What is 'Account Aggregation'

Account aggregation is a process by which information from all of an individual's or household’s accounts are collected in one place. For example, an online banking service may offer a home page in which account holders can see information from all their checking, savings, CDs and brokerage accounts collected in one place. Personal finance software, apps and online services like Quicken or Mint also provide account aggregation services.

Account aggregation is used as a financial management and planning tool, and can combine fees or otherwise streamline account access for account holders. Aggregating accounts can be particularly useful for families who have multiple financial goals because the statements give a complete picture of the family's financial assets.

BREAKING DOWN 'Account Aggregation'

One form of account aggregation is householding, whereby all the savings, checking and brokerage accounts of a household are linked. In householded accounts, statements and online summaries display all accounts within the household. Married couples and domestic partners may use householding to manage shared finances and reach shared financial goals.

How Account Aggregation Works

Account aggregation usually only occurs within a single institution. However, certain assets held outside a financial institution may be linked if there is a prearranged procedure for doing so. Many personal finance services offer customers the ability to aggregate data from savings, checking, brokerage accounts and other financial assets across all institutions with which they do business. These services usually require users to provide account-access information, like a username and password, for each of the accounts that they wish to include in the aggregation. Using this information, the service scrapes or downloads account balances and other data from each account to include in the aggregation. However, account aggregation software is often only allowed to access balance information and transaction records; for security reasons, many account aggregation services do not permit users to make transactions from within the service.

In addition to aggregating data from savings, checking, brokerage, and other financial accounts, some account aggregation services and software, particularly those used by professional financial advisers on behalf of their clients, aggregate additional net-worth data, such as recent home-value estimates. Account aggregation platforms may categorize cash inflows and outflows. Some services may even include debt liabilities in the financial pictures. For example, account aggregation platforms or services may also include credit card accounts that are issued by the institution where the aggregated accounts are held, or which are otherwise included in the aggregation.

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