Open Banking
May 25, 2023

Creating a Gateway to Equitable Access to Credit on Capitol Hill

Moving beyond screen scraping to extend access to credit for the underserved and underbanked

For full coverage of Method’s work on Capitol Hill, check out the American Banker article “CFPB's Customer Data-sharing Rules Should Offer Options for Banks of all Sizes”.

Our founding team, composed of recent college graduates, faced a lot of debt from different lenders at varying interest rates. Sound familiar? We knew there had to be a better way to simplify the process of paying and tracking our loans, and ultimately find better rate opportunities to pay down debt and improve financial wellness.

Thus the idea of Method was born. We built the technology that creates a platform to view your consolidated debt, including balances and payoff dates, without the need to log-in/authenticate to each provider, whether that’s Nelnet or SoFi or Caliber Homes. How many times have you needed to click ‘Forgot Password’ over the years?

By simply providing your name and phone number through a participating fintech, bank or credit union, you can view your auto loan from PenFed, your student loans from Nelnet and Great Lakes, your credit cards from Chase and Capital One, and your home loan from AmeriSave.

When a fintech, bank or credit union connects with Method and you grant permission for access, two important things happen. You get full transparency into outstanding balances, payoff dates, interest rate etc. and can make multiple payments to the various lending institutions via one dashboard. In return, the fintech, credit union or bank can then see your outstanding debt in real-time and provide personalized offers to improve your financial health. For example, rather than paying three student loans at 5.5%, 5.16% and 4.9%, your bank or credit union may be able to offer a 4.5% consolidation rate and simultaneously pay off the existing balances through the dashboard.

Many institutions rely on screen scraping to authenticate and access permissioned financial data. Screen scraping requires users to hand over their bank log-in information to third-party providers and aggregators via screen scraping, creating opportunity for fraudulent activity. Given upwards of 20% of American households in the US are unbanked or underbanked, screen scraping is an additional barrier to entry for those in lower socioeconomic situations.

Our technology relies on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) instead of using the traditional screen scraping technique to authenticate users. This means that, given permission, Method can verify you and access credit data by simply using your name and phone number. MNO technology has been widely adopted as an authentication method by many big banks and financial firms, though it is not often applied in the context of improving credit access. It provides stable, secure, and uninterrupted connections and promotes inclusivity, ensuring anyone with a phone number has equal access to lending opportunities.

We are working diligently with members of Congress and across the banking/lending space to ensure widespread adoption of Method’s technology to help transform the $15T debt industry. Follow us for more updates on pending regulation and adoption from additional financial providers.