Fidelity Investments is joining a growing list of financial services companies that are making it easier for fintechs to access customer data via a new application programming interface (API) dubbed Fidelity AccessSM. In a press release, the Boston-based financial services company said that the API will enable a more secure way for Fidelity clients to see and use their Fidelity account information such as balances and holdings on third-party financial websites and apps.

As third-party financial websites, app developers and fintechs begin to use the Fidelity Access API, Fidelity clients won't need to provide the websites and apps with Fidelity usernames and passwords to share Fidelity account information. Instead, they will be automatically linked to Fidelity, where they can authorize the sharing of the account information. Customers will be able to name the specific Fidelity accounts they want to make available to the third-party website or app operators.

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"We see great and growing opportunities for everyone to benefit from innovation enabled by secure data sharing solutions, such as Fidelity Access, which are based on open technology standards. Today, there are a range of financial websites and applications that investors and financial advisors use, which aggregate data from clients' various financial accounts, wherever they are held," said Stuart Rubinstein, head of data aggregation at Fidelity Investments, in a press release announcing the new API.

"We want to make sharing Fidelity account data with these sites and applications convenient and more secure, while giving our clients control over that process," Rubenstein continued. "Fidelity Access does just that – there's no longer any need for clients to share their Fidelity account usernames and passwords with third-party financial sites and applications, and clients can quickly and easily review and manage which sites and applications have access. With major data breaches exposing more and more people to ever greater risk, and the demand for data sharing solutions poised to accelerate, the time is right for Fidelity Access."

The move on the part of Fidelity Investments comes as financial services companies are starting to embrace fintechs and provide access to their data. With customers using all sorts of financial websites and apps, they are demanding an easy way to get information from their accounts into these services.

Fidelity said that it is currently working with third-party financial websites and app developers to enable them to connect via Fidelity Access, which is now available. The third parties that want to connect to Fidelity Access must adhere to the company's strict security standards, destroy any user IDs and passwords previously acquired from Fidelity clients, and assume responsibility for handling Fidelity client data to which they obtain access, including liability if the data are breached or compromised. When the rollout of Fidelity Access is complete in 2018, the company said that it will no longer allow third-party websites and apps to use Fidelity account usernames and passwords to access information.