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Plaid is an incredible company and provides a valuable service to their tech partners. That said, their data collection practices are scary. They allow any developer using their software to swallow all of a users banking data - I would love to know how they police bad actors.

(Source: https://plaid.com/legal/#privacy-statement)






Here is pertinent verbiage from the Plaid Privacy Statement.

Information we collect from your financial accounts. The information we receive from the financial product and service providers that maintain your financial accounts varies depending on the specific Plaid services developers use to power their applications, as well as the information made available by those providers. But, in general, we collect the following types of identifiers, commercial information, and other personal information from your financial product and service providers:

Account information, including financial institution name, account name, account type, account ownership, branch number, IBAN, BIC, and account and routing number;

Information about an account balance, including current and available balance;

Information about credit accounts, including due dates, balances owed, payment amounts and dates, transaction history, credit limit, repayment status, and interest rate;

Information about loan accounts, including due dates, repayment status, balances, payment amounts and dates, interest rate, guarantor, loan type, payment plan, and terms;

Information about investment accounts, including transaction information, type of asset, identifying details about the asset, quantity, price, fees, and cost basis;

Identifiers and information about the account owner(s), including name, email address, phone number, date of birth, and address information;

Information about account transactions, including amount, date, payee, type, quantity, price, location, involved securities, and a description of the transaction; and

Professional information, including information about your employer, in limited cases where you’ve connected your payroll accounts.

The data collected from your financial accounts includes information from all your accounts (e.g., checking, savings, and credit card) accessible through a single set of account credentials.


I never used Plaid, but it reads like information used in typical bank application for credit. Why would anyone willingly share this much without get something major in return?

Does Plaid bank the underbanked? I am not sure what their appeal is.


Simple. Just imagine that everybody is incredibly stupid and wants to be robbed and have their identity stolen. That's the target market.

Automatic verification of funds, of employment, of income. Plus you can have plaid automatically setup a stripe account in stripe connect, you’d be shocked at how many people screw up their bank account information when filling out a form.

Marketing dollars and partnerships can get a company a LONG way...

They provide data for things that are like Mint (but not Mint itself).

I'm confused. Isn't that the POINT of Plaid?

Do they more than replace Yodlee nowadays where it's a SDK for people to scrap bank accounts? Like say if your an accounting app and need to import bank statements.


For some of Plaid's partners it is the point. Others are only using Plaid for a simple bank account verification.

Here is the list Fintech companies which use Plaid as published in the Visa Acquisition presentation. Many of these (like non-lenders) have no legitimate use for all that info.

Stash Dave N26 Monzo Acorns Chime MoneyLion Rainist Transferwise Robinhood Circle SoFi Revolut Etoro Clearscore Toss NuBank Square Cash Mint Coinbase Venmo Credit Karma


That's why VISA paid $4.5B!



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