At the recent Fortune Brainstorm conference I spoke with Michael Capellas, CEO of First Data, which processes about one-half of all US credit card transactions.
He said that the company collects massive amounts of financial data and that this part of the business is just ten percent of revenues--he wants it to be one half of total revenues within the next two years. First Data revenues were $8 billion in 2007.
He said:"I probably know more about what you are likely to do next than you do."
One of the financial data services First Data is considering offering is to allow consumers to control their own financial reports--these are used to determine credit ratings--which determine interest rates. Those interest rates can vary dramatically based on the financial history of a consumer.
However, many financial records contain many inaccuracies and consumers face large obstacles in clearing misinformation.
Mr Capellas said that he would allow consumers to control the content of their financial data provided that First Data is allowed to verify that information.
Such a product would provide consumers with controls over who they share financial information with, and also it would ensure more accurate financial information backed up with First Data's verification service. Currently consumers have no control over who accesses their credit reports. Inaccuracies can cost them their jobs and lead to higher credit costs.
However, First Data will have to decide on whether it wants to focus on empowering consumers with greater control over their own financial data and access to that data, or if it wants to sell its data to third parties in a similar business to that of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.