Frollo: Screen scraping ‘doesn’t come close’ to Open Banking data quality

Ellie Duncan
04 Apr 2024

Open Banking provides “cleaner and more insightful” data than screen scraping, resulting in a better user experience and return on investment, according to new research by Frollo.

The research sought to uncover the data quality advantages of Open Banking compared to traditional screen-scraping methods, by analysing anonymised data from 9.7 million Consumer Data Right (CDR) transactions and 1.3 million screen-scraped transactions on the Frollo money management app.

The two-month study between November 2023 and January 2024 was led by Dr Zhitao Xiong, head of data science at Frollo.

Xiong’s research concluded that screen scraping “inherently limits data” due to its reliance on “what’s visually accessible”, meaning that fields such as merchant category codes, biller codes and transaction types are “often missing”.

By contrast, Frollo found that CDR data provides biller codes, like ‘75556’, which is the Australian Taxation Office, enabling accurate categorisation by Frollo’s enrichment service IDEaS.

Merchant names also “lack consistency” in screen-scraped data, with the analysis revealing that CDR data offers merchant names in 52.3% of transactions, compared to just 31.7% for screen scraping – amounting to an advantage of 65.7%.

Frollo’s Xiong analysed word frequency across both datasets as part of the research, on the basis that “large datasets can contain inconsistencies like meaningless symbols or text fragments, which pollute data and hinder categorisation” by enrichment engines.

In the CDR data analysed, Frollo found that 14% of words were irrelevant, compared to 34% in screen scraping data, prompting Frollo users to re-categorise screen-scraped transactions 30% more often than CDR transactions.

Xiong said that, while screen scraping remains an option, it “doesn’t come close” to the data quality offered by Open Banking.

He added: “Open Banking offers a secure, consistent, and standardised method for data sharing.

“It delivers cleaner and more insightful data than screen scraping, resulting in a better user experience and return on investment.”

Last year, the Australian Government temporarily suspended the rollout of CDR to the superannuation, insurance and telcoms sectors, having already implemented Open Banking in the banking and energy sectors.