Account Aggregation

What is Account Aggregation?

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

Key Takeaways

  • Account aggregation, sometimes called financial data aggregation, lists all or most of the account holder's financial information in one place.
  • It may include data just from that financial institution, or from multiple institiutions where the account holder does business.
  • Some aggregation services also include information on debts, such as credit cards.

How Account Aggregation Works

Account aggregation usually occurs only within a single financial institution. However, certain assets held outside a financial institution may be included if the account holder has agreed to that.

Many personal finance services offer customers the ability to aggregate data from all of their savings, checking, and brokerage accounts, as well as other financial assets across all the institutions with which they do business. These services usually require that users provide account-access information, such as 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 allowed only to access balance information and transaction records. And for security reasons, many 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 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 also categorize cash inflows and outflows.

Some services may even include debt liabilities in the financial picture. For example, account aggregation platforms or services may include credit card accounts that are issued by the institution where the aggregated accounts are held, or outside accounts that the account holder has authorized to be included.

Account aggregation can include multiple members of the same household, making it useful for families working toward specific financial goals, such as saving for college or buying a home.

Benefits of Account Aggregation

Account aggregation can be a useful financial management and planning tool, providing streamlined account access for account holders. Aggregating accounts can be particularly beneficial for families who have multiple financial goals, such as saving for retirement and college, because the statements give a more complete picture of the family's financial assets.

In one form of account aggregation, called householding, all of the savings, checking, brokerage, and other accounts belonging to the members of a particular household are linked. Married couples and domestic partners may use a householded acccount to manage their shared finances and work toward their shared financial goals.