Outside the Box: Financial data should be as free to transfer as your mobile phone number

As fintech companies expand access to online financial services and innovative offerings, their activities are generating an increasingly rich stream of data about Americans’ financial lives.

Our data identify us and define us to the many services we opt into, from bill pay and direct deposit to newer tools such as Mint, RocketMortgage and Coinbase. The fate and future of this data — who creates it, who owns it, how it’s shared, and who controls our access to it — should trouble us. Though not financially related, a timely example is the revelations of how data from 50 million Facebook FB, -2.66% users was questionably obtained and used in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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