You have a checking account and a credit card from
one bank, charge cards from two other banks, and a portfolio at
an online brokerage. On top of that, you belong to two frequent-flier
Congrats. You're doing well.
There's another piece of good news: All of these accounts
can be monitored on the Web, so you can look at your checking balance,
see when your next payment is due, and swoon at your portfolio's
performance. But who remembers all those log-in names and passwords?
Account aggregation lets you collect all that information
onto one Web page. You log onto a Web site, enter a user name and
password, and see information from several sites, each with its
own user name and password. The data are collected and displayed
in a format that you can use.
Many banks offer aggregation on their Web sites. But
if your bank or credit union doesn't have a Web site, you can sign
up directly for My Yodlee service with Yodlee,
the company that provides the technology to most banks.
Banks seldom, if ever, charge to provide account
aggregation. The service isn't free to your bank, but banks offer
aggregation to stay competitive. When you sign up directly with
Yodlee, that's free, too.
That may change in the future, but for now, enjoy
the free ride!
If your idea of convenience is starting your computer, logging onto
the Internet, opening up a Web browser, and typing your user name
and password to open a Web page -- all to find your credit card
balances -- aggregation works like a charm.
Indeed, aggregation is convenient if you want to check
up on your finances from the office computer or from the road. And
when you want to see how much you charged on your cards since you
got your statements in the mail, aggregation is nice.
Safety, security and privacy
Yodlee is the dominant player in this industry, and the company
says it is fanatical about security. All data are encrypted and
stored on computers in a building at an undisclosed address. To
get into the data center, employees have to go through several identity
checks, including a hand scan.
Yodlee promises that it won't share personally identifiable
information with third parties. On the other hand, if you sign up
for aggregation service through your bank's Web site, Yodlee says
it can't control what the bank does with any information it gleans.