At Navy Federal, it’s our priority to keep our members’ data and finances safe and secure. We use state-of-the-art fraud prevention systems to monitor your accounts for suspicious activity 24/7. We also offer many digital security features to help you stay informed of security issues.
While data security has always been a priority, we’re happy to share an additional step we’re taking to make sure your data is more secure than ever. We recently developed our own Application Programming Interface (API) to give you more privacy and say in how your data is shared.
What’s an API?
Those of you who aren’t familiar with app development may be scratching your heads wondering what an API is. As the vice president of omni-channel strategy and innovation at Navy Federal, part of my job is to break down some of these complex themes into terms everyone can understand. Here’s an easy example:
Imagine you’re out to dinner with a friend. You’ve decided what you want to eat. In order to get fed, you need to communicate your choice to the kitchen staff. That’s where the waiter comes in—someone to be the go-between for you and the person preparing your meal. They collect the information from you (your order) and pass it along to the system preparing it (the kitchen) to provide you with the requested output (your meal).
In this scenario, the waiter is the API. They’re the crucial tie, ensuring your request is properly communicated to the right team in the right way.
What Does This Mean for Members?
We want you to be in control of your personal information. This API allows you to manage how and what personal data is accessed by external parties, particularly any third-party banking apps you may use (think Venmo, Mint, YNAB, etc.). With this set-up, you retain ownership of your data. If at any point you want to change who can access your data, you can.
It also gives you more transparency with your data. Because you’ll need to opt-in through our API to share data with third-party applications, we’re able to let you know who’s been granted access.
What Comes Next?
We’re migrating members over to our new API in phases. For the most part, you won’t notice any changes. However, if you’re using a third-party app, you’ll be redirected to Navy Federal to reauthenticate access. For these situations, you’ll receive a communication from the third-party app letting you know the steps to take to allow them access.
How Is This More Secure?
With this API, we can securely send data to third parties you’ve given access to. This allows us to see who you’ve granted permission to and which data is allowed to be shared.
Additionally, this new API comes with another layer of security standards. These standards will decrease the chance of fraud exposure because you won’t be required to share your username and password with any third parties that have been migrated to the API.
While the API helps protect your data, it’s important to be proactive and take the proper steps to keep your account secure.
Who Are We Working With?
We recently signed a data access agreement with Finicity, a Mastercard® company. This will allow you to securely link your accounts to applications that use Finicity’s data network.
While Finicity is the first data aggregator we’re officially working with, the goal is to expand our partnerships with others who meet our standards for security.
Author Bio: Ryan joined Navy Federal in 2017 as the Manager of Mobile Banking. Ryan now serves as Vice President of Omni-Channel Strategy & Innovation where he is responsible for defining and maintaining a 5-year Digital strategy for Navy Federal Credit Union, and his team is leading the credit union’s open banking strategy. During Ryan’s tenure at Navy Federal, his teams delivered several key initiatives, including the introduction of Multi-Factor Authentication, the redesign of the membership application, and a redesign of the mobile app. Ryan holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Skidmore College and received his MBA from University of Maryland College Park.