Australia's Consumer Data Right 'IT backbone' accreditation platform now live

The ACCC is sticking to the July 1 deadline for the sharing of financial services data.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched the Consumer Data Right (CDR) Register and Accreditation Application Platform (RAAP), labelled by the regulator as the IT backbone of the new data-sharing mandate.

The CDR has been touted as allowing individuals to "own" their data by granting them open access to their banking, energy, phone, and internet transactions, as well as the right to control who can have it and who can use it.

The first sector to which the CDR will apply is finance, through an open banking regime, with telecommunications and energy soon to follow.

"This marks a significant development in the delivery of the Consumer Data Right because the RAAP is the IT backbone of the Consumer Data Right," the ACCC said on Monday.

After announcing it was pushing through with the July 1 deadline in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the ACCC has this week also switched on the Consumer Data Right Participant Portal, allowing businesses -- fintechs as well as banks -- to apply to become accredited data recipients (ADRs). 

See also: NAB asks to not be disadvantaged in opening CDR up to new players

The ACCC said the RAAP has two main functions: To create a trusted data environment where encrypted data is only shared between approved participants; and to provide a portal where businesses can apply to be accredited.

"This launch of this Consumer Data Right platform and portal means businesses of all sizes can take the first steps towards to being part of this crucial economic reform," ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

"As more businesses become accredited over time, consumers will benefit from an increasing number of innovative services and a vastly improved experience that puts them in control of their data.

"We are encouraging businesses wanting to participate in the Consumer Data Right regime to apply for accreditation and take part in reshaping banking competition in Australia."

To help applicants become ADRs, the ACCC has published the Consumer Data Right Accreditation Guidelines [PDF]. In order to receive data at the request of consumers, the ACCC must provide accreditation to the organisation, on an ongoing basis.

Currently, the only level of accreditation is "unrestricted". The ACCC said additional levels of accreditation will be included in the future as the CDR develops and other sectors are introduced to the CDR regime.

In order to apply for accreditation, an applicant's primary business contact must first set up an account through the CDR Participant Portal.

The ACCC said accreditation will only be granted if an applicant and any associated person of the applicant is a "fit and proper person to manage CDR data". Criteria used to determine this includes if the applicant has been convicted of a serious criminal offence or offence of dishonesty within the past 10 years in Australia or a foreign jurisdiction.

The watchdog set the rules for the CDR in February, and last month consulted on a handful of minor amendments intended to improve security within the CDR regime, enable use of the CDR logo, improve alignment between the rules and the data standards, and clarify the intended operation of current rules.

The big four banks -- ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac -- have already made product reference data available since 1 July 2019, while non-major authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs), including non-major banks, building societies, and credit unions were originally slated to follow suit a year later.

That deadline was then stretched to 1 October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension will apply to non-major ADIs and also extend to non-primary brand products offered by the major banks.

"The ACCC is granting these exemptions as an acknowledgement of the intense resource requirements of the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular non-major banks that may not be able to prioritise this at this time," Court said previously.

"We understand that financial providers are dedicating many resources at present to support their customers, however, we do encourage providers to share product reference information on a voluntary basis if they are in a position to do so."

Product reference data includes information such as interest rates, fees and charges, and eligibility criteria for banking products like credit cards and mortgages.

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