Open Banking: Definition, How It Works, and Risks

Open Finance is ready to expand the opportunities that Open Banking has created and bring even more benefits to customers. By forming a robust network of banks and third parties, both financial service providers and consumers benefit from greater transparency and convenience. Based on my last two blogs, it’s abundantly clear that the financial services sector as we know it is undergoing a radical change where the old meets the new. The latest example, open finance, aims to create a middle ground where old meets new, and the winners are consumers who further grow their financial footprint, all while retaining ownership of their data.

Logging on to their app will be enough to oversee and manage all the financial aspects of their lives. The goal of Open Finance is similar to that of Open Banking – providing consumers with more control over their financial data. But since Open Finance functions on a greater scale than open banking, it could help release the full potential of the latter. While concerns regarding data protection shouldn’t open Finance vs decentralized finance be dismissed offhand, it’s vital to remember that when you’re implementing open finance systems, security should come first. Companies seeking to capitalize on open finance should first ensure that the products and services they offer meet the highest security standards — especially when it comes to data protection. Previously, all financial matters were handled in a one-stop-shop — a bank.

The system then evolved further into open finance, expanding this ecosystem to include entities outside the financial realm— insurance companies, utility providers, retailers, and more. People without access to banks, the unbanked, were the driving force behind this expansion. If you’re not familiar with this term, it refers to people who don’t have an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider— according to World Bank, approximately 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked. If you’ve read my recent blogs, you’ve likely noticed a theme—the world of banking and financial services is changing radically; this includes the growing adoption of digital payments and, most recently, the arrival of decentralized finance. Open finance tools make data sharing safer because APIs eliminate the need for credential sharing (usernames and passwords) with third parties. Instead, APIs use anonymized tokens to create connections between apps and accounts so third parties never have access to credentials.

The biggest difference between open banking and Open Finance is that, at the time of writing, open banking is subject to much stricter regulation than Open Finance. Open banking across Europe, for example, is covered by the directive PSD2, which came into force in 2018. This created the regulatory framework which made it possible to open up banking in a safe and secure manner, and it is hoped that the same principle of openness will soon extend to the wider financial product marketplace. Now, with the growing wave of open technology, Open Finance has entered the playing field and could result in new developments in the financial market for both consumers and third-party providers. FIDA, the Financial Data Access regulation, represents a pivotal regulatory framework that is reshaping the landscape of finance.

Open banking refers to the exchange of services and data between financial institutions such as banks and third-party providers. When banks and financial services take advantage of embedded finance and BaaS, many things become possible. They can operate as a B2B2C company, bringing in significant revenue while saving on marketing costs. And they can forge excellent partnerships with TPPs with large and loyal customer bases. A great example of this in action is the partnership of Australia’s oldest bank WestPac and the successful Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service AfterPay. While the regulations are in place to protect customers, there is always the risk of unscrupulous players misusing data.

Lenders can also use Open Finance technology to create dashboards that offer more competitive services at better rates. It is also possible that they will be able to increase their ability to lend by lowering the risks involved thanks to more detailed information. Open Finance will also have an effect on Direct Debit payments, allowing Direct Debit users to save or combine payments. They will also be able to monitor exactly how much is being paid on their subscriptions and similar services. While hacks and attacks remain a risk, fintech are working every day to prevent them.

what is open finance

The underlying idea of open finance is to boost the development of a wider ecosystem of embedded finances and integrated financial experiences housed under one roof. People want more digital financial products, and they have no trouble with finding a solution to fill a particular need. As of 2021, over 2.5 million UK consumers were engaging with open banking products. Among these, one million adopted such products between January 2020 and August 2020.

what is open finance

As most finances have gone digital, consumers have an easier time switching to a new provider that may offer less friction and lower costs. Launching a mobile banking app with a no-fee debit card and instant account transfers was enough to sway oodles of consumers frustrated by the clunky online banking capabilities of incumbents. With more customer data up for grabs, financial institutions (FIs) finally have the opportunity to turn into one-stop-shop banks. By using the power of open banking alongside our existing GoCardless payment platform, merchants are able to send links to customers which, once clicked on, facilitate instant payments. Confirmation that the payment has been made is also instant, meaning that transactions flow as smoothly and as quickly as possible for both parties. Open Finance will further evolve personal finance management (PFM) apps and give people with average to low financial literacy the tools they need to make informed decisions.

Years after Open Banking has entered the financial landscape, we can see what benefits it brought to financial institutions, companies and individuals. Sharing various banking data via secure APIs with consumer consent has opened the doors to innovations, created a better customer experience and helped companies save on payment costs. – PSD2 enables sharing of account information and initiation of payments on behalf of the customer.

  • Moreover, Open Finance could also enable automatic money transfers between different accounts, i.e. savings and investment accounts.
  • “Open’s payment solution has helped our customers, the societies, to connect their existing current accounts for a real time view of bank transactions, making it easier for them to manage their finances.”
  • In turn, that data can be used to create more personalised and intuitive financial products.
  • The
    experience and expertise Infopulse has allows us to competently support you on
    the way to adopting open finance and AI integration, staying within the
    legislative framework, and following the best data protection practices.
  • There is also the question of how accessible terms and conditions are, specifically for vulnerable customers who may not have appropriate products and services clearly available or signposted.

For example, open banking enabled account-to-account (A2A) payments that allow direct money transfers between customers and businesses while eliminating unnecessary intermediaries. In doing so, payment costs and settlement times were significantly reduced. With such an extensive pool of benefits, open banking has paved the way for even broader secure data sharing.

APIs are already the basis of open banking in Europe, and a strong open finance framework should rely on them as well. Allowing consumers to grant access to regulated third parties to access their account data opens a universe of new opportunities, services and benefits. In Europe and the UK, until Payment Services Directive II (PSD2) came into force, firms accessing customer data were unregulated and used screen scraping capabilities that required customers to share their online log-in credentials. In an open finance ecosystem, lenders can get a better understanding of a consumer’s financial situation. By aggregating consumer data securely and efficiently, lenders can select suitable credit products for potential borrowers, audit documentation, and offer customized solutions. Raw data can also be fed through machine learning algorithms to extract more in-depth insights.

Over 55% of global banking consumers are ready to pay more for relevant add-on services from their bank. This, in turn, can give a much-needed boost to dwindling corporate revenues. The rapidly maturing API ecosystem, paired with the global surge in open banking regulations, has effectively launched the digital-first banking epoch. Plus, it has prompted incumbent banks to double down on digitization efforts.

While organizations like the FCA are leading discussions about further progress in the space, the pace seems to be slow and steady. Australia is in a similar position, which many say is due to red tape and the high cost of becoming accredited to receive consumer data. The expected Open Finance legislation will facilitate innovation and new product offerings by any interested party. Ecosystems will emerge where both banks and non-banks compete and collaborate on offering great customer experiences through new interfaces, personalisation options and insights. – Open Banking was the first step, empowered by the EU legislation PSD2, towards creating opportunities for bank customers to see their account information and make payments in other interfaces than those of their bank – to put it very simply.