An Account Aggregator can, with the enterprise’s consent, furnish the data seamlessly to multiple banks to apply for a loan, accept the best offer and revoke the consent given to other banks to access its data.
Last week, a new revolution got going in India, which deserves to be far more widely noticed than it seems to have been. This was the launch of the Account Aggregator framework. Like many things in geekworld, this term sounds bland but has the potential to completely change the way data is used. While the world has been harping on about data protection, India has quietly devised a means for an individual (or a business) to proactively use his or her data to obtain services, handing the data over to would-be users, say a bank or an insurance company, digitally, securely and revocably. The intermediary between the data provider and the data user, deploying standardised protocols and secure encryption, and managing the consent of the individual whose data is being provided/accessed, are the Account Aggregators.
Consider a small business that seeks a loan from a bank. It can furnish its bank statements, GST returns, annual results, income-tax filings, etc. to the bank, as proof of its creditworthiness. An Account Aggregator can, with the enterprise’s consent, furnish the data seamlessly to multiple banks to apply for a loan, accept the best offer and revoke the consent given to other banks to access its data. A giant ecommerce company that also serves as a business-to-business as well as a business- to-consumer platform has data on what a company buys, what it sells, how much it sells and the profile of its consumers. But that data stays proprietary with the ecommerce operation. Once GSTN joins the Accounts Aggregator framework as a data provider, this sales data is available to a would-be lender as well. Information turns collateral.
This pioneering digital initiative is part of India Stack, a collection of APIs that anyone can use to build new applications, making use of the common standards and protocols laid out in the APIs. UPI and eKYC came from it. The RBI, iSPIRT (a software for public good forum) and Nandan Nilekani get the credit for the consent management framework, which can be used for other, say, health, data as well.