On the 16th of November, 2021, we announced that businesses that use Mono can now access their customers' digital investment data with their permission.
We received reports that end-users who have investment accounts with the new investment connections we had highlighted were unsure what this meant for them and the safety of their investment data.
As a company that highly values transparency and is a proponent of data security, we have decided to respond to this with as much clarity as we can muster. Below, we'll be sharing exactly what happens when you connect your financial institution or investment app account to an app/website/business of your choice using the Mono Widget, the exact information a business gets access to when you connect your investment account to their app, and how your financial data and login details are protected.
Innovation in financial services and Mono's role
Consider all the fintech services that make managing your money and finances easy. They are all powered by different kinds of financial technology frameworks to make sure that you get innovative financial services. Innovative financial services include:
Personal finance apps that help you track all your bank accounts in one place and manage your spending.
Digital lending apps that offer you loans to fund your business or important projects.
Investment apps that allow you to invest in assets and trade international stock, locally.
What they all have in common is financial innovation, and every business in each industry continues to find ways to innovate to make sure that more financial needs are met faster and more intuitively.
Now, let's consider how Mono helps fintech businesses to do this with secure and permissioned access to customer financial data.
How data connections work on Mono
Mono leverages Open Banking frameworks and APIs to connect to financial institutions. This makes it possible for everyday users and financial account holders to securely share financial data with any business of their choosing, as long as the business is connected to Mono's API.
This connection happens only with the user's consent. They (the user) can connect their financial apps to a business via the Mono widget by simply selecting a financial institution and entering their login details.
The data that can be shared through this type of connection includes biodata details, account balances, currency, transaction details, and financial account statements.
This data helps fintech businesses to understand their customers' finances better, build more innovative products for them, and also make informed business decisions.
How does this benefit a user?
For example, take Rosaline, an entrepreneur whose handmade footwear and bags business makes about N600,000 a month. She needs funds to expand her business and manage some miscellaneous expenses, but when she tries to get a loan with a lending company, Rosaline is offered only a testing amount of N10,000—despite having enough earnings to be offered more than that—so that she can build her credit limit.
This is time-wasting for her business as she will be unable to get the loan that she needs to scale her operations. This is where Mono comes in; when Rosaline finds a lending company that accepts financial data from their customers via Mono, she links her account to share her bank statements. This makes it easy for the lending company to
Verify Rosaline's identity
Verify Rosaline's business income
Assess her creditworthiness and capacity to repay
Offer her a loan that suits her needs
With this information, the lending company is then able to offer Rosaline the right amount of credit that she needs, and she is able to fund her business needs and grow.
The login details that Rosaline enters on the Mono widget are not visible to Mono employees or the lending service that has offered her a loan. The transaction data from the financial account statements shared with the business remain hers, and will not be rented or sold to any 3rd party.
Here's a short walkthrough video that shows you what happens when you link a financial account to an app using Mono. (Click below to watch)
Account linking on Mono is protected by bank-grade [AES 256-bit] security. Mono neither retains nor shares the users' login details, and can not post any debits or withdrawals from their financial accounts.
This is how investment account linking works on Mono as well.
How linking your investment app account via Mono works
Thousands of Nigerians, today, are diversifying their sources of income by investing in internationally traded stocks and other assets from the comfort of their homes.
Some apps that allow them to do this include Bamboo, Trove, Chaka, and Risevest. We recently added these investment institutions as connections on the Mono Connect widget.
As explained earlier, what this means is that users who have investment accounts with any of these institutions can securely link their investment account to a business of their choice. This secure connection will allow such businesses to access investment data with the permission of the user.
On the Mono widget, a user links their investment app account by simply selecting their investment institution and securely signing in with their login details.
Data that can be retrieved and aggregated through this connection include biodata details, investment holding type, investment balance, and currency. Secure access to this data will allow businesses like personal finance managers, wealth and asset managers, lending institutions, and travel and embassy institutions, to do one or more of the following:
Verify a user's
investment portfolio for the purpose of granting them a loan
And offer a user
financial and asset management advice
other innovative financial services based on their investment history and portfolio
How does this benefit a user?
In this case, consider an example where Rosaline has invested in some Tesla, Nvidia, and Apple stock to the tune of $400 and is expecting investment returns in 3 months. After repaying her previous loan, she would like to access another loan, and this time she would like to include proof of her investments to be considered in the loan application.
The lending service prompts Rosaline to link her investment account (any of Bamboo, Trove, Risevest, or Chaka) to their app. With her permission and through a Mono connection, they are able to securely retrieve her investment data and are able to reassess her credit limit.
If Rosaline was unable to link her investment account, she may have been unable to get her credit limit reviewed and increased; being able to securely share her investment portfolio gives her access to better financial services.
Questions you might have and answers to them
How does Mono ensure that the companies I link my account to do not sell my data?
We have put in place necessary compliance checks that review each business that signs up to use Mono's services to access customer data. These checks include verifying business registration, an in-depth review of the business' user experience, and signed service level agreement documentations. We also make sure that each business has the required license to practise in its industry.
Does Mono see or store my login details?
No, Mono does not see or store your financial institution login details. A process called 'Hashing' is used to encrypt them.
Can Mono debit my account when I link my account to securely share financial data?
No, Mono cannot and will not debit your bank or investment accounts when you link them to securely share data.
Can my investments be taken from my account?
No, your investment balances or earnings cannot be withdrawn from your account.
How does sharing my investment portfolio data benefit me?
Sharing your investment portfolio data with a business that prompts you to link your account via Mono can benefit you in the following ways:
Allow you to aggregate and track your assets from one place
Allows you to link your investment account with businesses that can consider your investment portfolio in a loan/credit application.
Your investment portfolio could be considered as proof of income for traveller data checks.
What does it cost to link my investment app via Mono?
Using Mono as an end-user is completely free and secure.
How does Mono protect my data and ensure my privacy?
We're big proponents of data protection here at Mono, and your privacy is extremely important to us. Here are some of the ways we've built protection for users around account linking and payments.
We have and maintain a consent-first and clear communication approach to all things
We use the bank-grade data security infrastructure and practices
We subject our processes to continuous security testing, monitoring, and audits by data experts
We're constantly building more products to ensure the safety of user data.
You can learn more here.
If you have more questions regarding user privacy or any of our products, we're here to help. You can leave us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be in touch.