JPMorgan Chase is making it easier — and more secure — to share data on digital apps like Mint and QuickBooks.

On Wednesday, the New York company and Intuit announced they have formed a partnership to make sharing financial data easier and safer through an application programming interface. The companies said they will introduce Open Authentication and will exchange data through the Open Financial Exchange (OFX) 2.2 API.

The functionality, which will be delivered in phases, is an alternative to screen scraping, a practice that requires sharing usernames and passwords with third-party apps and one that Chase’s top execs have condemned in the past. Instead, the new model will use a token to authorize Intuit to download the requested financial data.

“Customers will get to decide what they want to share and when they want to share it – without having to hand over their password,” said JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon about the company’s partnership with Intuit that uses APIs rather than screen scraping. Bloomberg News

“The most important part of this is giving control to the customer,” JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said in the press release. “Customers will get to decide what they want to share and when they want to share it – without having to hand over their password.”

Finding alternatives to screen scraping has long been a discussion in the industry. Wells Fargo, for instance, made a splash last year when the San Francisco bank announced it created an application programming interface so small businesses can have their bank account data poured directly into the accounting software provided by Xero.

In his annual letter to shareholders last year, Dimon expressed his support for third parties and the bank to connect via API rather than screen scraping.

"In the future," Dimon wrote in the April 2016 letter, "instead of giving a third party unlimited access to information in any bank account, we hope to build systems that allow us to 'push' information — and only that information agreed to by the customer — to that third party."

The subject of data access has been getting much more attention in recent months. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking a request for information on consumer access to data records, and the agency’s director has been vocal about warning banks not to limit access to data.

The Chase-Intuit partnership is not exclusive; the companies said they continue to pursue similar agreements.

Mary Wisniewski

Mary Wisniewski

Mary is deputy editor of BankThink. She also writes on a variety of subjects as part of American Banker's bank tech team.