New rules opening up Consumer Data Right accreditation tiers due by the end of 2020

ACCC also confirms the responsibility for the Consumer Data Right will be shifted to Treasury once legislation passes.

Australia's Consumer Data Right (CDR), officially launched on July 1 with the first tranche, an open banking-like regime, requires financial services providers to share a customers' data when requested by the customer.

From November 1, new data became available for sharing, including account types such as home loans, investment loans, personal loans, and mortgage offset accounts, as well as joint accounts. New datasets also included direct debits, account payees, and scheduled payments.

Next on the list will be data sharing for business customers, which is set to commence next year.

Here's more: Australia's Consumer Data Right: Here's everything you need to know

Speaking at the Future of Financial Services 2020 virtual conference on Thursday, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) CDR executive general manager Paul Franklin said one of the regulator's main focuses has been expanding the pool of accredited data recipients.

"For the consumer benefits of the consumer data right to be fully realised, it's critical for there to be a broad range of data recipients participating in the system," he said. "We currently have several more applications for accreditation under assessment and a large number of organisations who have started to draft their applications."

He said current applicants provide services ranging from accounting, digital identity solutions, digital wallets, lending, bill payment management, budgeting, payroll management, product comparison to technology services.

According to Franklin, it's always been the ACCC's intention to introduce additional tiers of accreditation.

"Through October, we've been consulting on rules that we'll introduce, new restricted tiers of accreditation and rules to allow consumers to consent to the disclosure of consumer data to third parties and increase functionality to improve the consumer experience," he said.

"Part of the focus of these proposed changes is on lowering barriers to entry by reducing some of the upfront and ongoing costs of accreditation, as compared to the unrestricted level, while maintaining appropriate information security and consumer protections."

He said the proposed amendments also address lessons learnt since the CDR was launched. The new rules are pencilled in for publication before Christmas.

The next big step, Franklin said, will be for non-major banks to begin sharing data by 1 July 2021. The ACCC in October started seeking expressions of interest from non-major banks that were interested in starting the process earlier.

"There's a significant network effect; the more data that becomes available, the more businesses have the opportunity to offer value to consumers. The more consumers participate and share their data, the more value participation in a Consumer Data Right can deliver for businesses," he said.

"Once these building blocks are all in place, its up to [the private sector] to build on that foundation and unlock the value of data for consumers and for their businesses."

He said consumers only use services they find valuable and the biggest challenge for the private sector would be getting that right.

Franklin touched on the energy sector, which is the next sector to receive the mandate. He said work on the energy rules framework is well advanced and that he was pleased by the level of industry participation.

Franklin on Thursday also confirmed that there's currently a proposal from the government to move the function of designating future sectors and moving the CDR Rules from the ACCC to Treasury.

"We support that, and we're working closely with Treasury," he said.

"We have a plan that we've agreed with Treasury so that the rule-making function will continue under the ACCC for now and at such point as the legislation passes, we'll hand that over and it should be quite seamless."

The Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology in September made its own recommendation on the regulatory functions of the CDR. It proposed the establishment of a new national body to consolidate CDR regulatory responsibilities.

It wasn't against designating that authority as the ACCC.

"We're aware that there is a proposal by the [committee] that there should be one regulator for the Consumer Data Right, we're very interested in that proposal, but at this stage it's a draft recommendation and we're interested to see where that ends up," Franklin said.

"It's not surprising that for a brand new regime like the Consumer Data Right that there might be changes to arrangements over time … it's really a question for Treasury to determine what that looks like."

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