Download open banking highlights – February 2021

Commenting on the January highlights, OBIE’s Implementation Trustee Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE said:
“Among other industry announcements, February heralded the publication of the landmark Kalifa Review of UK FinTech. We were particularly pleased to see recognition from the Government of the global impact of the UK’s approach to open banking. We look forward to working with regulators and FinTechs to build on the foundations of open banking, and pave the way for Smart Data, Open Finance and Digital Identity, which are key to achieving Kalifa’s vision. At an ecosystem level, we are also happy to announce that we’ve hit one million monthly open banking payments in a single month.”

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Open banking hits 1 million payments
For the first time in a single calendar month, more than one million open banking payments have been processed. This is especially significant when you consider that around 300k of these types of payments occurred in the whole of 2019, rising to 3.2 million throughout 2020. This milestone indicates that consumer awareness of open banking payments as an alternative way to pay is on the rise and could be a further indicator of the pandemic helping to drive digital adoption. 2021 is being billed as the year of payments, especially with consultations around Variable Recurring Payments and Sweeping, as well as the launch of Confirmation of Payee. We anticipate strong uptake in coming months, not least as a consequence of the Government and HMRC’s investment into the open banking ecosystem.

Accenture report reveals that open banking will aid Digital Identity in a post-Covid era
Accenture have published a digital identity report, which highlights how open banking can aid digital identity in the post-Covid era. Before the pandemic, digital identity had become an integral part of our everyday life. COVID-19 has accelerated the need for businesses and governments worldwide to rethink their approach to enabling remote identity verification over digital channels to facilitate day-to-day interactions. With the current open banking infrastructure, financial service firms are in a unique position to drive this trend and serve the increasing demand for digital identity.

HMRC awards open banking contract to Ecospend
HMRC awarded a £3 million open banking contract to FinTech start-up Ecospend, to make it easy for taxpayers to submit payments direct from their bank accounts rather than through debit or credit card. This welcome development lays the groundwork for a substantial boost to open banking services in the UK. The contract was awarded following a formal procurement and tender exercise, which began in November of last year.

Equifax Acquires AccountScore
Equifax has acquired transaction data analytics company, AccountScore, to improve its open banking and insights capabilities. As well as allowing automated, digital income verification, the acquisition will enable Equifax to carry out more granular assessments of affordability and expenditure together with predictive and inclusive credit scoring.

UK’s open banking model provides lessons to help ensure Hong Kong’s ecosystem can reach its full potential
Hong Kong is beginning its open banking journey and is looking to draw on successes seen in the UK. The two markets share a number of similarities, including a mature banking industry and a landscape where a relatively small number of banks account for most of the market share, making the possibilities for open banking more exciting.

Open banking can transform payments scene in Saudi Arabia
With open banking going into effect next year in Saudi Arabia, traditional banks must rethink their business models to remain relevant and competitive. Open banking can help to mandate banks to expose their systems, such as for payment initiation, and data, such as account information, to third parties with the necessary customer consent, this allows those third parties to build products and services for the financial institution’s customers. These lower barriers to entry for start-ups could result in increased competition and innovation across Saudi Arabia.

South Korea launches Virtual Sandbox for FinTech development
The South Korean Financial Services Commission announced plans to launch a digital sandbox to test new FinTech products and services under development. The use of a digital sandbox will allow FinTech service providers to trial their new products on the market, while consumers can find new services. The country’s open banking system was launched in December 2019 and allows FinTech firms to access banks’ payment network and pay lower transaction fees through several open API initiatives.

Key Highlights

Information correct as at 28th February 2021. Produced by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE).

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For further information, please contact: press@openbanking.org.uk

About Us

The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) is the entity set up by the CMA in 2016 to deliver Open Banking. Its trading name is Open Banking Limited.

OBIE is governed by the CMA and funded by the CMA9 (Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS Group and Santander). Its works with the CMA 9, as well as challenger banks, financial technology companies, third party providers and consumer groups.
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