The ACCC has focused on data holders’ compliance
The Consumer Data Right (CDR) improves consumer choice, control, and convenience by enabling access to data organisations hold about consumers and products. For the CDR to be effective it is critical that CDR data is good quality. This includes product reference data as well as consumer data.
The CDR regime requires data holders to take reasonable steps to ensure the data they disclose through the CDR is correct.
In the period since the CDR commenced, the ACCC has focused on data holders’ compliance with their data sharing obligations, including in relation to the quality of CDR data. This includes publishing guidance, monitoring obligations to make product reference data available, managing technical incidents between participants, and investigating complaints about data quality.
In overseeing these matters, it should be noted that the ACCC cannot view consumer data directly. Concerns about consumer data quality are therefore typically brought to our attention through reports from participants.
As CDR uptake grows, the impact of data quality issues becomes increasingly important. In October 2022, the ACCC published a discussion paper on CDR data quality compliance. In addition, we held bilateral meetings with various stakeholders. The engagement was constructive with feedback provided on the extent, including frequency and impact, of data quality issues.
This paper outlines the ACCC’s findings from the consultation process and actions we intend to take to address the issues raised. The key findings include:
- The quality of consumer data is generally sufficient to support the delivery of CDR products and services, although improvements are required.
- There are significant shortcomings in the quality of product reference data.
- Data recipients and users of product reference data have raised concerns over the responsiveness of data holders when data quality issues have been raised with them.
- There is scope to clarify the nature of data quality obligations to ensure a better understanding of expectations around appropriate data quality. 5. Regulators should be prepared to take a stronger regulatory approach to improve data quality.
Through the consultation process, it is apparent that there are a number of factors that impact CDR data quality, and there is no single solution to improving it. Issues raised include:
- Data quality is a multi-faceted concept, with data quality relevant to a range of obligations in the CDR framework. Good quality data can be relied on to deliver useful CDR products and services to consumers when the data is accurate, up-to-date, complete, and in the required format.
- Different data quality issues will require different regulatory – and possibly policy – responses. In some cases, compliance or enforcement action is appropriate, while in 5 other instances, further guidance or amendments to rules or standards can improve data quality. The current quality of product reference data is of particular concern. It appears to be the key factor hindering the use of product data for comparison services.
- The sharing of consumer data is currently supporting CDR services that are providing value to consumers. However, consumer data quality issues do arise and can impact the delivery of some services. The extent of impact depends on the use case and the nature of the issue.
- For some accredited data recipients, consumer data quality is not a primary concern. However, others have indicated that inadequate data quality may be inhibiting new products and services from being developed. Complexity in data holder systems (for example, the interaction of legacy and new systems) further increases the challenge of implementing CDR obligations. Implementing new CDR functionality ahead of addressing operational issues as they arise can affect the time it takes to resolve data quality issues.
- Complexity in data holder systems (for example, the interaction of legacy and new systems) further increases the challenge of implementing CDR obligations. Implementing new CDR functionality ahead of addressing operational issues as they arise can affect the time it takes to resolve data quality issues.
- Many data recipients and product data users find that once they raise data quality issues with data holders, they frequently encounter difficulties receiving a satisfactory response and resolution to concerns raised.
Recognising the importance of the issue, the ACCC and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) are treating data quality as a priority area for compliance and enforcement activities.
CDR participants must comply with their obligations. In particular, the ACCC expects data holders to regularly review the efficacy of their CDR solutions and address any outstanding data quality incidents as a priority. In the short term, the ACCC’s CDR compliance and enforcement efforts will be focussed on regulatory action for data quality issues involving:
- the provision of incorrect interest rates
- missing data
- the use of free text fields where a relevant structured field exists
- data that is not commensurate with what a consumer can otherwise see in their online or mobile banking channels.
There is no single solution for improving data quality in the CDR.
Instead, the necessary response will need to encompass a combination of:
- clear regulatory obligations
- effective guidance
- constructive stakeholder engagement
- strong regulatory action
- an improved culture of compliance among participants