In a move that’s been a long time coming, another big four bank has quietly announced it will implement increased security measures for its internet banking platform, effectively ending the potential for customers to use screen scraping. 

By mid to late August, NAB will require customers to use multifactor authentication (MFA) when they log in to do their banking business.

The likely result is that users of screen scraping-based financial apps that connect to their NAB account will need to input a new MFA code every time they need their app feed to update.

Macquarie Bank recently implemented similar protocols, and HSBC has long been unavailable through screen scraping.

This won’t impact Open Banking leader Frollo, who also runs Australia’s most popular money management app, with 150,000 registered users. Frollo recognises that the start of the post-screen scraping era is now.

The company has taken steps to disable screen scraping for ANZ, CommBank, Westpac and now NAB, and has announced it will do the same for at least 50 other banks before the end of 2022.

Risky business

Screen Scraping has been used for years as an alternative to open banking, but while it can be convenient, it is a practice that carries significant security risk.

Screen scraping has no fixed standards, and each third-party provider has its own approaches to and levels of security, which are not regulated.

A user signing up to a screen scraping service has no true way of verifying whether their chosen platform is protecting their data.

Frollo says improved security, user control and access to real-time transaction data make Open Banking a superior alternative to screen scraping.

In addition, the Big Four banks now support data sharing for over 30 different product types via Open Banking, providing the coverage required to operate a successful personal finance management app.

“Phasing out screen-scraping is about much more than just the user experience in our app. It’s the start of a new era where consumers are in control of their own data, they can share it securely and their privacy is protected,” Frollo CEO Tony Thrassis said:

Protecting privacy

Frollo’s announcement comes at a time when concerns about privacy and financial security are at an all-time high among Australians. The era of open banking also signals an end to practices like handing over banking details to third parties.

“Our research shows that consumers care a lot about their privacy and security when sharing financial information,” Thrassis said. “Yet, many consumers share their banking ID and password with third parties to get access to products and services.

“Most consumers probably don’t even know who gets access to their credentials nor think about what they could do with that type of unrestricted access.

“It’s a familiar paradox also seen in other industries, with one big difference: Finance now has an alternative. It’s important to change the default, as soon as we can. And we’re starting today.”

This article was developed in collaboration with Frollo, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.  

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.