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Future Finance

Big Banks’ Clampdown on Data Puts Silicon Valley Apps on Alert

  • To secure data, banks demand apps stop logging in as customers
  • JPMorgan, Capital One lead shift to gateways with strict terms

The app was quickly becoming a cult favorite among penny-pinching U.S. consumers — and also a bane for their banks.

In just over a year, Paul Kesserwani’s startup Cushion has helped users win refunds on almost $1 million in fees by logging into their accounts and disputing charges with an artificial-intelligence chatbot, named Fee Fighter. The app features a cartoon robot wearing a black belt, assuring users “You relax, while I work.” It also lobbies to lower interest-rate charges on credit cards.