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What is Open Banking?


What is Open Banking?

In essence, Open Banking is about allowing access to specific financial information in a secure and convenient manner.

In August 2016, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a ruling that required the nine largest UK banks to allow regulated startups direct access to their data, down to the level of bank account transactions (we blogged about this here). Despite all the recent scaremongering it’s important to remember that this is an “opt-in” arrangement, therefore the power to grant and revoke access always remains with the account holder.

Why is Open Banking Important?

For many years banks have remained reluctant to provide direct access to bank statement information (over an API) to third-party applications. When it comes to business accounting, the more frequently the bank records are synchronised, the easier it is to reconcile your accounts, detect unusual activity and gain valuable insights into financial trends and performance.

Open Banking removes many complications that currently exist today by allowing financial applications to easily and securely consume this information, subject to the account holder’s consent.

Am I automatically opted into Open Banking?

No. In order to grant access to your bank account information, you will be required to authorise access to each provider individually from your online banking portal.

Can a third-party provider initiate payments from my account?

No. Many applications such as QuickFile will only request an Account Information Service (AIS), not a Payment Initiation Service (PIS). Even if you granted access to a Payment Initiation Service provider, any payment will always need to be manually approved.

Will my bank or building society offer Open Banking capability?

The banks and building societies who currently offer Open Banking are:

  • Allied Irish Bank
  • Bank of Scotland
  • Barclays
  • Danske
  • Halifax
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Nationwide
  • NatWest
  • Santander
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank.

Other Banks and Building Societies will be joining Opening Banking soon.

Will QuickFile support Open Banking?

Yes. QuickFile are enrolled on the Open Banking scheme and will be developing direct bank API integrations in 2018, this will be subject to regulatory approval and API availability. We will keep you informed as the new options become available.

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