In an effort to foster innovation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is launching a data driven initiative that will intially involve several financial-services startups.

The so-called Project Catalyst makes good on the government agency’s promise to involve data in its effort to track market trends.

The first three companies to be involved in the project are: BillGuard, a company that flags fraudulent charges on its users’ credit card statements; Plastyc, a prepaid card provider; and the provider of branchless banking services Simple (formerly BankSimple).

“We want to collaborate with innovators seeking to advance consumer-friendly innovation,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray, in a press release. “These collaborations help us better understand what works and does not work to improve life for consumers in the marketplace.”

Already, the CFPB is working with other government agencies, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to track mortgages.

Earlier this month, the two said they were creating a first-of-its-kind mega-database that contains information in support of policy making research.

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