Account Aggregation: Round up Your Financial Reports

Corral those pesky passwords using technology that ropes in data from multiple financial and other accounts. Article by Securities America

Computer security and privacy gurus admonish users to never write down user names and passwords and to never use the same password repeatedly for different accounts. But with the proliferation of websites giving us access to confidential information like our bank and investment account balances, keeping passwords straight in your head has become a mind-boggling proposition.

After several years of empty promises, account aggregation technology has finally achieved a level of security and reliability to make it valuable for consumers. Account aggregation websites use sophisticated software called “screen scraping” to gather data from those PIN-protected accounts that have been authorized by the individual. The sites present the information in an easy-to-use graphic interface.

What kinds of accounts can be aggregated? Virtually any that report balances on a website: checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, mutual funds, 401(k) accounts, frequent flier and reward plans, travel reservation services, credit card accounts and loans. Even monthly expenses such as phone or utility bills, if available online, can be included in your aggregated account.

After you’ve authorized the accounts the aggregation service can access for you, you can manage those accounts by setting payment or low-balance reminders, making online payments and tracking your net worth.

Some sites even offer digital document storage, providing a paperless depository for wills, insurance policies, powers of attorney, contracts and other important documents. Having such information easily accessible can be a relief for your family if, for example, you become incapacitated or die suddenly.

Obvious benefits to account aggregation include ease of access (only one password to remember), a one-stop source for financial as well as nonfinancial information, information available any time and less time spent reviewing paper statements.

An even bigger benefit comes in the enhanced picture your financial professional can get of your personal situation. Knowing your liabilities (credit card accounts, mortgage, auto loan) as well as your assets can help your trusted advisor build a more complete financial plan and keep current on your status.

Not all aggregation sites offer the same amenities, so make sure the site has everything you need before you do the work of setting up your accounts for aggregation. You may want to visit with your financial professional, who may offer an account aggregation tool among his or her services. If not, he or she can help you determine which features will be most valuable to both of you in building that big picture of your personal finances.

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Navigation Financial Group is not a CPA Firm. Advisor Representatives are Registered Representatives of and offer securities through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Planning and Advisory Services available through Securities America Advisors, Inc. $ymbil is offered by Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management, Inc. (LTAM). Navigation Financial Group and its affiliates are independent of Securities America and LTAM. Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice; therefore, it is important to coordinate with your tax or legal advisor regarding your specific situation. This site is published for residents of the United States and is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security or product that may be referenced herein. Persons mentioned on this website may only offer services and transact business and/or respond to inquiries in states or jurisdictions in which they have been properly registered or are exempt from registration. Not all products and services referenced on this site are available in every state, jurisdiction or from every person listed. Not FDIC Insured, No Bank Guarantees, May Lose Value. Not a Deposit and Not Insured by any Government Agency. As of January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) suggests the following link as an extra measure to safeguard your data: Do not sell my personal inforamation.

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