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Plaid’s Legacy in the Fintech Industry: Insights, Value, and Security


10 min read

As of 2024, there are almost 30,000 notable fintech startups worldwide. No wonder that nowadays, launching a fintech startup is one of the lucrative ways to enter the market. While fintech product ideas are many, lots of them involve handling customers’ financial data. If you’re not well-versed in integrating various banking solutions into your future product, you will need an intermediary that can empower your app to handle customers’ data in a secure way.

In this post, you’ll discover what is Plaid fintech solution, what’s its role in fintech and banking, and what it can offer businesses, Besides, you’ll find out if Plaid is a secure solution and how it works in practice.

What is Plaid?

Plaid is a technology platform that allows applications to connect securely with users’ bank accounts, facilitating access to financial data.

Initially launched by American founders Zach Perret and William Hockey as a bookkeeping and budgeting platform, the Plaid banking app is present not only within the US. Its services echo around the UK, Spain, Canada, Netherlands, Ireland, and France. Hence, Plaid online banking is available beyond the country of origin to bring even more security to European financial and banking systems.

Technically, Plaid and its competitors like MX, Dwolla, or Stripe Connect take advantage of financial data APIs to ensure the best communication between your encrypted information, a bank, and a fintech app of your choice.

Is Plaid safe to be employed for business purposes? Considering that the most renowned global fintech banks work with this platform, the answer is more ‘yes’ than ‘no.’

Today, Plaid is one of the most famous open banking players to operate internationally. According to Statista, the number of open banking users worldwide in 2024 will reach 132.2 million. As a rule, open banking users aren’t huge fans of sharing their personal information with third parties. In light of the modern multi-brand world, customer loyalty is the flagship of any commercial endeavor, so you’d better gain more insight into how enterprises squeeze value out of this service.

Thus, let’s go ahead and find out how you can make use of Plaid banking. If you’re interested in ensuring security for your fintech product, it’s worth trying this platform!

What Is The Role Of Plaid In Fintech?

Plaid company operates as a financial services organization specializing in safe data transferring between customers and fintech players. Simply put, Plaid functions as the power behind the throne of global transactions.

As one of the open banking pioneers in the US, Plaid abides by the principles of corporate social responsibility, carrying out regular surveys to keep the public informed. According to the Plaid’s report, 58% of respondents claim that they can’t live without the options offered by fintech, and 70% confirm using apps to manage their money.

Interestingly, the Plaid company works with about 10k banks, and its approximate value is estimated at $13.4 billion. With tens of millions of consumers worldwide and 5k+ supported applications, Plaid pursues an important mission in the fintech industry. It safely packages the sensitive information acquired via a particular payment or banking app and transfers it through secure channels for further procedures.

Since Plaid’s mission involves digitalizing financial services and empowering fintech players, the company continually pops up in the media. For instance, Plaid has launched Beacon, a network that helps fintech companies combat fraud. 

The idea behind Beacon is that banks have networks to share fraud information, but most other companies lack these tools.

With Beacon, fintechs can report instances of fraud. Members share information about various types of fraud, such as stolen identities or fake accounts. Plaid collects this data and spreads this info with the network. Fintech companies can then check new signups or users against the Beacon network to see if any are associated with fraud on other Plaid-powered platforms or within their organization.

If a fintech company reports that a stolen identity was used to sign up for one of their accounts, and then the same stolen identity is used to sign up for another fintech service, Beacon allows the business to investigate the situation and protect both the company and its customers from potential fraud.

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What Does Plaid Do for the Fintech Business in Practice?

Considering several supported financial apps like Venmo, Acorns, or Betterment, the Plaid fintech company undoubtedly contributes to the evolution of the industry.

Say you need your portfolio aggregator to be processed and analyzed for further investment improvement. However, you prefer to keep the information in your portfolio private from every party involved. Therefore, Plaid ensures the seamless integration of financial systems to one another. Every time you need to share your banking or other sensitive data with apps and banks, Plaid takes its part in the play.

The Plaid bank platform is valuable not only for users.

Product owners and developers may also benefit from using Plaid for their software-building purposes:

  • This solution allows developers to access financial information from a user’s bank account safely.
  • If you’re working on a specific software solution, be it web or mobile, you can sufficiently quickly set up Plaid in React. This will enable you to monitor transactions in a console and connect a bank account to your application.

As it turns out, Plaid makes many processes a lot easier and contributes significantly to the safety of fintech procedures.

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Is Plaid Safe for Business and Personal Use?

While processing and transferring customer-sensitive information, the Plaid app uses top-notch encryption protocols, including the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 256). Above that, the platform refers to reliable security practices like multifactor authentication (MFA) and a bug bounty program

Plaid uses the most sophisticated security technologies to provide high-class customer service. What the industry gets with its system includes:

  • Cloud infrastructure
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Continual monitoring
  • Regular security reviews by independent parties

Plaid’s API facilitates a seamless interconnection between applications and bank accounts so that no information is lost or skipped. Utilizing this platform, you can tweak what information is displayed through it.

For example, you can access the following forms of data:

  • Account profile information
  • Balances
  • Investment holdings
  • Interest rates
  • Student loans
  • Transactions
  • Account and routing numbers
  • Credit card balance

It’s worth mentioning that Plaid won’t allow the app to sell your or your customers’ private data to other parties. Well, it sounds safe enough, doesn’t it?

What Is Plaid For Banking?

Plaid is a fintech company that provides a secure platform for other financial apps to connect with clients’ bank accounts. Your fintech application can include various features, such as savings, investments, payments, or borrowing.

Plaid acts as an intermediary, allowing the apps to access customers’ financial information only after explicit permission and ensuring that all their sensitive financial data is encrypted and stored safely. Plaid protects all customer information from potential security breaches and makes your life as a business owner much easier since you don’t have to worry about security.

Plaid for banking is almost revolutionary. Although banks and the company don’t use the same API, they both avail themselves of Payment Initiation Services (PIS) and Account Information Services (AIS) to ensure workflow smoothness. In particular, Plaid uses Real Time Payments (RTP) network to help fintech businesses speed up banking payments. RTP allows businesses to eliminate the old money transfer system called Automated Clearing House (ACH). RTP allows instant transfers, while ACH transfers take 1 to 3 business days.

How Does Plaid’s System Work Behind the Scene?

Most banking institutions and their apps have a specific idiosyncratic API and legacy architecture, which makes it incredibly challenging to manage finance via these platforms. Plaid offers a connection layer for you to link and work with banking information without having to deal with not user-friendly interfaces of bank websites or apps.

Here’s how a customer uses an app that operates upon a Plaid’s system:

  1. A user downloads a fintech app and fills in their banking details;
  2. A part of Plaid’s code in the form of a widget inside that software packages the data;
  3. The code transfers the encrypted information across secure channels to a specific bank’s server;
  4. When a bank verifies the user’s authenticity and confirms the balance, it pings Plaid in response;
  5. Once Plaid confirms the user’s account, it authenticates them to make ACH deposits or other operations with their finances.

The process is conducted via Plaid bank verification which is a process used by Plaid to authenticate and connect a user’s bank account securely to various financial applications. Plaid may use tokenization for other apps and scenarios, so it’s a sufficiently flexible software solution for open banking operations.

Does Plaid Take Advantage Of Open Banking?

Open banking with Plaid

Plaid is one of the intermediaries between applications and banks, such as US bank, allowing users to access open banking services, such as expense analysis and budgeting. Plaid makes the transfer of financial data open yet protected from theft, phishing, scam. As mentioned earlier, open banking systems exploit APIs to provide open access to financial information between different apps engaged in transactions.

You can discover more about banking and open banking APIs from another blog post by DashDevs.

Notably, 9 biggest banks in the UK provide third parties with access to customer accounts in a standardized and safe form. If you intend to launch a fintech business that offers AIS in the UK and can use open banking principles, you must be authorized or registered. Consequently, compliance with the revised Payment Service Directive (PSD2) is necessary to work with financial management tools or offer other AIS.

Without a doubt, Plaid reaps all the benefits of open banking in the US and some European countries. To clarify, it’s been authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Service Regulations 2017 to be able to provide payment services.

Apart from acquiring Cognito, the identity verification program, Plaid partnered with AccountsIQ to guarantee even more connectivity and security for all fintech services worldwide. Similar partnerships allow customers to make payments or manage their banking accounts more quickly and safely. That’s precisely where the open banking philosophy begins to blossom.

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What Companies And Financial Institutions Use Plaid?

According to the official website, Plaid clients, along with partners, include:

  • More than 8k+ services and applications.
  • 12k+ financial institutions.
  • 40k+ developers are integrating the platform with third parties. 

Today, Plaid supports such world-known apps as Robinhood, Venmo, Betterment, Acorns, Mint, and many more, let alone large banks like Personal Capital, American Express, Chase, or PNC. A long list of partners, clients, and supported platforms allows Plaid to remain one of the most influential open banking systems in the global fintech market.

The odds are that more and more apps will support Plaid with time since few major competitors are out there. Let’s look at players who resemble Plaid’s competitors because it’s difficult to compare them equally as their services slightly differ.

  • Stripe Connect. This solution ensures a number of unified APIs and other tools that allow businesses to manage and accept online payments.
  • Codat. Expert in SME financial data exchange, this fintech player works with cloud-based microservices solutions that simplify the integration of new software into content management systems.
  • Dwolla. This app allows enterprises to accept and facilitate account-to-account, push-to-debit, and real-time payments.

Though these fintech companies don’t reflect the whole state of competition within the industry touching upon Plaid, they indicate that no monopoly exists in the area.

To learn more about how DashDevs can assist you with Plaid integration and other fintech tools, visit our Fintech Integrations page.

Is Plaid Supported In Europe?

Yes, Plaid is supported in Europe. Plaid has expanded its reach from the United States to the UK, US, and various European markets. The company keeps “making friends” with local banks, financial institutions, and customers in Europe.

Now, let’s talk about some exciting recent changes. In the UK, the FCA updated the reauthentication rules last September (2022). Plaid made these changes for its UK customers, creating a smoother and less disruptive user experience. They made it easier for people to use their favorite apps.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has introduced some significant changes. They’ve decided to extend the “reauthentication rule” from 90 to a more convenient 180 days. So, what does this mean in practical terms? When people link their bank accounts to fintech apps through open banking, they grant permission and may need to verify their identity and confirm the authenticity of their documents. This used to be a 90-day routine in Europe, but now, users can do it once every 180 days.

Importantly, this rule change doesn’t apply to only one country; it’s a shift for all EU member states. So, whether you’re in France, Germany, Spain, or any other 15 EU countries where Plaid operates, you’ll experience these positive changes. This transformation makes using fintech apps and services in Europe more seamless and secure for everyone.

Final Take: What Can You Learn From Plaid’s Case?

Plaid’s case sheds light on how entrepreneurs can rapidly identify and fill a vacant niche with an unexpected solution. The fintech industry is massive and continually requires sustainable innovations. In constant need of working solutions, the financial market is thirsty, so some niches remain untouched. You can become one of the enthusiasts to occupy them. If you are a fintech startup, integrating tools like Plaid into your product is pivotal.

Here at DashDevs, with more than 14 years of experience on the market, we acquired extensive experience in setting up Plaid integrations and others. Our expertise can help you seamlessly connect your fintech product with Plaid, ensuring you harness its power to access vital banking data securely. Plaid’s capabilities can be a game-changer for your business, and we’re here to guide you through the process.

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Table of contents
What does Plaid do?
Plaid provides technology that enables apps to connect with users' bank accounts for financial services. Key services include account verification and real-time financial data syncing.
What is Plaid banking?
Plaid banking refers to the use of Plaid's technology by financial apps and services to securely access banking data, enhancing user experiences in financial transactions.
What is Plaid Venmo?
Plaid Venmo involves Plaid facilitating the linkage between users’ bank accounts and their Venmo app, allowing for secure and immediate transactions.
How safe is Plaid?
Plaid is considered safe as it uses robust encryption and multi-factor authentication to protect user data during bank account linkages and transactions.
Which banks use Plaid?
Many major banks use Plaid, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, to securely integrate with various fintech applications.
How does Plaid make money?
Plaid generates revenue by charging fees to the developers and companies that use its technology to enable secure and efficient financial transactions and services.