COVID-19 brings three-month extension for Australia's Consumer Data Right

The ACCC has granted financial services providers with a three-month exemption to share product reference data due to the impact of COVID-19.

COVID-19 brings three-month extension for Australia's Consumer Data Right

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is giving smaller financial services providers another three months to get their data-sharing ducks in a row, extending the deadline for the Consumer Data Right (CDR).

All financial services providers were to make product reference data available by 1 July 2020, but that deadline has now been stretched to 1 October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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.

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

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

Consumer data relating to credit and debit cards, deposit accounts, and transaction accounts must now be made available from October 1. For consumer data relating to mortgage and personal loan data, the ACCC previously said it would be slated for sharing from November 1.

"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," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

"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."

See also: ACCC pauses NBN inquires until coronavirus pandemic stabilises

The ACCC was tasked with implementing the CDR, which 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.

The ACCC is also seeking views on a confined set of proposed amendments to the Competition and Consumer (Consumer Data Right) Rules.

"The proposed amendments are 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 ACCC wrote.

One of the proposed amendments [PDF] is fixing a typographical error, replacing the phrase "an accredited person" with "a data holder".

Another amendment proposes to allow CDR consumers to withdraw consent to collect and use particular CDR data using an alternative method of communication, such as by phone, which is to be made available by an accredited person specifically for that purpose. It would also allow CDR consumers to withdraw authorisation to disclose CDR data to an accredited person by using an alternative method of communication made available by a data holder.

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