Account information and payment initiation services: not to be confused


Account information services, also known as account aggregation services are provided by information aggregators. They allow you to access aggregate information at any time, from a single computer application, on all your payment accounts available online (hence their name).

This service can be provided by credit institutions, such as your bank, by authorised payment and e-money institutions, and by other natural or legal persons not providing other payment services that are registered as account information service providers with the Banco de España.

You can visit our registerAbre en ventana nueva for a list of account information service providers. But remember: payment and e-money institutions, unlike credit institutions, must be specifically authorised to provide this service.

Before using this service, you should know how it works and what are its most relevant aspects.

  • Aggregators will have access to information on all the payment accounts available online for each bank you register with them. This means your financial information will be stored in one place.
  • Aggregators will be able to obtain real-time information on the balances and transaction records of every account that you added to the aggregator. Here you will have to provide them with the login details of each bank you wish to add.
  • The banks with which you have opened the aggregated accounts may deny access to the aggregator for justified and duly evidenced reasons (e.g. if they detect unauthorised or fraudulent access).
  • Aggregators may offer you other products for commercial purposes, provided you granted them access to your data, based on the analysis of these data and on your preferences and financial position. It is therefore advisable to read the data transfer clauses carefully before giving your consent.

Payment initiation services allow you to pay for online purchases without having a means of payment, such as a card, at the time of the purchase.

Providers of this service can be credit institutions (such as your bank) or authorised payment and e-money institutions. Institutions exclusively providing payment initiation services must obtain authorisation as payment institutions. They are colloquially referred to as initiators.

Some of the most relevant aspects of this service are:

  • The payment initiator is in charge of processing the payment order transferring funds from the bank to the retail establishment. It acts as an intermediary, with no need to enter into a contractual relationship with your bank.
  • Payment initiators provide assurance to the retail establishment that the payment transfer has been initiated. The retail establishment can therefore be confident that it will receive the funds, meaning it can release the goods or deliver the service without undue delay.
  • In turn, buyers are spared the more tedious process of entering their card details each time they make an online purchase.
  • In order to provide this service, payment initiators will access the buyer’s online banking platform. They need to make sure that the data provided by the user for identification purposes are not accessible to third parties.
  • Companies providing payment initiation services do not hold the funds in your accounts at any stage. They cannot request information from you which is not necessary for providing these services or access any information for purposes other than the provision of these services.

Both services require you to provide your login details to the account or accounts they will handle, as well as certain personal information. Therefore, it is important to carefully read and understand the relevant clauses and warnings, and to keep your login details safe. Be careful not to confuse your login details with the passwords you use for transactions (such as your e-signature or code card). Transaction passwords are only required for payment initiation services and are used in the same way as when you order a bank transfer through your online banking platform.

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