Stronger enforcement on CDR data incoming: ACCC

Brandon How

Australia’s competition watchdog is set to increase enforcement activities against banks that feed poor data into the Consumer Data Right following consultation with data recipients.

In particular, “significant shortcomings” with the quality of product reference data was reported during the consultation, including “missing or incorrect data and non-conformance with the standards”.

The findings are contained in a paper from the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), released on Wednesday.

According to the paper, data recipients highlighted difficulties in receiving “satisfactory and timely” responses when data quality issues were raised with data holders.

Stakeholders said that increasing data quality regulatory actions would “send a clear message about the importance of complying with data quality obligations”. Some noted that a perceived lack of consequences is “contributing to a poor CDR compliance culture”.

The ACCC said it will “ensure a strong regulatory presence and response” on data quality issue specifically targeting:

  • incorrect interest rates in product reference data
  • information shared in free text fields, rather than relevant structured fields
  • missing or incomplete data
  • instances where data provided is not commensurate with what a consumer can otherwise see in their online or mobile banking channels
  • instances where there are slow or insufficient responses to data quality issues.

When considering a regulatory response, the ACCC will also give weight to the responsiveness of data holders to data quality complaints.

Despite the concerns, the ACCC consultation found that the quality of consumer data was “generally sufficient to support the delivery of [Consumer Data Right] CDR products and services”.

A statutory review of the CDR released at the end of 2022 similarly found that while the scheme was “broadly effective” poor data quality was limiting wider adoption of the scheme, with some businesses reverting to screen scraping practices.

Following the release of the report, the ACCC launched a consultation process which included receiving submissions responding to a discussion paper and “bilateral meetings with various stakeholders”.

Further clarification and guidance on data quality obligations will also be undertaken in collaboration with the federal Treasury, CDR co-regulator, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and the Data Standards Body.

This is in response to the consultation finding that the term ‘data quality’ was being attributed to a range of issues and the related obligations were being interpreted differently.

The discussion paper released at the end of October 2022 acknowledged the concept is broad but sought to focus on “completeness, accuracy, and conformance” of data to CDR rules.

Data recipient Frollo’s chief executive Tony Thrassis last year told that his data quality concerns related to “the range of data made available”.

However, the ACCC consultation found that there were some instances in which data was inaccurate or missing.

Improvements will also be made to the Service Management Portal – used by CDR participants to communicate technical incidents between them – to hasten responses to data quality issues and to ensure data quality incidents are properly tracked.

Further consultation will be undertaken on transparency measures to improve data quality compliance.

Enforcement action against non-compliant accredited data holders was flagged by ACCC chair at the end of May, with two infringement notices having been issued for failing to meet deadlines for making particular consumer data sets available.

In July, the Bank of Queensland was the first to be fined for not meeting a deadline for making some sets of consumer data available to share.

ING Bank was also fined in December for missing three important legislated deadlines and misleading consumers about the reliability and security of its CDR service.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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