Intuit TurboTax opens to developers to give consumers more use of personal data

The move is also part of Intuit's strategy to make TurboTax a year-round financial services product and ultimately a more steady source of corporate revenues.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Intuit's TurboTax Online software is the bedrock of the company's consumer tax product portfolio. During the 2016 tax season, Intuit sold 33.9 million TurboTax units, a growth of 12 percent from the previous year. But with Intuit's latest move, the company is aiming to make TurboTax a year-round financial services product and ultimately a more steady source of corporate revenues.

Specifically, the personal and small business financial software maker announced December 13 that it's opening up the TurboTax platform to developers for the first time ever, which will allow third-party platforms to utilize consumer data in more ways, like for the purpose of student loan refinancing or budgeting.

According to Intuit, TurboTax users will remain in control of their data and will be given the option to have their personal information used for the creation of hyper-targeted offers specific to their financial situation. If permission is granted, TurboTax customers will be able to import information from a partner platform and back into TurboTax, creating a closed-loop system.

Intuit's first official partner around the developer effort is online lender Earnest. Over the coming year, Intuit plans to add more partners and create a consumer marketplace that will offer a larger variety of financial services from third parties.

This isn't Intuit's first push into the open-platform space. The company previously gave developers access to its QuickBooks accounting software, resulting in a major focus on open platforms and partnerships to score more small business customers. With this latest TurboTax strategy, Intuit is hoping to replicate the success of QuickBooks but also to transform altogether how consumers use the tax-prep software.

Long term, Intuit is looking beyond delivery of money-saving offers to the delivery of robust services and capabilities, like for instance income verification when applying for a loan.

"In the future, Intuit's Consumer Open Platform could look similar to Facebook Connect, where anytime a customer needs to access financial information, it could be outsourced to TurboTax/Intuit," said an Intuit spokesperson.

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