It's the equivalent of handing car keys to a perfect stranger, but users of personal finance management sites have been doing it for years.

To get sites like Mint or BillGuard to give them help with their finances, consumers have been forking over their online banking passwords and user names. This allows the sites to collect the users' financial data so they can, say, get alerts from a mobile app that specializes in spotting transaction fraud. While the major aggregation providers use encryption, anonymization and other security elements, there is still inherent risk in sharing the sensitive data that can unlock a bank account.

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