What is screen scraping and how does it work?
Find out how and why businesses use screen scraping, the benefits and pitfalls of the process, as well as what alternatives are available.
At its most basic, screen scraping is the process of collecting display information from a ‘screen’ (typically a webpage) to use elsewhere or to perform actions that the user would normally carry out. But the technology and ethics behind screen scraping has made its usage quite controversial. The practice of sharing security credentials for banking portals in order to enable screen scraping has implications for user security, while even small visual updates can disrupt the user experience.While it was once the only real option for collecting certain types of customer data automatically, other options have since grown in popularity. Screen scraping was previously a common practice for powering open banking use cases, but following changes in regulation, application programming interfaces (APIs) are increasingly replacing it.This article explains how and why businesses use screen scraping, the benefits and pitfalls of the process, as well as how it relates to open banking.
How does screen scraping work?Screen scraping works using a programme or ‘bot’, which gains access to a customer account and automatically captures the data on the screen in the background, without the customer being present. Specifically, screen scraping works like this:
- The customer shares their login details with a third party provider (TPP)
- The TPP uses these details to log in to the customer’s bank account
- The TPP then copies or ‘scrapes’ the customer’s bank data for use outside of the customer’s banking portal