The 2024 Guide to NPI vs PII: Safeguarding Sensitive Information

Compliant customer document and information collection!

Schedule a demo today!

With the advancement of digital commerce and data exchange, businesses find themselves at the intersection of innovation and responsibility. As technology evolves, so too do the challenges and obligations associated with handling sensitive consumer data and with data breaches and privacy violations on the rise, understanding and effectively managing personally identifiable information (PII) and nonpublic personal information (NPI) is crucial. 


The need for a heightened understanding of PII and NPI is underscored by the increasing frequency of data privacy scandals and the ever-changing regulatory environment. Several privacy regulations play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of consumer data protection. 

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) refers to any information that, when used alone or in combination with other pieces of data, can be used to identify a specific individual. PII encompasses various data elements that, if exposed or misused, can compromise an individual’s privacy and security.

PII refers to any data that can identify a specific individual, including personal names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and demographic information. The 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) revolutionised data protection by granting California residents unprecedented control over their personal information, influencing global privacy standards.

Financial institutions, integral in collecting PII during processes like Know Your Customer (KYC), adapt their practices to comply with evolving regulations like the CCPA. As technology evolves, organisations must continuously refine their approaches to safeguard PII, not only to meet legal requirements but also to uphold consumer trust and operational integrity.

Single-point types of Personally Identifiable Information (PII):

  • Personal names
  • Addresses
  • Email Addresses
  • Phone Numbers
  • Demographic Information
  • Fingerprints
  • Passport Numbers

npi meaning

Nonpublic Personal Information (NPI):

NPI, a subset of PII defined by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), specifically pertains to financial information collected by institutions when providing financial services. Unlike PII, NPI does not adhere to a fixed list of data types and may vary from customer to customer.

  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Loan information
  • Investment account details
  • Social Security numbers (when used for financial transactions)
  • Income and employment information
  • Tax identification numbers

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Safeguards Rule is a crucial regulatory framework governing the use and handling of NPI. Financial institutions must implement robust cybersecurity measures, encryption, data access controls, and employee training to prevent data breaches and unauthorised access. The mishandling of NPI data can lead to financial loss, identity theft, and legal consequences for both institutions and the individuals affected.

Key Differences Between NPI and PII

  • Scope and Application: PII covers a broader range of data that can identify an individual across any sector, while NPI is more specific to financial, health, and insurance sectors, focusing on the non-public aspect of the information.
  • Regulatory Framework: Both types of information are regulated, but NPI is particularly governed by laws specific to the financial services industry, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) in the United States. PII, on the other hand, falls under general data protection regulations like the GDPR in Europe and various state laws in the U.S., such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  • Protection and Compliance: While both require rigorous protection measures, the compliance specifics can vary. Organisations handling NPI must often adopt additional safeguards and customer notice requirements, reflecting the sensitivity and potential misuse of financial information.

Best Practices for Handling PII and NP

As businesses navigate the intricate terrain of sensitive consumer data, adopting best practices becomes imperative. Here are some key guidelines for effectively handling PII and NPI:

1. Data Encryption: Implement robust encryption measures to safeguard PII and NPI during transmission and storage. Encryption adds an extra layer of protection, making it difficult for unauthorised parties to access sensitive information.

2. Access Controls: Utilise stringent access controls to restrict the availability of PII and NPI only to authorised personnel. This includes implementing role-based access permissions and regularly reviewing and updating access privileges.

3. Employee Training: Conduct regular training sessions for employees on data privacy and security practices. Ensure that employees are aware of the sensitivity of PII and NPI and are well-versed in the organisation’s data protection policies.

4. Incident Response Plan: Develop a comprehensive incident response plan to address potential data breaches promptly. This should include protocols for identifying, containing, and mitigating the impact of a security incident.

5. Regular Audits and Assessments: Conduct regular audits and security assessments to identify vulnerabilities in systems and processes. Regular assessments help organisations stay proactive in addressing potential risks and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

6. Compliance with Regulatory Standards: Stay informed about relevant data protection regulations, such as GDPR, CCPA, and the upcoming changes in the FTC’s Safeguards Rule. Ensure that your data protection practices align with these standards to avoid legal consequences.

7. Transparent Data Practices: Maintain transparency with consumers regarding data collection practices. Clearly communicate how their PII and NPI will be used, stored, and protected, providing options for opt-out where applicable.

PlanetVerify provides companies with a compliant and secure way to collect customer PII and NPI. The platform was built specifically to meet the requirements laid out by compliance regulations such as GDPR and gives companies the tools they need to manage customer PII and NPI in a data compliant manner.

By leveraging PlanetVerify’s services, businesses can enhance their data protection measures, mitigate risks associated with handling sensitive information, and demonstrate a commitment to maintaining consumer trust and privacy. Secure your data and elevate your commitment to privacy. Get started with PlanetVerify today!

Stay up to date on PlanetVerify news, product updates, and more

PlanetVerify will only use the information you provide to share blog updates. You can unsubscribe any time. For more details, check out our privacy policy.

Related Articles