These days, open banking is the word of the town. While IT experts consider it one of the most disruptive innovations in mobile banking, banking professionals see an emerging future for open banking.
However, there are still a lot of unanswered concerns about the creation of specific financial apps. The most frequent queries I get from clients are these:
- How can I create a fintech app using the open banking API?
- Is user data secure while using open banking?
- How can I obtain the public APIs?
This post will discuss key aspects of open banking, why user data is safe with open banking, and how to leverage an open API for new product development.
What Is Open Banking?
An open banking application programming interface (API) defines how large banks share their data with startups and other businesses. These startups can create new products much more quickly and easily thanks to this data.
The idea of an open banking API is not new. Another product of Google’s shared location API and map technology was Uber. Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg used name, age, and university data to build Facebook. Similarly, hundreds of innovative fintech firms can find their beginnings using an open banking API.
For instance, you would like to launch a business that provides insightful financial management information and produces financial statistics. The good news is that this kind of software does not require you to create a bank. The information about the bank’s transactions is available for additional use and analysis.
Or what if you wanted to develop a platform that would combine many bank accounts into a single app, simplifying financial management? The open banking API is a really useful tool in this situation to make things easier.
Open Banking In Europe
In the EU banking industry, APIs are becoming increasingly significant. In 2007 and 2013, the European Union enacted the Payment Services Directive (PSD) and PSD 2. The guidelines permit banks to provide appropriate data production and security while opening their infrastructure via API to outside parties.
The results started to appear soon after the project was approved. Ironically, the nation with the most conservative financial system—the United Kingdom—took the lead in putting the open banking plan into practice. Consequently, the amount of API calls rose from 66.8 million to over 6 billion between 2018 and 2020.
The financial sector in the UK has passed past the stagnation threshold. The program boosted banking efficiency and competition while providing a platform for creative fintech initiatives. Products built on open banking API are used by about 2.5 million companies and people in the UK to manage their accounts.
USA Open Banking
The US is far behind the EU and the UK in the implementation of open banking. In the US, there isn’t yet a regulation on this matter. But the EU open banking standards also matter when it comes to US corporations operating fintech enterprises in Europe.
Thus far, major participants in the industry including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Bank of America have joined Afins, Nacha’s API standards group. To standardize APIs connected to payments, these institutions are collaborating with many payment providers. Therefore, US banks follow these requirements even if they are not subject to rigorous open banking legislation.
For this reason, US banks should also consider answering the issue, of “How to integrate open banking API into a fintech app.”
Open API: What Is It?
It’s time to respond to the important query: what exactly is an open banking API?
To begin with, this is an acronym for “application programming interface.” This is an assembly of protocols and codes that specify the interactions between software elements. Interaction between various apps is facilitated using API.
Data Provided via an API
Banks have been gathering information on customer transactions and spending for years. For banks, this information is merely a data repository with little practical use. This information may pertain to:
- Where banking branches are located
- information on certain banking products
- data from transactions
- loan installments
- bills for electricity
- travel-related costs
However, a lot of companies may find this data to be an invaluable resource. With the user’s permission, startups may securely utilize this data to develop new products and improve people’s lives thanks to API sharing.
Open Banking API Parties
Three parties are typically involved in the opening of a banking API:
- API supplier (Open Banking Limited, for instance)
- Beginning as a third-party
With the users’ permission, the financial institution gives the API provider access to the relevant data. Next, the third party, a business preparing to develop a product based on the shared data, receives the information automatically thanks to the protocols developed by the API provider.
If your application is API-based, you must get in touch with the bank as well as the API provider.
Advantages And Dangers Of The Open Banking API
One of the main advantages of the open banking API is the fintech sector. Open banking paves the way for a plethora of fintech endeavors that provide advantages for consumers and companies alike.
Open Banking’s Advantages For Businesses
- Startups can develop new products, such as mobile apps that let bank customers monitor their credit, invest money, plan their budget, and talk for financial guidance. Since most conventional banks don’t provide these services instantly, entrepreneurs will be able to fill this market gap.
- More specialized services may be made using the vast data gathered from customer behavior and financial analytics.
- Better interfaces, a more easy way to engage with financial instruments and a variety of analytical data for improved financial management are all offered by open banking API. To check on their finances, the user won’t need to launch many applications. All the features will be combined into one app.
- Quicker operations for every service. Payments for utilities and other expenses may be made with only one app and one permission.
- Because of increased market competition, financial services now have lower fees.
Risks Of Open Banking API
User data is strongly integrated with Open Banking API. Regretfully, there is never complete security when it comes to services handling user data and fraudulent invasions. That does not, however, imply that no such apps ought to be created. It implies that, in comparison to other app categories, these apps will need more security precautions.
Why Is API-Sharing Not As Risky As It Looks?
Sharing sensitive user data makes API-sharing appear dangerous at first. However, developing apps with APIs is no more risky than using any other kind of consumer data. The user’s permission to share the data is the cause of that.
For instance, the customer wishes to immediately establish an installment credit while purchasing a new smartphone from an online retailer. Following consent, the payment provider uses an API to link to the bank and obtain customer data to determine the degree of risk:
Statistics on transactions, evidence of consistent income, and asset worth
The consumer can acquire the installment credit in as few as two clicks; however, the entire procedure could take several seconds.
Screen scraping is a different approach to data sharing that works hand in hand with API sharing.
Screen-scraping is a more forceful way of gathering data than open banking. The user shared more than just a portion of their personal information by screen-scraping. To enable third people to access the account on the user’s behalf, they would divulge their login credentials. The open banking API is a safer option than this technique, which is more detrimental to user data.
How Can Open Banking APIs Be Used By Startups To Create New Products?
Open banking API can benefit cofounders in a variety of ways. To name a few, these are:
Apps for Financial Management
You may create mobile fintech apps using the open banking API that gathers information from customers’ various accounts and provides insightful analysis for improved money management.
Apps for lending
Lending apps are another kind of open banking API-based application. An app like this would make it easier for people or businesses to apply for loans. By utilizing information from mobile banks, the crediting firm may quickly determine whether to provide the loan or deny it based on the user’s credibility.
Ecommerce Payments Made Simpler
Simplifying the payment procedure on e-commerce websites is another way that open banking may improve the lives of consumers and companies. On certain websites, making payments might be difficult. An “acquirer,” like WorldPay or Global Payments, receives a request from the shop when you make an online transaction and then forwards it to Visa or MasterCard. The payment only then takes place. Payments may be processed straight from the account using open banking, which is more expedient and less expensive.
What Should API Providers Know About Basic Security?
One of the things preventing many governments from putting the open banking plan into practice is the security concern. But as I just mentioned, if done well, API integration may be safe and secure. Furthermore, several nations address these issues by enacting minimal data protection laws.
For instance, the EU establishes particular guidelines for outside businesses wishing to utilize the API:
- Data minimization: The amount of information that third parties can use to perform their services is limited.
- Data usage is only permitted with consumers’ express consent.
- Only certain circumstances allow for the acceptance of such consent.
- Third-party organizations must adhere to all due diligence rules.
What Does Open Banking Hold Next?
Currently, nations that regress in open banking API risk regressing in international markets as well. Thus, an exponential increase in open banking APIs is anticipated in the next years.
The expansion of PISPs (Payments Information Service Providers) is another development that is anticipated. This will greatly increase the flexibility with which shops handle payments. It provides greater freedom and eliminates commissions, perhaps replacing card payments.
There are several chances to develop fintech products and services with open banking APIs. However, creating API-based software involves a lot of work and close attention to detail. Additionally, you will have to get in touch with the API provider and the bank.
So, What Are You Waiting For?