Open Banking explained
What is Open Banking?
Open Banking is the secure way for you to give companies such as ourselves access to your financial information.
When you contact us to ask for support with your water bill, we normally ask you to provide details of your income. This allows us to see which of our support schemes you are eligible for depending on your financial situation.
Although you can provide this information over the phone, we sometimes ask for additional proof of any benefits or income you receive as part of the application process. This can obviously delay you obtaining the support you need until we receive this proof of income.
However, with Open Banking it means we can carry out a review of your income there and then over the phone. It makes applying for support a much quicker and easier experience.
Once you provide permission for us to access your banking information we can then see immediately which benefits you receive and your main sources of income.
No more filling out application forms or having to contact organisations to obtain proof of your income. It means we can give you a decision there and then on the support we can provide with your water bill.
You’re in control
It’s entirely up to you whether you use Open Banking when you deal with us. When you call we’ll ask you if you wish to use Open Banking to complete your application. You’re under no obligation to say yes to Open Banking to receive financial assistance from us, it just makes the application process much easier.
Whenever you do share data with us, it’ll only be the data you’ve agreed to share, you have the opportunity to amend this data before submitting anything and you can cancel at any time.
We’ve answered some additional questions about Open Banking below. However, if you have any specific queries about Open Banking please call us on 0800 072 6765.
Your questions answered
Do I need to use Open Banking if I want help with my water bill?
No, it’s entirely your choice if you wish to give us access to your bank account information. It does make the application process much easier and quicker but you can still complete your application process over the phone or by completing a paper application form if you wish.
How do I give access to my bank account information?
When you contact us for support, we’ll ask you if you wish to provide consent for us to access your bank account information. If you are happy to do this, we will send you an email or SMS asking for your consent to share this information with a company called “Consents.Online”, who provide the Open Banking information to us. You then click on the link they provide to set this up. It’s as easy as logging into your bank account.
Can I use Open Banking if I don’t have online banking?
No. To use Open Banking, you need online or mobile banking for your personal or business current account.
What do you do with my data?
Allowing access to your bank account allows income information (such as the benefits you receive or wage) to be automatically gathered so we can complete your affordability tariff application.
This is information which we would normally ask you to provide to us before we agree to accept you on to one of our support tariffs. This is a one-off snapshot view of your income (similar to providing a recent paper bank statement) and not an ongoing view of your bank account information.
Is the data saved?
Data will be stored for up to 6 years in line with the existing policy for data retention. The data is stored for audit purposes only and can only be accessed by authorised users.
Is Open Banking safe?
Security is a priority for us, and we have made it just as safe to use Open Banking as the other online services you can use. Only you can choose to share your data and you can stop sharing at any time.
Remember, we will never share your log in details with anyone, or contact you by phone or email asking for your logon details. If you receive unusual phone calls or emails, or have concerns about any other suspicious activity, please contact us immediately.
Is there a charge to use Open Banking?
No - Open Banking is free.
Does my bank offer Open Banking?
Most of the main high street banks offer Open Banking including NatWest, Santander, HSBC and Lloyds. Before asking if you wish to use Open Banking, we’ll check to make sure your bank offers this facility.