6 things you need to know about screen scraping in banking and financial services

In banking and financial services, screen scraping has been commonplace for more than 20 years. How does it work? Why is it problematic? And what is the difference between screen scraping and open banking? Download this infographic to find out.

1. What is screen scraping?

Screen scraping (also known as web scraping) is the process of copying text or images from a web page and using it for another purpose, such as accessing other applications or accounts using login credentials shared on the screen.

In financial services, screen scraping has been an expedient way for customers or members to give third parties, such as fintechs, access to their financial data. It’s been used to “open up customer data” for more than 20 years. But it’s not without problems and risks.

2. Why is screen scraping a problem?

The data owner (customer or member) has granted the third-party access to their data. What could go wrong? Here are the pitfalls:

CUSTOMER: Inconsistent user experience

The connection is based on the financial institution’s website, which can change at any time. It’s estimated that these types of transactions fail at least 30% of the time.

THIRD PARTY: IT headaches

When a financial institution changes the HTML for their login page or interface, the connection breaks, resulting in a bad customer experience and a scrambling IT department.

FINANCIAL INSTITUTION: Security and IT system health issues

Data security issues and increase in unmanaged data calls can negatively impact back-end systems.

3. What do the regulators think about screen scraping?

  • U.S.: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced in October 2022 that data-holding companies must share customer data with authorized third parties securely.
  • CANADA: Declared screen scraping “unsecure” in 2021.

4. Screen scraping vs. open banking. What’s the difference?

The main difference is how data is accessed and used. Screen scraping is collected without the financial institution’s knowledge or permission. Open banking is collected with permission and agreement, and used to provide customers and members with improved financial services.

5. Why should banks and other financial institutions move from screen scraping to open banking?

  • CREATE INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. Open banking provides a standardized and repeatable method for organizations to access new data sources. This opens up a range of opportunities to develop the innovative products and services customers and members have come to expect.
  • IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. With open banking, organizations can take advantage of the real-time and aggregated data from other financial service providers. This allows for better decision making and customer service.
  • IMPROVE SECURITY. Open banking is much more secure than screen scraping, with built-in security protocols such as FAPI and CIBA that protect customer data against cyber-attacks and other security risks.

6. How can screen scraping be eliminated?

When all parties agree on a common, open, and secure API standard to communicate and exchangedata, screen scraping can become a thing of the past. One organization taking the lead on the creation and use of a common standard is the Financial Data Exchange (FDX), a consortium of all the players in the financial ecosystem.

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