, the aggregation software browses the bank's website using the customer's credentials, with his agreement, and gets the relevant information. 
Through APIs


An API is a simple interface, allowing banks to expose customers' banking data for them to be easily exploited by an aggregation software. In general, the interfaces stays the same, and the data quality is more reliable. This makes APIs the goto for banking aggregators to get data. Since the 14th of September, 2019, banks have to expose accounts data in order to comply with the PSD2 regulation.

What are the advantages of banking aggregation ?

The advantages as an end user


Millions of users are already convinced by the usefulness of aggregators for managing their finances. 17 million users are already using the American pioneer in terms of aggregation, Bankin, its French competitor, has close to 3 million users.
When it comes to managing their different accounts, the current focus for individuals and businesses is efficiency. They wish to have a real time overview on their assets and liabilities for getting better advising. Younger customers are especially used to their data being accessible within one click, without any need for remembering multiple websites and credentials, or caring about security issues. 

The advantages as a company implementing aggregation


Account aggregation is often one of the most efficient ways for an advisor to showcase its value to a new customer and to improve the service for existing customers. 
Aggregation then enables the company implementing it with :
Simplifying data collection
Collection and capture of the data no longer requires manual intervention. Moreover, the best aggregation systems are updated at least daily.
Focusing on added-value tasks 
For every account, information is accurate, updated, and available online. This allows efficient collaboration, reduces customer questions and lets the advisors focus on services with added value.
Widening your service offer
Aggregation consists in providing an overview of the net assets of a customer. That includes not only investments, but also the held assets and liabilities. The advisor might then monitor its customers assets and advise him or her on a patrimonial aspect. In a lot of cases, the advisor leverages the IT system to understand what is happening before the customer, even on assets he or she does not even manage. This raises his value as an advisor. 
Being the single point-of-contact between the business and its customers
Aggregated data creates a lot of opportunities to add value for your customers. Wether it is for a weekly summary or an alert, it becomes possible to handle customer issues before they are even aware of them. A range of integration offers brings the data from other CRMs and financial planning tools, enabling an even more complete overview.  




What is a successful aggregator ?

An exhaustive data collection


The two key points to successfully collect all the data is to make sure the data is of good quality and to maximize the quantity of data collected.

In terms of quality, the difficult issue is the stability of the connectors. The majority of banking sites tend to change their interface regularly, even at the margin, which entails the update of the connectors to have to adapt to these changes. With a growing number of banking connectors, it is necessary to have a team capable of detecting changes and to make adaptations to avoid service interruptions or missing data on the aggregator. Solutions such as Budget Insight enable the harvest of available data following the regulations of Open Banking such as DSP2 but also data that is not automatically made available by the banks such as the data from savings plans (PEE, PERCO). Quality commes with data freshness. The harvesting brick must therefore be at least performed daily. When displaying the data, it is necessary to verify the last harvest date. If it is over 24h ago, the service provider harvesting this data must be alerted or a new harvest must be carried out if done internally.

In terms of data quantity, the aggregator must be able to have access to a large number of institutions and to give a maximum of data concerning the customer for each institution. This requires an aggregator who, whether functioning via APIs or via scraping, must dispose of many connectors capable of exploiting 100% of the data on APIs or bank websites : the bank balances, bank yield, distribution and detailed assets.


Standardized storage and data mapping


Financial institutions store and display their data in a heterogeneous manner. To create an aggregator capable of evolving easily, it is necessary to harmonize this data in a unique mapping. This processing brick can be implemented internally with a development pattern called the facade. It is however more pragmatic to call for a solution editor who will supply the harvesting brick and the harmonization of the data from financial institutions.

Even when using an editor, it may remain relevant to store the data in a uniform manner in its own operating system in order to process the data to bring out new offers for the customers. It is thereafter obviously important to obtain the explicit consent of the final users, for instance via the terms of service, in accordance with the  regulations enforced such as GDPR and PSD2.

An optimized customer experience


The important thing to bear in mind is that a simple account reporting application is not enough to create commitment
The majority of banking aggregators are recent and provide a good customer experience. We identified two differentiating points thanks to our customers and prospects: 
  • The ability to provide exports under various formats : the majority of users wish for such an option to edit and work freely on formats such as excel.
  • The ability to offer predictive functionalities to users : if all aggregators synthesize efficiently the past expenditures, the users also wish to be able to plan their future ones. 
For B2B aggregators, the user is not only the CEO of the company, the financial teams and the administrative and financial director of the firm are also concerned. It is hence interesting to propose accounting visualization tools on metrics tracked by these teams : cash burn, treasury, categorized cost items. Finally, an aggregator can be proposed on different terminals for different users:
On a web-based version for a final customer, the interface must be particularly refined, simple and exhaustive. The user must be able to set the data he wishes to display and easily add new accounts.
  • On a web-based version for a bank advisor who monitors his customer, the focus must be set on the simplicity of the ability to change customers to quickly begin a meeting. The aggregating tool must be integrated in a transparent way in the other tools used by the bank advisor (CRM for instance) in order to easily push him to sell other services to his customer.
  • On a mobile version, only the most important data must be displayed. The focus must be set on the display more than on the possibility to set and customize one's aggregator.

Contact us


48 Bd des Batignolles
75017 Paris


+33 1 53 24 53 23

Sipios is part of the M33 Start-up studio. We design digital products from the needs of the end-users and use the latest technologies to develop them in record time. Our focus is the impact on the business.

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