Before You Aggregate... Investigate! |
Another new Internet service called account aggregation enables you to organize and monitor information about practically all of your assets—
your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, insurance policies, even your frequent flyer miles—using just one Web site and one password. Before you aggregate, Cynthia Bonnette, Assistant Director of the FDIC's Bank Technology Group, suggests:
Check out the company. "To enroll with an aggregation service you have to provide your account numbers and passwords," Bonnette says. "Think carefully before providing this information to anyone because their practices for securing and sharing your information are very important." For guidance, see our cover story.
Review the policies, terms and conditions of the service. Read about the company's privacy and security policies, so you understand how your information will be protected. Also note the company's procedures for accepting customer complaints and resolving problems.
Determine how timely and accurate the information will be. Not knowing whether the information is outdated or erroneous could cause you to make a bad or costly decision.
Contact the institutions that hold your accounts. Make sure it's OK to disclose your password and other information to an aggregation service.
Bonnette adds that account aggregation services in the future could become more common and more interactive, perhaps including the capability to conduct financial transactions or receive personal financial advice online.