Consumer insights

Real demand for open banking as user numbers grow to more than two million

28 September 2020
  • Users of open banking-enabled products now exceeds two million, doubling in just over six months, despite disruption caused by COVID-19
  • Increase due to uptake of products powered by open banking that give users more bespoke, personalised tailored financial services products than ever before
  • Data shows that consumers are using open banking-enabled products to better understand their spending, how to save, manage their income and expenditure or access cheaper credit

28 September 2020. The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to deliver open banking in the UK, has today announced that over two million customers are now using open banking-enabled products*. This represents a significant upswing in the use of the innovative banking technology despite the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OBIE figures show open banking user numbers have doubled since January 2020. There has been a steady increase at a rate of around 160,000 users per month, which only plateaued in April and May when lockdown measures in the UK were introduced, before the strong growth resumed.

Research sponsored by Nesta Challenges’ Open Up 2020 Challenge, shows a sharp increase in the use of money management apps during the pandemic, of which 45 per cent were 25-34-year-olds. According to the survey of 2,000 UK adults in early July 2020, one in five started using online banking apps during lockdown and 54 per cent now use them regularly.

Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Trustee of the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), commented:

“Open Banking used to be the best-kept secret in financial services. With 2m active monthly users and growing strongly that is clearly no longer the case. We can now see that people want to exercise their rights over their data and will do so, as long as you make it simple and secure. Open banking enabled products are rebalancing the market in favour of consumers and small businesses. Users are now able to engage more with their finances and getting access to better products.”

David Beardmore, Ecosystem Development Director, the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE):

“I’m excited to see the 2 million users threshold passed so quickly. Open banking will revolutionise the way we pay. While open banking payments are currently a small proportion of open banking usage, recent strong growth is a sure sign that people welcome more payments choice. We predict that payments will eventually form a considerable proportion of our growing user numbers.”

Dr Bill Roberts, Head of Open Banking at the CMA:

“When the CMA investigated retail banking, we found banks were not working hard enough for consumers, and so we required them to give people control of their own data. By doing so, we believed this would unleash a wave of innovation and stimulate rivalry.

“The fast growth in personal customers and small businesses using Open Banking during 2020 – and hitting the 2 million mark – is another important milestone towards that goal.”

Open banking can be used in multiple ways to help users access their banking data and better manage their finances. Examples of this include:

  • Multi account visibility: Personal financial management apps aggregate bank account information, which in turn gives customers spending analysis and support in setting saving goals
  • Access to credit: Giving banks and credit providers access to banking transaction data enables them to make more informed lending decisions, opening a much wider range of borrowing solutions and potential better lending rates for the customer.
  • Debt management: Open Banking allows a customer to provide an immediate and accurate view of their debt picture to a debt advice platform This enables customers to get the best support when they have a debt management problem.
  • Applying for mortgages: Unlocking your financial data both simplifies and speeds-up the mortgage application process without the need to send physical bank statements

The Open Banking App Store, houses more than 80 open banking mobile applications and online products so that consumers and businesses can easily identify the one that best suits their needs.

*According to data provided by the CMA9 (Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Barclays, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, RBS Group and Santander).


Notes to editors:

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About Open Banking Implementation Entity:

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.

OBIE’s role is to:

  • Enforce the obligations on the CMA9 under the CMA Order
  • Design the specifications for the Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) that banks and building societies use to securely provide Open Banking
  • Support regulated third party providers and banks and building societies to use the Open Banking standards
  • Create security and messaging standards
  • Manage the Open Banking Directory which allows regulated participants like banks, building societies and third-party providers to enrol in Open Banking
  • Produce guidelines for participants in the Open Banking ecosystem
  • Set out the process for managing disputes and complaints