Earlier this month, users turned to Google to find out whether emails informing them of a “Plaid settlement” were legitimate or spam. They are real, and if you got one, there’s a chance you could be owed some money from the fintech company’s recent $58 million class action settlement.
Plaid’s technology allows users to connect their bank accounts to approximately 5,000 different types of apps, from mobile banking and savings apps to business services and payment apps. In fact, you might find that one of your go-to apps uses Plaid to function, like I did when writing this article. Popular apps that rely on Plaid include Venmo, Robinhood, American Express, Capital One, Wells Fargo, and Coinbase, among thousands of others.
Last year, Plaid settled a class action lawsuit for $58 million brought by users who claimed that the company obtained their bank login information and gathered more data from them than was necessary.
According to the complaint, plaintiffs said that the company designed its Plaid Link interface to have the look and feel and their bank accounts’ login screens, which led them to enter their usernames and passwords. The usernames and passwords were then provided to Plaid via the interface. In addition, plaintiffs argued that Plaid obtained more financial information and data than was authorized or needed by the app they were using.
Plaid has denied these allegations. Because it reached a settlement with the plaintiffs, the court has not ruled on whether the company is guilty of what it’s accused of.
“[N]o court or other entity has made any findings against Plaid nor any determination that the law has been violated,” reads a statement on the settlement’s informational website.
So, how do you find out whether you’re owed money? If you used an app that relied on Plaid to connect to your bank account from Jan. 1, 2013 to Nov. 19, 2021, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to a payout. (It should be noted that considering the number of apps that use Plaid and the time period covered in the complaint, it’s not likely you’ll get a lot of money).
It’s pretty straightforward to find out whether your app used Plaid. The lawsuit’s settlement website allows you to search for affected apps and services. You may also have received a notice that you’re part of the affected class by physical mail or email. Once you have that figured out, you have to submit a claim form before April 28, 2022.
If I were you, I would check my spam folder to make sure the notice didn’t get sent there by accident. I would also look to see if my most-used financial apps show up on the settlement website. You may not get a lot of money out of this, but hey, free money is free money.